A couple of weeks ago we were treated to a very interesting lecture given by Elaine Bliss about digital storytelling. Digital storytelling is the process by which ordinary people create their own short autobiographical films that can be streamed or broadcast on the web.1 It is very unique as it is a participatory exercise that lets ordinary people tell a story using new media. In the lecture we were shown a couple of examples of these digital stories. Both of them were quite emotional which was very affective as everyone remained engaged to the story.
Over the break i attended a large family reunion and was surprised in seeing digital storytelling used. There was a video camera setup in a small room and one by one people were invited in to tell stories into the camera. It was a very valuable experience as many interesting, emotional and funny stories were told about our old relatives. It was also important that it was done individually as many people had fears of public speaking and this let some stories escape that otherwise would never be told. However the only hiccup with this storytelling process was that one of the older relatives had trouble keeping on topic about family and would only tell stories about his old horse.
Overall though this experience was very engaging and the young members of the family found it valuable listening to some old family stories. It may not have the most historical accuracy but digital storytelling is still valuable in giving ordinary people a chance to share some of their history.
If you are interested here are some sites:
1 Burgess, Jean, ‘Hearing Ordinary Voices. Continuum: Journal of Media & Culture 20.2 (2006). p.206