Category Archives: story

70 years ago today

“June 5 1944: The call has come at last. We are on our way to the greatest invasion ever, feeling very cool and collected. I pray to be given the strength to go through this like a man and not loose my nerve, and hope that I may return to my little family who are so dear to me.” – John Emrys Williams

John Emrys Williams

This is how my Taid (Welsh for grandfather) began his diary entry  on that dawn of the day of the Normandy Landing in WWII.

He was a signalman on board HMS Diadem and he kept a diary about his life on the ship which I’ve published and maintained online since 2001 at http://www.aberth.com/diadem/

Although Welsh was his first language, he kept the diary in English. This may be because he was taught to write in English rather than Welsh at school; or it may be that keeping notes in languages other than English during the War wasn’t allowed. I wish I’d asked him while he was still alive.

What’s been both surprising and heartwarming has been hearing from the children and grandchildren of others who worked on this ship. You can see links to their stories on the right hand side of the page.

Taid received the Russian Convoys medal from the Russian Embassy on August 14 1992. He passed away April 7 1994. He was 86 years old.

 

 

 

The difference between digital storytelling and TV

SoundDelivery is an organisation led by Jude Habib which does fantastic media work in the community. I was recorded one-to-one at DS8 by Andrea Protheroe for SoundDelivery and I’m grateful to her for sending me the piece on Audio Boo. She said: “Very much enjoyed the conference and my first visit to Cardiff. Hope to return next year.”

 

How to use ‘swooping’ in your storytelling

I made a presentation to Cardiff Geek Speak this month and they asked me to put my presentation online. I haven’t put the whole thing here but I have highlighted  out one section, which looks at some of the elements that make up…

A great story

 E.g. Walking with Maurice by Hanne Jones on the BBC Capture Wales website.

·         Starts with one incident and work out from that.

·         Has a clear point of view (Hanne’s was a personal take).

·         Makes you give a damn – I can’t define how to do this, but I did care for Hanne and her Granddad.

·         Has the stepping-stone-effect: when you reach the other bank you can see where you came from and how you got here.

·         Is told to be heard, not read.

·         Works well even without visuals; would be a great radio piece.

·         Is just long enough.

 

·         Plants mystery bombs (“I found my soulmate” – who is that?)

·         Explodes each mystery bomb, when it’s time (“Maurice is not just my special friend; he is also my Granddad.”)

·         Reveals surprises: “we take time to walk slowly”

 

·         Has swoops of scale: zooms the imagination out from a teardrop at the corner of an eye to a sweeping forest vista.

·         Has swoops of emotion: “cries whan he’s happy … and when he’s sad”

·         May have swoops of time: Hanne aged 5, 15, 25, in the future, and then back again.

·         Sometimes has swoops of place: the forest, the garden swing, heaven …

 

·         Etc…

Peregrine Falcon AlaS 01

Photo by Paul Sullivan.

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.

The Storycenter has a brand new blog

Here’s some good news from Storycenter: they’ve just launched a new blog.

It begins with seven categories. The number seven relates back to the number of steps in Storycenter’s digital storytelling guide. Here’s how Allison Myers – southwest director – sets out these categories:

Owning Our Insights. We will feature CDS staff reflections on workshop experiences, stories or projects, or our own stories from time to time. We may also include reviews and opinion pieces on books, articles, and movies.

Voices from Around the Table. Because sharing stories sparks stories, we want to hear from others. Look for interviews and guest reflections or opinion pieces.

Updates from the Field. This section is more resource heavy and will include technology reviews, methodologies, innovations, articles, and reports on story work in a variety of contexts, written by CDS staff and others.

Storyteller Reflections. Hear directly from storytellers in our workshops about their process, the back story, and maybe their answer to the question we always ask, “Why this story, and why now?” 

Project News. Sometimes, we just want to share with you some of the interesting projects that we get to develop with our community partner organizations around the globe.

In the Moment. Find out about upcoming events, project announcements, and news about our partner organizations and clients.

The Story Behind the Picture. One exercise we sometimes do when our staff are together is trade a photo from our life with a colleague who then narrates to the group what is in the photo and what the possible story behind the photo is… or what you can’t see. Then the owner of the photo reveals the real story behind the photo. This will be a crowd-sourced component of our blog, and we hope it will be a lot of fun. 

I wish Joe Lambers, Allison Myers and all the Storycenter team all the best with their new venture and I look forward to reading their posts in the future.

Call for Speakers: DS8 #digitalstorytelling festival in Wales

There’s a call for papers and speakers at DS8 – the 8th Annual Digital Storytelling Festival in Wales – from organisers the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling, which is part of University of Glamorgan’s Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries.

Following on from the success of DS7 last year (CDS, Cowbird, Historypin), DS8 will be held at Chapter Arts in Cardiff on Friday 14th June 2013.

A wide range of attendees is expected: from practitioners to researchers; from community workers to students. Proposals are invited to present either an academic paper or to run a workshop or a break-out session.

Deadline for submissions of 300-word abstracts is Friday 29 March 2013. Please send them to Karen Lewis whose email address is klewis (at) glam.ac.uk

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

9 things digital storytellers can learn from Steven Moffat, Doctor Who & Sherlock writer

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1. Imagine someone with their hat on, their coat half on, stepping out of the door. Make them say: “I’ll just keep watching until I find out what this is about”

2. Have a big whallop at the start.

3. Start with a promise of something you’re going to deliver

4. Surprise them

5. Try to think of a brand new idea.

6. Keep giving them reasons not to turn off

7. Try to make what you do appeal to _everybody_, then you’ve a chance of making it somebody’s favourite.

8. If you’re stuck for inspiration: stare out of the window, think of something and then write it down. Do that again.

9. “A good day is one when I _finish_ a script”

(source: notes I took at a conversation between Steven Moffat and Huw Edwards at a BBC Wales event on 19 June 2012)