In February 2018 I was invited to take part in a European Union-funded digital storytelling project led by Loughborough University’s Dr Antonia Liguori, a world-leading expert on using digital storytelling to address social issues.
The workshops involved learning how to create short films alongside adults from five different countries, many of whom, like me, were working in this media for the first time. The outcomes of the activity were phenomenal, not least of which was I got to make a film about a local museum that’s very special to me.
My involvement with the Loughborough team saw me invited to join the second stage of the European project in Wroclaw, Poland in March 2019, where as well as making a film myself, I provided English language and technical support to other participants.
My third involvement with the project to date has been working alongside Antonia to co-deliver digital storytelling workshops to a group of Year 9 pupils at an academy in Nottinghamshire. Their bravery in sharing personal and sometimes very difficult stories with peers outside their friendship groups filled me with awe and underlined for me the importance for each of us to have the chance to share the tales we need to tell. Other workshops are being planned at the academy.
In the meantime, I’ve used the skills I learned on the project to work with primary-aged pupils to help them share stories they’ve wanted to tell. Again, I’ve been blown away by the positive effect sharing their stories had on the pupils’ self-esteem and the way it strengthened feelings of cohesion in the group by the act of hearing them. I look forward to other projects where I can help this to happen.