digital storytelling,  media literacy,  timeless,  tips,  Wales

Five ways to make your digital storytelling project more sustainable

1. move away from the ‘once in a lifetime experience’ approach. Make it feel like a process that can become more of a ‘routine’ than a ‘treat’ event.

2. get people making stories using accessible tools. E.g. free web-based editing tools they’ll be able to continue using after you’ve moved on.

3.reduce the resources participants need to take part. If people don’t have an archive of their own photos, help them take bespoke contemporary ones; if people don’t have much time, offer a form they can create in less time; meet people where they already gather; etc.

4. scale up activities. E.g. hold training the trainers workshops so you get a snowball effect as skills are transferred.

5. foster connections with other digital storytelling operations.

This is my summary of five suggestions made by Susie Pratt of University of Glamorgan at a presentation of BBC AHRC Knowledge Exchange Partnerships in Cardiff on 4 November. Here’s a link to the AHRC’s Funding Opportunity page. Susie is from the Digital and Social Engagement partnership research project at University of Glamorgan and the sustainability element of her and her colleagues’ research is only part of a thorough and useful study. During her presentation, Susie showed a digital story made by a young carer. Sometimes a line from a story stays with you long after you see the story; the storyteller showed a photo of here baby sister who’d died and said “we sprinkled her in a beautiful place nearby.”

Here’s an outline of the University of Glamorgan rationale, quoted from source:
"A Public Voice – access, digital story and interactive narrative digital storytelling is a new creative form. It amalgamates new technology, filmmaking, photography, music, story and social purpose. These activities cut across boundaries in the arts, democratising the process of media making and establishing an anti heroic position for the artist/storyteller. The concept that is being developed is one of an interactive and conversational media that represents digital stories as an extension of the quotidian storytelling of everyday life. The project will develop new understandings of how digital storytelling has developed to this point and ways it could progress in future. The BBC Capture Wales project and the community applications that have grown from it will provide a focus for the work. The research will explore new modes of expression through developing multi media applications especially mobile phone technology. "

Another seven research projects have already arisen from this partnership, including one by Cardiff University which examined user-generated content at the BBC which I’ll write about another time.

Kate Strudwick, Breaking Barriers,
Kate Strudwick, centre, of Breaking Barriers, which evolved into Breaking Barriers Community Arts

Written and first published by Gareth Morlais on 26 November 2008.

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