I’ve been corresponding recently with Wim Kievits who’s had an interest in Digital Storytelling for some time. He recently contacted me regarding a presentation he’s making in the Netherlands later this week. He asked what triggered BBC Wales’s interest in starting Capture Wales and asked: “Can you tell me or point out to me how the whole initiative started? What were the initial challenges (or signals from society) you encountered that made you decide to start this initiative?”
Well I can’t speak on behalf of BBC Wales but I can remember a time when it used to cost £30,000 to buy a machine to edit video. So it was expensive/exclusive to access the tool to tell stories via video. 2001 was about the time when it became affordable to edit your own video on home computers. This opened up the door to enabling anyone to be able to tell their own story using video. For publicly-funded organisations like ours, this was an important moment. Digital Storytelling is a form that lends itself to personal storytelling because:
1. everyone has a photo archive
2. everyone has a story/stories to tell
But this isn’t a case of pure technical determinism. Because, in addition to new technology, some other elements were needed. E.g.
1. an attainable ‘form’. I.e. Digital Storytelling
2. careful facilitation so that the skills of constructing such a story can be shared with groups of people.
3. mass media willing to give completed stories a platform so the stories can be enjoyed by everyone who sees them
And those are some of the magic ingredients that led to the BBC Capture Wales project.
There’s one other catalyst I mustn’t forget: someone persuasive, a convincer and an evangelist. In our case, that was Daniel Meadows, from Cardiff University.