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Digital Storytelling

Upstream Stories Digital Storytelling

Digital Storytelling

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What is Digital Storytelling? 

Digital Storytelling can be understood in various ways, but the method we use is called the Berkeley model and was developed by Dana Atchley and Joe Lambert in the early 90’s in Berkeley, California.

According to this model a digital story is a a short, first person video-narrative created by combining recorded voice, still and moving images, and music or other sounds. -it’s a personal story and it works on multiple levels; the script, the voice-over, the imagery and sometimes also through music and/or sound-effects.

The philosophy behind the method is that everyone has a story to tell. We often work with groups of people, who do not have a voice in popular media or are only represented by statistics. Often people believe that what they have to tell is not interesting enough, that they are not creative enough, or they don’t want to bother others with their worries and cares.

We help people to tell a story which they are proud of, a story they want to share. We do that through a group process, where the participants are heard and respected, and where they also themselves learn to listen. We use simple and free tools, to keep the method open for everyone no matter what economic and cultural resources. We don’t expect a professional product in the end and we keep the method flexible, to be able to adjust it to our different target groups.

The Process

1. Creativity

We start out by helping the participants finding their stories with several creative exercises which invites them to get in touch with memories and subjects that are important in their lives. The group starts, already here, to get to know each other, which creates a comfortable and safe space to share in.

 2. Story Circle

When each participant have the story they want to tell, they start developing their script individually. This is followed by the story circle, an important element where everyone gets to read out loud the rough draft of their script, followed by constructive feed-back from the rest of the circle.

3. Production

When the script is done, the participants get their voice-overs recorded which are imported into a simple film-editing program on their device. They collect the imagery they want to use, and start the editing process. We always encourage our storytellers be creative and use what is at hand.

 4. Sharing

Every participant will end up with a short film of 2-4 minutes, and the last part of the process is to share and celebrate the films in the group.

The classic workshop is three days long, which makes it an intense process where the participant only has limited time for the different parts of the process. The facilitators are of course there through the whole workshop to help individually, but also to encourage the group to help each other where they can and the hard work of the storytellers is rewarded in several ways.

The Potential of Digital Storytelling

 Following a few key words which describes some of the benefits of Digital Storytelling, both the ones stemming from the process and the ones connected to the final product.

 The Process

  • Empowerment (of vulnerable target groups) through recognition from the group, being heard
  • Self awareness through self reflection
  • Development of group awareness and communication skills through the group dynamics in the workshop, learning to listen and give positive, constructive feed-back
  • Reflection and understanding across differences, identification through the personal narratives
  • Narrative, creative and technological learning

The Product

  • Creating knowledge, awareness and empathy in the storytellers nearest environment (family, friends, people working with the particular group)
  • Information and recognition in a larger network (e.g. for people in the same situation)
  • Campaigns
  • Connecting communities through shared experiences
  • (Higher) Education
  • Documentation & research
  • Culture and history of preservation
  • Local memory & civic planning
  • User research