Category Archives: inclusion

DS8 digital storytelling conference review 2013

Digital storytellers from as far afield as Japan to Norway and from Egypt to Canton gathered together in Cardiff on 14 June 2013 for the DS8 digital storytelling conference.

The host, Karen Lewis, co-director of the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling thanked the sponsors – the Arts Council of Wales  welcomed everyone on behalf of DS Cymru and introduced the first guest speaker. (All speakers’ biographies are on the DS8 site)

Mandy Rose
Mandy Rose

Personal factual participation & collaboration are themes running through Mandy Rose‘s Video Nation, Capture Wales and academic career. Speaking of her time with BBC Video Nation, she said: “I think the veto we gave Video Nation diarists to opt out of having their video shown was a first at the BBC.”

Mandy was one of the leaders at BBC Cymru Wales who set up and ran Capture Wales digital storytelling. It was 12 years ago that the first training workshop in Wales happened, led by Joe Lambert and Nina Mullen of CDS. Mandy credited Daniel Meadows, seconded from http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jomec/ to BBC Wales, for his vision. For example, citing how Daniel ensured Capture Wales was more than just a broadcast project, how important it was that people took a copy of their story home with them from the workshop and how inspiration came from Mass-Observation, early radio documentary makers and from Ivan Illich’s ideas in Tools for Conviviality.

Mandy Rose is now senior research fellow at the Digital Cultures Research Centre, University of the West of England. She’s studying and instigating globally collaborative interactive real-life projects. She ended by challenging traditional broadcasters to engage with emerging participative video content forms and projects.

Pip Hardy
Pip Hardy

Pip Hardy was a memorable guest speaker at DS6 in Aberystwyth. I’ll never forget the digital story she showed back then of an anguished nurse told to fit a catheter in a dying patient because it would be “good practice” for him. In DS8 Pip tacked the ethics of digital storytelling at DS8. Attribution, no-derivative3, non-commercial Creative Commons licenses are the ones @PilgrimPip uses for Patient Voices. Pip screened an early Patient Voices digital story about a ‘closed’ circumcised Somali woman in a maternity ward, and then led a discussion about ethical issues raised in it.

Other morning breakout sessions were: David Frohlich Mobile Digital Storytelling for Development. Grete Jamissen/Suzana Sukovic – Digital Storytelling in Education; Rose Thompson  – Digital Storytelling: Medical Education for the Google Generation. Of the last in this list, Mike Wilson @profmikew tweeted: “Rose Thompson on how Internet as narrative vehicle has changed power relationship in clinical situations. Patients taking the lead now.”

After lunch, there were two further cracking guest speakers and I attended an inspiring breakout led by an old friend….

Darcy Alexandra
Darcy Alexandra

Darcy Alexandra began her presentation by showing powerful protest films from south and central America. One of a silent protest by relatives of family members who had been ‘disappeared’ and another by a film-maker from El Salvador who returned to her village to film a survivor of a massacre there some years ago. She then spoke of her work in the Republic of Ireland with people who were waiting in an asylum centre for their cases to be heard in court. She showed a film by a Serbian visual artist Vukasin who spoke with palpable sadness of not being able to be there at the end of his mother’s life after she warned him not to return to his home as it wasn’t safe for him. As in the case of many refugees and asylum seekers and others moving from one country to another for their won and their families’  safety,  when Vukasin’s mother died he was not even able to attend her funeral.

There have however been two uplifting outcomes for Vukasin today:  he has ” received leave to remain in Ireland, and completed an MA in Visual Arts.” Do watch Vukasin’s digital story.

Yasmin Elayat
Yasmin Elayat

“What if we can get a country to write its own history?” The energy of young Egyptian video-makers and social media commentators was carried into DS8 like a flag by #18daysinEgypt’s Yasmin Elayat. She spoke of their use of social media in sharing the story of the revolution in Egypt by the people protesting. Tools like Mozilla Popcorn Maker help to add contextual metadata to each story when presenting unfolding events. And there were some stories I hadn’t heard before: like the lovers who met after making fleeting eye contact across a crowded Tarhir Square; the image of charging military rushing the photo journalist who captioned it ‘the image that nearly took me’; and the motorcycle-riders who rode where ambulances couldn’t reach and skidded into tear gas clouds to rescue the injured.

