Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Coromandel Community Digital Storytelling Project

One of the coolest digitization projects I have come across is the Coromandel Community Digital Storytelling Project. This is an initiative to record, preserve, and share the history and stories of the Coromandel community using Digital Storytelling.

The programme is based on the work and practice developed by the Centre for Digital Storytelling, an international not-for-profit community arts organization rooted in the craft of personal storytelling. They assist youth and adults around the world in using media tools to share, record, and value stories from their lives, in ways that promote artistic expression, health and well being, and justice.

"While the term "digital storytelling" has been used to describe a wide variety of new media practices, what best describes the approach is its emphasis on first-person narrative, meaningful workshop processes, and participatory production methods."

What happens is a crack team of IT professionals led by Vanesa James, parks up in a village hall for 3 days. They unload their equipment: a bunch of shuttle PCs, a scanner, sound recording equipment etc and then they help locals craft a short digital story persoanl to them. The product is the end goal, so the process is not the be all and end all and the storyteller doesn't need to learn how to use all the software used.

The project started in January 2008 and so far 70 stories have been produced covering a variety of topics, including history, immigration, travel, and family. The stories are wonderful. I particularly liked Snow of the Tokotea and A Floundering Experience but there are dozens of stories online at the site. And do take a look at the programme of community screenings - pretty jolly impressive!

What I am really pleased to see on offer, is that will hold Train the Trainer courses and are available for advice and support.

And here is the opportunity: for very little expense this project could be mirrored all round the country. We could have dozens of these projects operating all over the country, coordinated by local libraries, especially the Aotearoa Peoples Network ones. The APN libraries already have a foothold in the communities of NZ, can be supplied with all the necessary equipment and get a free hosted Kete in which to store and share the lovely stories which will be created.

We should do it aye...

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