Six features of the digital story we helped people to make as part of the BBC Capture Wales and Cipolwg ar Gymrudigital storytelling project, which ran from 2001-2008 at BBC Cymru Wales were that the digital story is:
a video of about two minutes duration
2. a personal, usually true, story written and voiced by the individual storyteller
3. a “considered narrative” (Daniel Meadows) usually scripted by the storyteller (c250 words) or proactively told, not reactively in response to a media professional’s questioning
4. illustrated with 20 or so of the storyteller’s own photos or images – sometimes including a short video clip – edited together by the storyteller to make a moving visual narrative
5. may have original music or a relevant sound recording laid over the voice
6. recorded in a workshop with other people who share their own stories and learn from each other
Other definitions and descriptions of digital storytelling and the digital story include:
Everyone has a story to tell. All over Wales, people are making Digital Stories about real-life experiences and each story is as individual as the person who made it. Each Digital Story is made by the storyteller themself, using his or her own photos, words and voice.
Learn what it takes to create powerful and engaging video journalism – technically and editorially – from multimedia journalists who have made hundreds of short films for the Guardian.
Dates: Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 January 2014
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 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 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 FrohlichMobile 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 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.
“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.
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.
Photographer guilt stems from the disarray of our photographic collections on various devices and lack of legacy archive planning.
Back in the day when we used film and had our photographs developed and printed, there were two things that were different from today’s digital image world.
We were more careful about the images we captured because there was stock and production to pay for.
We could put our hands on our proudest images because we’d move them from the developer’s envelope into photo albums and scrapbooks.
Today, we snap more images. They’re kept on different places: phones, cameras, storage cards and drives, hard drives, laptops and in the cloud. It’s harder to surface the gems from this sea of images.
The guilt is that feeling of “one day I’m going to sort this and compile my pool of desert island photographs. The ones I want to leave my children which will help them remember the story of their father’s life.”
So why haven’t already done this?
First written and published by Gareth Morlais on 4 June 2013.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Copyright in the old days:
All of this is owned by me, contact me if you want to discuss the possibility of re-using it.
You can still use the above model.
You can state explicitly and irrevocably up front that you’re happy for people to re-use your intellectual property in certain stated circumstances without them having to come to ask your permission every time.
This is attractive to those making digital stories who want the world to be able to share and re-embed what they’ve made. And a knowlege of this kind of license is useful for someone who wants to include other people’s work within their own digital story.
One model that’s popular is the Creative Commons licence, which has three axes:
1. Whether or not you want a name-check (Attribution or BY) for your work
2. Whether or not you’re willing for others to alter your work, or create derivatives. Risk: someone may Photoshop someone else’s body onto that image of your child’s face you put on Flickr. Three options here:
(a) If you want your work untouched, just passed on as it is, use NoDerivs (ND)
(b) If you do decide to allow alterations as long as the new author shares it in the same way as your original work was, you add ShareAlike or SA to the label.
(c) If you don’t care what happens to the altered work, no mention need be made of this on the license label.
3. Whether or not you care about others making money for themselves out of what is yours. This part of the label says either Non-Commercial (NC) or there’s no mention of it.
So a Creative Commons license which is labelled: Attribution, No Derivatives, Non Commercial means I’m happy for you to use my work without getting in touch with me as long as you name-check me as the creator, don’t change my work and don’t make any money from its re-distribution.
A more relaxed license – used by Wikipedia – is Attribution-ShareAlike or CC BY-SA. This is the license many of those lobbying governments to open up publicly-funded data would like to see adopted by governments.
Creative Commons is most straightforward if the thing you made was entirely made by you and contains no unlicensable third-party elements. So a video diary of you speaking your own words to camera in front of a blank wall is OK to label with Creative Commons. If there was a photo by Steve McCurry in the background, or some commercial music playing and it’s no longer ‘all yours’ and it might no longer be fair to pass the right on to others to use the clip.
So, as you can see, a knowledge of Creative Commons is useful for anyone involved in a diital storytelling project.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ – on this site you can read more about correct attribution, various international territories, comparisons between CC and Public Domain, etc.
Disclaimer – I’m not a lawyer; please don’t take what I say as legal advice.
Joe Lambert, CDS Founder and Director, is coming to Cardiff to DS7 on 7 June 2012. While he’s in the UK he’s leading an iPhone workshop in London on June 2-4. Here’s the info from CDS:
“Join CDS Founder and Director Joe Lambert on a weekend walk through the old City of London to explore your story against the backdrop of London streets. Using iPhones, iPads or iPod Touch, you will shoot, record, edit and complete a short film. See http://www.storycenter.org/iphone-workshop/ for more information. Special offer – Sliding Scale $100-$300/participant. Limit 15 participants.”
For details, email email@example.com
This sounds like a diamond opportunity for UK Digital Storytellers to learn about using the latest mobile tools to tell a story and to get a taste of the excitement of the Capital over the weekend of the Royal Jubilee celebrations.
‘Save Link As…’ if you’d like to save the audio mp3 file
‘Open Link in New Tab’ if you want to keep the shownotes open)
Cheryl Colan is a digital storyteller and trainer from Phoenix, Arizona, USA. I recorded this interview with Cheryl in Cardiff, Wales, July 2011. She was in the UK leading a Digital Storytelling summer school with Study Abroad Britain. She’s led digital training groups to Australia and her motto is Trust Your Story.
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.
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.
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!”
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.