I went to the screening last night at the Atrium in Cardiff of 13 new digital stories, made to be exhibited at The Cardiff Story – a museum about the city which opens in autumn 2010.
The stories were broadly all on the theme of the views about Cardiff of people living in the Valleys of south Wales. They’re a collaboration between The Cardiff Story, University of Glamorgan’s George Ewart Evans Centre of Storytelling, Cardiff Council and the AHRC.
Only 13 of the stories were screened last night but they’ll all be exhibited at the Cardiff Story later in 2010, and on their website. What’s remarkable about this is that the stories were all facilitated by one hardworking superwoman: Mari Lowe.
Mari drew groups of people from common communities of interest or area together to share stories. Then she worked by responding according to individual needs and within resources – often one-to-one to help everyone complete their story. She says she learned a lot about this way of working from Katrina Kirkwood who works with Breaking Barriers and has worked with Rhondda Lives. The storytellers were invited to the screening of their stories and a bus was organised from the top of the Rhondda Valley down to Cardiff, stopping along the way to pick up storytellers.
Further screenings are being organised in towns and villages in the Valleys.
Two of the stories struck me as being really different in their approach:
– there was a story about a museum exhibit made by the donor of two family heirlooms: delicate tumblers bought and engraved at the Great Exhibition in Cardiff in 1896. This form of story is one that other museums may find useful, especially if the donor’s story is exhibited alongside the artifact.
– there was a family story made by two teenage sisters and their young mother. Listening to this reminded me of an audio story like StoryCorps’s. At times it was difficult to tell who was speaking, but I’m interested in seeing how Mari and her co-workers develop this of digital story form in future.
Last night was a celebration of stories, attended by many of the storytellers and their proud family members and friends. To give you a taste of the night, here’s one of Mari’s Cardiff Story digital storytellers Melanie, with her story ‘Happy Days’.