I’ve just returned from the DS3 Festival of Digital Storytelling at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. It was another successful festival, following on from and expanding on last year’s DS2. People had travelled from all over Wales and Britain. I met delegates from Belfast, USA and there was someone who’d come from New Zealand too.
Day1 – Thursday 5 June 2008
A Public Voice – Digital storytelling, narrative and pedagogy. By Prof. Hamish Fyfe & Susie Pratt, University of Glamorgan; Karen Lewis, Lisa Heledd, BBC Cymru Wales
Karen Lewis set the context of the research that’s being done with AHRC support. Hamish Fyfe gave a description of storytelling across the ages and said Digital Storytelling lets people explore their “possible self”. Doing this and learning new skills means “the process of DS making often leaves people feeling more positive” and he argued in favour of a link between DS + community regeneration. Suzy Pratt shared research she’s conducting and showed the importance of “connecting” in ensuring sustainability of Digital Storytelling. She’s working with Lisa Heledd and Carwyn Evans on storytelling linked with social media via an exciting new website called Making Space. The Aberystwyth pilot is worth looking at.
Because of a meeting I needed to go to with the National Screen and Sound Archvie, I unfortunately missed some of ‘The Play Ethic – Pat Kane’ and ‘Narrative Forms – Case studies with Steve Bellis & Tony Pugh, Yale College Wrexham’.
There was a great Open Mic and Mac cabaret session at the bar that night. The mix of personal storytelling and watching Digital Stories worked really well. It was a kind of ‘Frey Cafe with films’ evening.
Day 2 – Friday 6 June 2008
Gilly Adams (freelance Story Circle specialist) – Telling Stories.
I enjoyed Gilly’s presentation more than any other in DS3. She spoke of the Gift Culture of Digital Storytelling where no money changes hands but the currency is the generosity of grace in sharing stories. The person who hears the story gains two benefits:
1. they get a unique glimpse into the heart of the teller
2. they can often say: “hey, that’s about me!” and they get to reflect on that revelation.
An example of generosity Gilly gave was that of someone who comes to a DS workshop with a story in mind but, having heard the stores other people tell, they sometimes change their mind and say: “Actually, I want to tell you this….”
Jason Ohler (University of Alaska) – Digital Storytelling in the classroom.
I’d been particularly eager for DS Cymru to invite Jason Ohler to speak at this year’s Festival and, having heard him speak, I was glad he’d come. He shared his experiences of working in classrooms throughout Alaska and his insistence that _story_ be at the heart of everything that’s done. A digital storytelling friend of mine, Barrie Stephenson, says he’s been using Story Maps – one of Jason’s story-generating systems – after hearing him speak at Sedona some years ago. That’s something about Jason’s style: he shares all kinds of practical tips that can be re-used in workshops.
Hanne Jones & Christer Fasmer (Digitale Fortellinger project, Norway) – Digital Storytelling In Norway. These were some of the most powerful digital stories I’ve ever seen. Hanne, Chris and Eli have worked with over 200 people in Norway. Their work is screened on TV, in museums and in cinemas. Two stories they showed made a deep impression: one by a young woman with Downs Syndrome talking about her life and plans with her boyfriend and another by a 101 year old woman remembering hiding because she was afraid of reading in front of a group of people when she was six years old (in 1913).