Stories from Moseley

July 22nd, 2013 by Tamara Edyta West in Creative Networks Research | no comments

stall1Last weekend we shared a stall with the Moseley Exchange at the Moseley Street Fair. The idea was to ask some local residents to contribute a short story about Moseley to form the beginnings of our media co-creation project ‘Exchange Stories’.

Just a few days before this we had three days of amazing digital storytelling training from Lisa and Iain at StoryWorks UK.  There were three representatives from the Moseley Exchange- Jess, Maria and Annette- taking part in the workshop with us, and we all found it to be both informative and inspiring. We began the first day with an introduction to the history, process and applications of the method. Some of the examples we saw involved a short film containing an audio story and just one or two photographs; others involved snippets of video and several photographs to accompany the words of the storyteller. And the stories- anything from tales of grandparents to daily interactions at a local social club– carried with them a strong resonance and individual beauty.  We continued with some story elicitation methods before each contributing our own story based around an object and photographs we had brought with us. We then made each other’s stories. This involved audio recordings of between 10-15 minutes, the use of existing photographs to help tell the story, and the taking of new images to accompany the narrative where necessary. We then edited the audio and visual material to create a short film of 2 to 3. Finally, we all watched the completed stories as a group. The result was the sharing of a kind of distilled essence of an aspect of our lives, and it had a strong impact on all of us.

Digital storytelling can be utilised in a number of ways. Stories can be made around anything and the method can be used in different settings; for example, within communities or organisations to enable people have their voices heard and to hear the voices of others, or for charities or groups to share advice or highlight experiences or issues. It is easily accessible and ‘usable’ in terms of cost and technological know-how, and whilst stories can be shared online, they can also be shared offline in things such as audio boxes containing stories to listen to, installations to engage with or prints to look through. We are exploring a number of story sharing options to compliment and lead up to the eventual online and offline unveiling of the completed digital stories via both a website and printed representations of the contributions.

stall2The first stories we captured at the street fair were in the form of short thoughts about the local area, and we also took photographs of participants as a visual accompaniment to their voices. Some people wanted to contribute on another day so we have invited them to come along to see us again next week. In September we will run two more in depth workshops with users of the Moseley Exchange. These stories will be a little longer than the street fair ‘snapshot’ ones and enable participants to engage with what Moseley and the Moseley Exchange means to them personally, professionally and socially.

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