There was a great question at the end of Yasmin’s session, about the fragility of archives. Greece’s national broadcaster has just closed, said the questioner. What happens to these videos and stories if social media sites go under? This is a safeguarding question I’d like to explore some more. Especially considering how precious these artifacts are if the challenge is for individuals to collectively write their own history.

Aske Dam
Aske Dam

I’ve known Aske Dam of IMA Norway for some time. He came to observe an early digital storytelling workshop I worked on with post-graduate students of Cardiff University’s JOMEC with Daniel Meadows and the rest of the Capture Wales team. Aske’s also worked extensively in Japan and is highly-respected by the people I know there. His breakout session was a call for communities to use local cinemas and cinema technology to share and respond to each others’ digital stories. Instead of showing PowerPoint slides, Aske made his presentation using the DLP (Digital Light Processing) digital cinema format on Chapter’s cinema projector.

Because I’m so interested in hyperlocal media, I was delighted when Aske showed examples of Japan’s early rural local cable TV broadcasts. Farming prices were chalked onto a blackboard, with a black-and-white camera pointing at it. Presenters dialled into the local police station live on camera and asked the officer if there had been any accidents today. Local stories were written by local people and then acted out live on TV by professional touring drama companies. Every piece of content was relevant to its local rural audience.

Aske also spoke of the importance of local radio after disasters like Japan’s 3/11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear incident in 2011. When mobile phone and other communications networks were down, lists of the survivors and those who’d been killed were drawn up in shop windows and local reporters would read the names on radio.

Other afternoon breakout sessions were by one of Britain’s busiest digital storytellers Alex Henry  about using iPad technology to capture memories of Newcastle’s heritage. And Carlotta Allum spoke about her Stretch Story Box project.

The afternoon was brought to a close with thanks to the organisers, speakers, sponsors (Arts Council of Wales) and a look ahead to an evening of storytelling later on at Chapter, Cardiff.

I’d summarise the theme of DS8 as being about citizens’ use of social media and digital storytelling in documenting events truthfully and in seeking justice.

This Wales digital storytelling conference review is something I’ve done every year. Because it’s so dark in the hall, I do apologise to the speakers for the poor quality of my photos.

If you’d like to read previous years’ reviews, here are the links:

DS7 (2012);  DS6 (2011); DS5 (2010); DS4 (2009), DS3 (2008) and DS2 (2007). Unfortunately, the record of DS1 is no longer online.

Telling Truths, Changing Minds – digital storytelling evening

As a round-up of digital storytelling activities in south Wales, it’s hard to beat this event TELLING TRUTHS, CHANGING MINDS in Cardiff, Wales, on Thursday, 29 November 2012.

It’s been organised by the CommsCymru network for communications professionals in Wales and it’s open to all members of that CommsCymru network (joining details below). The event is all about the ‘practice and tactics for making effective comms narratives plus the latest applied research from experts at our national centre for storytelling’.

The programme is impressive:

  • Professor Hamish Fyfe of the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of Glamorgan will be hosting the evening.
  • Lisa Heledd-Jones of StoryWorks will share some of her digital storytelling work in the field of health and wellbeing.
  • Matt Chilcott of the digital inclusion project Communities 2.0 will talk about that project.
  • Bridget Keehan will be ‘Questioning the Purpose of the Arts in Prison’.
  • Chris Morgan – Mogs – of GEECS will discuss how storytelling can be used in digital inclusion.
  • Dr Pat Ryan will look at the improtance of story times in Welsh museums, archives and libraries.
Chris 'Mog' Morgan
Chris 'Mog' Morgan’s background is in digital storytelling and community based multi-media work. He has worked with a wide variety of community groups in Wales and Europe on projects from music and film making to animation and web design.

I’m really looking forward to this event. If you’re not already a member of the CommsCymru network, you can get details of free membership at www.commscymru.info and of how to register for this free event from commsprofession@wales.gsi.gov.uk

5.45 – 7: 30 PM Thursday, 29 November 2012
The Zen Room, ATRiuM, Cardiff School of Creative &
Cultural Industries, University of Glamorgan, Cardiff CF24 2FN

New website for BBCA: see many of their 800 digital stories – and a bouncing rabbit

On Facebook today, Natasha James, manager of Breaking Barriers Community Arts*, announced the launch of the organisation’s brand new website:

bbca

“We have a new website http://www.breakingbarriers.org.uk We’d love you to check it out and give some feedback as well as enjoy watching some stories.”

