How do we tell our stories?
A look at how the Digital storytelling trainers facilitate the workshops.
HELEN SIMONDSON: Facilitators of the digital storytelling program need really broad skills. They need to know how to teach the technology to help people. Many have had no experience putting moving image memories together. They need to have a really strong breadth of knowledge around narrative, to help people find their own voice and find a star for this story.
They need to know how to help them visualize the story. In many cases, people bring their own photos together, but the transformative part of that is how they fill in the gaps where they're missing photos, or how they extend that visual idea. But most importantly, the digital storytelling facilitators need to really be to listen to not only hear the story as a storyteller tells it, but to hear the back story to that, to hear the nervousness, the concerns, the emotional quality of the person, to really be able to support them, to tell what is often very potent and emotional stories from their memory.
BRIDGET ROBERTSON (VOICEOVER): The phone started ringing at 5:00 AM. I'd been out the night before. I finally woke up at 10:00, and I answered the phone. Two cars were following the motor bike. It was Easter Thursday evening. They were all going away for the weekend. The motor bike changed lanes. It didn't see the truck.
-The story circle is the most important part of the workshop. It is the first time that people really commit to their stories. It's also the place where, as a workshop, as a group, people really connect with each other, and they really get to share their stories. And that can really solidify the workshop, and it really makes it work well throughout the rest of the process.
People shouldn't feel nervous at all about coming to a workshop when it comes to technology. We will help them gain concepts in all the different software that we use, as well as help them just generally get an experience of using digital technology, and using the computers, using the different kinds of softwares.
Everyone that comes to a workshop will make a story, and every story will get completed. In fact, I can't think of any workshops where we have not completed a story. The programme that I run, we use simple software tools so that I try very much to just focus on what I know teachers already have in their classrooms, and the programs that students will be able to learn to use very easily. I think that digital storytelling has a great application for all ages. It's something that works really well in a primary classroom, and it works equally well in a secondary and in a tertiary setting.
It's got a lot of possibility, I think, for teachers to use across the curriculum in all sorts of ways. But the most important thing about it is that because it's using what we call multimodal tools, that we are encouraging students to really be creative about the way they're expressing themselves. So it's not just using words, but it's by choice of images, and what you do with the images, and it's pacing of the story. All of those sorts of things are very, very powerful learning tools that will carry a student across all areas of the curriculum.
-I think people aren't sure what to expect from a workshop, but they might want to leave a tribute to a family member, or they might want to tell something about themselves for historical reasons. What they do in the workshop though is often find something more personal and some probing of their memory into their emotional past. And it's a process that can be very beneficial. They also get to create something entertaining for an audience.
BRIDGET ROBERTSON (VOICEOVER): 35 years later, our boys still haven't had those violin lessons. But we've had the fluffy lambs and the sort of candlelit dinners. We've even had the exotic holidays. So now, it's time to get on with the next 35 years with you.
-So much of our work is really about prompting, about working with people, about finding where the story is, returning to the story, understanding a broader view of how we might view a memory, and supporting people to revisit what can be often very emotional ideas, or concepts, or times, or events in their lives.
-Look, the best part of the workshop is at the end, when we screen the stories. It's fantastic watching the stories. It's also really fantastic watching the participants and how happy and emotional they get when they see their stories finished.