Digital storytelling: Mapping human stories

Stories are all around us and they constitute our life. We encounter people to get to know them also though their story of life, while we at the same time uncover our own personal stories, that had an impact on our life to other people. And the basic assumption of digital storytelling is exactly that, that everyone has a story to tell and that those stories are powerful. In our stories we may remember an unforgetable moment of finding the true love of our life, but then…It may be a story about a dear person that…It may be the vacation when you were a child when suddenly…All of these stories make sense of who we are.

As said by Lambert: ´The story become a way to find, if not a re-statement of rooted identity, at least a new center of gravity.´ Further as his experiences during the workshops of Center for Digital Storytelling, he says the re-telling of an incident of trauma, or a situation of achievement, or even a seemingly mundane interaction is made to service the establishment of new equilibrium – a homeostasis – in the storyteller’s sense of self. Thus that the the telling of story can serve for the storyteller as a form of therapy. And then when we move from the moment of the  narrative of the story and combine it with the latest technology, we may grasp that even a at first ordinary story may via images, videos or graphics create a complex picture of the story. All the possible combinations of visuals, sound and the narrative can give the story the essence, bring the story alive, make it more emotional, highlight the uniqueness of the story.

Furthermore even a single individual story can have the impact to be related to a much larger issue, in short digital story can be part of a larger community of people that can relate to the message of the story. And this is one of the aspect why the digital storytelling can be adopted to be a newer form of media engagement. As Lambert says digital storytelling is to support of construction of a healthy individual identity and moving on from the dysfuntional views of dominant media that count on shaping our desires and fears and reshape our identiy as Homo consumerus. And Burgess highlight also the diferentiation point of digitall storytelling to a documentary:

´Digital Storytelling as a ‘movement’ is explicitly designed to amplify the ordinary voice. It aims not only to remediate vernacular creativity, but to legitimate it as a relatively autonomous and worthwhile contribution to public culture. This marks it as an important departure from even the most empathetic ‘social documentary’ traditions.´

The workshop that Mr.Lambert and his colleagues in the Center for Digital Storytelling do is to use the digital options nowadays that are affordable such as video editing tools and publishing and distribution platforms that internet offers such as Vimeo of Youtube to emphasize the participatory media practices. One of the other feature of digital storytelling is that by telling a story digitally the storyteller can learn new digital skills. The differentiating point about a documentary and a digital story is that it is being narratited in the first voice by the storyteller itself. This way most of the stories from Makers, the largest collection of women stories is being produced. The women storytellers in this video are there to serve as an ispiration and maybe motivation, such as the story of Katherine G. Johnson, the NASA mathematician, who grow up in times where for African American girls the options were being a nurse or a teacher. Her story as other stories in on the website thought this stories celebrate women and empower others. Similarly the Bristol stories project releases digital stories about various themes from different people that come from Bristol, thus made by local people that tell their stories about people, places and events that are important to them.

Reference:

Lambert, J. (2013) Digital Storytelling: Capturing lives, creating community, New York: Routledge

Burgess, J. (2006) Hearing Ordinary Voices: Cultural studies, Vernacular Creativity and Digital Storytelling in Journal of Media and Cultural Studies 20 (2):pp 201-2014
http://eprints.qut.edu.au/6243/1/6243.pdf