Apart from viewing digital stories and community videos, the website gives details of Training the Trainers workshops, talks about how they develop and manage both digital storytelling and video projects (including video examples of past projects).

There are insights into the storytellers, such as Conway Caswell was part of a group of stroke victims who met regularly. He graduated with a degree in English Literature later in life, but ill health stopped him being able to complete his Masters. This story gave Conway an outlet for his love of writing and he sent a copy to each of his brothers at Christmas.

* In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I’m on BBCA’s board of directors.

Premila Gamage, Sri Lankan Digital Storyteller

It’s International Women’s Day today. This year’s theme centres on Empowering Rural Women. So today’s the day I want to talk about a digital storyteller I met in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in December 2011. Premila Gamage works at the Institute of Policy Studies, Colombo; in her spare time she’s taking the tools of digital storytelling to rural areas of Sri Lanka, encouraging people to tell their stories, publishing them online and helping people realise the dreams they outline in their stories.

I’d been was introduced to Premila via email by Sarah Copeland who’d met Premila because they were both studying at Leeds Metropolitan University. So Premila and I made arrangements to meet at her office in Colombo.

Premila Gamage

I could tell straight away that Premlia was a person with a strong social conscience. She’s been investigating digital inclusion and her speciality is Policy. Bearing in mind the evidence that digital storytelling can bring about policy change via health-related projects such as Patient Voices and Story Works in the UK, using such personal accounts in Sri Lanka sounds like a promising route to ignite social change.

Premila told me that she and her fellow digital storytellers have set up Lanka Community Information Initiative – LCII.org – which works with “marginalized and disadvantaged communities to access new and old communication technologies to enhance their quality of life.”

Here’s an example of one of LCII’s digital stories. Umesha Lakshika gives a glimpse of life for students of the Prabhavi Resources Center, Werankatagoda, Ampara, Sri Lanka. The resource centre consists of a library, Nenasala (ICT centre and digital inclusion project) and classes.

Premila says LCII.org would benefit from more digital storytelling equipment to help their work in rural areas of Sri Lanka. It doesn’t have to be brand new. If you’re able to contribute digital cameras, digital audio recorders, video cameras, laptops to LCII.org, please contact them to make arrangements

I spoke with Premila via email earlier today and she said:

“At the moment we are working with Macaldeniya school and community – a very remote area in a tea estate – the most deprived members (of the Tamil ethnic group in Sri Lanka) are Estate Tamils. With the generous support of CILIP (Charted Institute of Library and Information Professionals) in the UK we built a library for the school and community. We finished with the first phase of the project – and opened the library. The next phase will be introducing DST for these people as we did in the other projects. We are desparately trying to find some support to carry out the second phase – the DST!”

Photos of the Macaldeniya project.

Further information.

International Women’s Day only comes around once a year, but the work that Premila Gamage and LCII does all year round in the poorest rural areas of Sri Lanka is really inspiring. So if you feel able to help, please do get in touch with LCII.

New local TV station in Wales wants your films and digital stories

Today – 31 January 2012 – 3VTV is launched. It’s a local internet-based TV channel for the three valleys that make up Blaenau Gwent in south Wales, UK.

On the website there are videos made by 3VTV themselves as well as from partner organisations like Breaking Barriers Community Arts, Made in Tredegar, etc.

Viewers are invited to upload or suggest embed links to their own films.

I especially like the navigation of films by map. That’s after all what local and hyperlocal are all about.

To keep up to date with developments you can follow @3VTV on Twitter.

Here’s a taste of the output. It’s a video called Pins and Things about a mother and daughter – Zoe and Jay – who run a haberdashery shop in Ebbw Vale.

Please help to spread the word about 3VTV because it’s great to see a new local TV channel like this launching.

Designing a New Media Forest of Japan

The whole world remembers the 3.11 March 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan.

Japanese participatory media research group MELL Platz is conducting a public research seminar on 10 December 2011 at the Tohoku University in Sendai, in the area which was so badly affected by the tragic events.

It’s called “Designing A New Media Forest of Japan: From Civic Generated Narratives and Memories of Post 3.11.”

