Our Story

Upstream Stories is an NGO created by a group of experienced NGO-workers who met each other in Armenia, 2016, where they attended an Erasmus+ workshop on Digital Storytelling. They were all living in different countries and quite far apart, but shared a passion for participatory media and the difference that it could make for vulnerable groups of people. They soon decided to start Upstream Stories and since then more people has joined, from more countries. Upstream Stories is international to the backbone, and work primarily in Europe, the eastern partnership and locally in Denmark, where the NGO is based.

Meet the Board of Upstream Stories

Signe Sander

Chairperson and co-founder of Upstream Stories

Kasia Kowalska

Vice chairperson and co-founder of Upstream Stories

Dorthe Bækby

Treasurer and co-founder of Upstream Stories

Ana Farelo

Board member and co-founder of Upstream Stories

Lena Shandrak

Board member of Upstream Stories

Join Upstream Stories

We always welcome new people who are interested in our work. You can become an active member as a fingerling, if you want to join our projects or volunteer in our association work. You can also choose to simply follow our projects here or on our facebook.

Fingerlings are small fish, but in Upstream Stories it’s also the people who we train to work with us. It might be former participants or other people interested in participatory methods.

We ask of our fingerlings

that it’s your wish and intention to stay engaged with Upstream Stories

that you have read our statutes and agree with them

that you accept our values and agree to act according to them 

that you will participate in the yearly general assembly if possible

Project work

We always aim to bring some fingerlings to our projects, either to help with logistics, to train as facilitators or both. As we have limited projects we can't invite all fingerlings to join, but as a fingerling you are also welcome to create your own projects for Upstream Stories, as long as it agrees with our statutes and is accepted by the board.

School of Fish

As a fingerling we invite you to regular online seminars. They are meant to upskill everyone in the organisation, with themes that are relevant for the work we do.

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Signe sander

Signe Sander has facilitated Digital Storytelling since 2014, and has worked as facilitator, trainer and project manager in several local and international projects since then. She has a master of arts in cultural studies, wrote her master thesis on storytelling and has been trained in the method from Digital StoryLab in Denmark. Signe is furthermore a part of the international Digital Storytelling network and has attended more conferences on the subject to keep up to date with the developments of the method.

Signe is the chairperson and co-founder of Upstream Stories.

Kasia Kowalska

Kasia is a political scientist specializing in theory and practice of civil society development in post-communist countries. Both on a professional and personal level, she is deeply fascinated with history and culture of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. Throughout her career she lived and worked in Romania, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and Georgia. Wherever she goes, she collects personal stories and explores how the power of sharing can help people build a meaningful dialogue across cultural differences.   

As vice-chairperson of Upstream Stories, besides actively working as digital storytelling facilitator, she is also one of the team members responsible for developing international projects and building partnership with NGOs across Europe.

Dorthe bækby olesen

Holding an MA in Visual Anthropology, Dorthe is passionate about visual storytelling and drawn to all kinds of visuals. How they tell stories and how we in the process of image making can develop and explore a shared language for the invisible. She is especially curious about analogue photography and she finds other people’s dusty family photos to be pure gold!

Besides overseeing the accountings as a treasurer, Dorthe is also responsible for facilitating and managing local workshops and partnerships in Denmark and she is the main contact person for the local fingerlings.

In order to continue to grow as a facilitator of participatory methods, Dorthe has received professional training by Photovoice (UK) on participatory photography. Furthermore, she has refined her sensory and poetic language while attending the documentary film school of Dox:World (DK). 




Ana farelo

Ana Farelo has been a youth worker since 2015. After doing her 12 months EVS in Armenia she started working in her hosting organization as a project coordinator and trainer and has organized and participated in several projects ever since. With a backgroud in Cinema and Video she started applying the visual arts in her trainings as a form of personal reflection and development through Digital Storytelling and Photography. Currently she is the EVS coordinator for hosting of Associação Mais Cidadania.

Ana is co-founder and board member of Upstream Stories

Lena shandrak

Lena Shandrak has a background in Journalism and has been a youth worker since 2016. She worked and volunteered for different NGOs in Belarus and Germany as trainer, facilitator and project coordinator. She was a part of “Tell me about you” project where she fell in love with the digital storytelling method. Since 2019, she has organized and facilitated several local workshops in Belarus for different target groups. She believes that every story that is shared with others helps people be more supportive and understanding.

Lena is a board member of Upstream Stories.