Digital storytelling

 

"If I had to say what was the most significant impact that APC has had on my organisation in the last four years, I would have to choose digital storytelling." (Valentina Pellizzer, OneWorld Platform, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

What is digital storytelling?

As feminists, we believe that telling stories does not have to be “contracted out” to others; it is far more powerful and transformative for people to create and share their own movies. The process of people telling their stories in their own voices is as powerful for the storyteller as the end product is for the audience. Participants produce the stories themselves; they are the ones who speak, who decide what is said, and how it is said. Participants’ stories are not mediated through another. Through the storytelling they represent themselves.

The process

Digital stories are short, three- to five-minute videos combining photographs, animation, sound, music, text, and a narrative voice. The digital storytelling methodology takes people through a creative process of body-mapping, word play and games to reach for the story they want to tell. We explore ways of visually representing a story by shaping it into a poem, letter, animated comic strip, dream and more. The focus is on the storytellers’ control over the medium, choice of words (narration), pictures and music.  Storytellers write their narrative and then through a storytelling circle that is held as a safe, confidential and respectful space, share their story and are given feedback in an affirmative way.

Once the circle is complete, the narrative is crafted into a story script. Sessions on storyboarding, narrative structure, and visual imagery assist storytellers in developing their scripts to a place where they are ready to be digitised. We encourage the use of original photos, hand-drawn pictures and documents such as letters or certificates – images with emotional content that give visual meaning to the script.

The ethics of representation, consent, anonymity and safety are critical in the process of creating a digital story. We ensure that storytellers get permission if they want to use images of other people. Often the workshops we host are with activists who could be at risk if their stories reveal their identity, and we teach innovative ways of remaining anonymous. Storytellers have complete ownership of the story and can decide whether or not the story will be published online, used for educational purposes, etc.

WRP's journey with digital storytelling

In 2006, an APC member hosted a digital storytelling workshop with survivors of gender-based violence to process and produce digital stories. It was a powerful experience for trainers and participants alike, and inspired the African network of WRP to host a similar workshop for the region in 2007.

Since then, APC has trained many people in the use of digital stories for activism, whether it is used by women to combat violence against women, or by people living with disabilities and their families or transgendered people to tell their stories. WRP has used digital stories for documentation, evaluation, healing, empowering and awareness building for change. We work with APC members and partners and are contracted by organisations to run digital storytelling workshops. In 2016 we launched our digital storytelling platform http://stories.apc.org. Visit and view a range of stories from workshops we have been involved with over the years.

We offer training in digital storytelling methodology and facilitate digital storytelling workshops.

For more information on the methodology and rates, email stories@apc.org


Programme 
Women's Rights Programme

Project team 
Jennifer Radloff South Africa
valentina hvale pellizzer Bosnia and Herzegovina