The event begins with a workshop for participants to share their narratives and memories of the 3.11 east Japan great disaster.
This is followed by a panel discussion about the future media ecosystem (the Media Forest) of Japan after 3.11.

On the platform will be Kenji Kai (Sendai Mediateque), Martin Fackler (New York Times), Shin Mizukoshi (Univ. of Tokyo). Chairing the session will be Kuniko Sakata (Tohoku Univ.) and Kiyoko Toriumi (Univ. of Tokyo).
There’s more information on the MELL Platz website.
via @shinkeugri

Read also about some of the innovative projects of the “Media Exprimo” Shin Mizukoshi group.

Daniel Meadows – early photographic works (video)

Many readers of this blog will be familiar with the work of Daniel Meadows. He was founder and creative director of BBC Capture Wales and teaches digital storytelling module at Cardiff University. Before this, he was a well-known documentary photographer.

There are retrospective views of his work coming soon:

1. in the form of a new book called “Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s” by Val Williams. Published by Photoworks.

2. in an exhibition at the National Media Museum, Bradford, called “Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works” curated by Val Williams. It runs from 30th September 2011 – 19th February 2012.

Daniel has just published a video setting the scene, where he explains how he became a kind of “mediator for other people’s stories”. He also explains how he was drawn to digital storytelling because it’s “a kind of access-level but nevertheless elegant form that people can learn quickly”.

Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works from National Media Museum on Vimeo.

If you’d like to know more about Daniel and the retrospectives, and you live in the UK, buy the Financial Times on Saturday 3rd September 2011 for an eight-page preview in the FT Magazine.

As someone who’s admired Daniel’s work and ethos for many years, it’s great to see his work getting a wider airing this year.

Stories from the Sole at the Eisteddfod

I’ve been working at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham all this week and there have been some nice digital inclusion stories here that I’ve come across…

Age Cymru have been doing some great work in encouraging older people who aren’t currently using computers or the internet to get an idea of how digital tools might be able to enhance their lives.

agecymru-digidol02

agecymru-digidol01

Merched y Wawr – a Welsh women’s organisation – had the fantastic idea of raising money by auctioning famous women’s shoes. They called the campaign Sodlau’n Siarad / Stories from the Sole. The lovely touch was the story the auctioneers told about each pair. At the auction last night I heard Heledd Cynwal telling stories about the shoes as the bidding warmed up. The fact that the donors attached a story to their stilletos, slingbacks or daps made the shoes more desirable and the total raised higher.

sodlau

Digital Stories may be ideal for Welsh TV channel S4C

This sounds like an interesting opportunity for someone who wants to pitch an idea for a series of Welsh-language digital stories to S4C. It’s from the Content section of S4C’s Vision for 2012 and Beyond (PDF).

“We will establish a new brand, Calon Cenedl (heart of the nation), a series of short programmes approximately three-minutes long to be broadcast at 20.25. The content will offer us the opportunity to exhibit the full range of Welsh life in a series of portrayals about areas, communities and people. This new brand can be extended to include half-hour programmes at other times during peak hours when the editorial strength of the idea merits it.”

Rami Malkawi needs people to make a digital story with his new prototype

Rami Malkawi is a Jordanian University of Glamorgan PhD researcher and he needs our help to try out his new wizard-based digital storytelling prototype for learning.

The tool works on most computers that can have Adobe Air and Flash installed and is a step-by-step digital storytelling ‘machine’.

The 30MB executable file is available from this SpeedyShare link or by clicking the link at the bottom of the first post of Rami’s blog.

The tool’s wizard guides users through the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling in a user-friendly way. Camtasia screen-capture software has been used to publish additional video tutorials on the blog. These guide users through the steps needed to make a digital story with this tool.

Rami’s now at the test/refine stage and I know he’d really appreciate hearing back from people who download and make a story with the tool. You can use the Comments form on Rami’s blog to do this. These comments and the stories made with the tool may form part of the evidence for his PhD Thesis.

In Wales, Communities 2.0 GEECs are among the testers; I’m looking forward to making a story with the tool; in Jordan, Rami’s conducting face-to-face trials right now.

All Rami needs now is for people around the world to download, make a story with the tool and give feedback. If you make a story, please send me a link too so I can highlight some here.

Rami’s project blog.
More about Rami on this blog.