Digital Storytelling is a week-long course offered during Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). This course focuses on the combination of computational technologies, traditional storytelling arts, and creative practice to prompt rewarding scholarship and pedagogy practices associated with storytelling. The course focus is on literacy regarding multiple approaches to digital storytelling, rather than fluency with one particular application or platform. Time is available for individual or collaborative experimentation and making of prototypes or small-scale digital stories of your choice. "Show and tell" opportunities are available, both within the class and during the DHSI community lunch on Friday.
The course focus includes literacy with approaches to digital storytelling, resources, and conceptualizing and planning digital stories. A fundamental approach is to consider first the story, and then conceptualize what digital media/technologies will facilitate its telling. Topics include organizing and managing digital storytelling projects, and using digital storytelling for Digital Humanities scholarship and pedagogy. No previous experience with digital storytelling or specific digital technologies is required.
Ideal course activities include collaborative discussion and practice-based learning. Rather than analysis and critique, this course leans toward praxis. This is not to suggest that digital storytelling is clear of nuance and/or tension, but rather to focus on practice-based research and/or creative expression, learning by making, in support of Digital Humanities scholarship and pedagogy.
DHSI participants are international Digital Humanities scholars—faculty and graduate students—aligned with research centers, libraries, and academic departments around the world who participate in intensive, collaborative, multi-disciplinary classes and seminars ranging in subject matter from text encoding basics to strategies for large project management. Digital Storytelling can facilitate these efforts.
Academic credit is available for this course through the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities program.
A collection of course materials is available here in open and portable electronic format. You can read them online, print at your convenience, or use the print-on-demand service at the University of Victoria Bookstore and pick up when you arrive on campus.
The course framework considers literacy, fluency, and approach.
Literacy focuses on
What is possible? What can be done with digital storytelling?
What forms/genres exist?
What are the prompts for experimentation/remix, creative practice?
What tools to use
What skills to acquire
How to put your these resources, and your knowledge and skill into practice
Approach can be either individual or collaborative (perhaps required for more complex/ambitious projects.
Storytelling is an important part of being human, and an important tool for creative expression. After millennia of telling stories, we are pretty skilled with the various genres of stories and techniques for telling them. The multiple disciplines of the humanities focus on stories we tell about ourselves, our families, our nations, the things we create and build, because all these stories describe and define our humanity. Digital humanities uses research and practice at the intersection of the humanities and computing technologies to influence creation, dissemination, preservation, research, and teaching activities associated with our stories. We know less about telling stories using the features and affordances of different digital media simply because we have less experience with digital stories and how to conceptualize and create them for best possible experience. This course addresses the gap.
Digital storytelling, broadly defined, combines digital media features and affordances with storytelling techniques to create and share stories. Where documentaries, essays, historical / eye witness accounts, memoirs, narratives, research findings / presentations, and more, each speaking to aspects of human culture and creative endeavor might be told orally or in print, digital storytelling may use animation, audio, graphics, multiplayer games, music, narration, social media, video, Web publishing, writing, and more, alone or combined, to tell stories.
Combining computational technologies with storytelling techniques may extend the ability to share stories more easily and to a much broader audience. More specifically, digital storytelling may engage academic research with creative practice and promote critical thinking, communication, digital literacy, and civic engagement.
The affordances and features provided by digital technologies are not the story, however, but rather a tool for helping provide an engaging storytelling experience. With digital storytelling, the essential ingredients of a good narrative remain relevant, as does interest in telling and listening to good stories. This course explores opportunities.
Questions Regarding Digital Storytelling
We might consider these questions throughout the course, especially as we consider digital storytelling a resource/tool that promotes critical thinking, communication, literacy, and civic engagement . . .
How might we use these technologies for creating and consuming Digital Humanities scholarship?
How might digital storytelling promote teaching and learning?
How might we combine storytelling components and digital media to enrich the storytelling experience?
How might digital storytelling serve as a form of tinkering apparati for collaborative thinking/creating, as a mode of knowledge production?
How do we make digital storytelling communicate its content effectively?
How do we build interactivity into a narrative?
How might digital storytelling facilitate the creation and consumption of knowledge that will engage, enlighten, and involve diverse readers/interactors/participants?
Approaches To Digital Storytelling
The broad definition and scope of digital storytelling fosters multiple approaches, and could require fluency with a number of different digital creation platforms. Because of limited time, our course orientation should favor developing literacy regarding the different types and applications of digital storytelling over developing fluency with any particular platform to create them. Participants are encouraged to determine what media / affordances might help tell their stories, and then conceptualize / develop small scale digital stories / prototypes and proof of concepts for larger, more extended projects.
Use multiple forms of digital media to support storytelling. Resources here.
Connect multiple lexis (screens of text or other information) via clickable links.
Oral/aural history approach
Start with voice recordings. Combine with digital images, music, and video.
Use voice recordings as a single medium for narratives and storytelling.
Location aware approach
The narrative is often based on a specific location.
Interact / participate with the narrative.
Distribute aspects of the narrative across different media platforms in order to leverage particular features / affordances of the selected media to provide multiple, different yet connected narrative experiences focused on the same subject.
Augmented reality approach
Connect digital content to the physical world through augmented reality.
DHSI 2016, 6-10 June
Twenty two individuals from Canada and the United States participated in this course. Artifacts produced by 2016 participants include the following.
Marissa Yardley Clifford
A site-specific radio installation, broadcasting a curated amalgam of poems, literary excerpts, and aural detritus, and accessible while driving along a discrete quarter-mile stretch of the 101 Freeway, arguably one of the main arteries of Los Angeles.
Indigenous Art on the University of Victoria Campus
Robin Gheesling, Josh Oliveria, Melissa Salrin, Emily Witsell, and Kate Siemens An interesting project using a versatile and easy-to-use platform, History Pin.
The Mystic Vale
Kirilka Stavreva, Kim L. Roberts, Carol Nahachewsky
An interactive video about a magical place on the University of Victoria campus. A blog to invite more creative involvement is available here
Rabbits DHSI 2016
Masha Shpolberg, Mia Zamora, Celia Carlson, Michael Hennessey, Jessica Tremblay
A mockumentary video about the disappearance of rabbits from the University of Victoria campus.
Telling Stories at DHSI
Colleen Renihan, Andrew Prellwitz, Liam Murphy, James O'Sullivan
Interviews with Alyssa Arbuckle, Diane Jakacki, and Ray Siemens about the annual Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). Furthermore, they speak to a few of the field's many voices, who share what DH means to them. This work is Episode #4 (June 2016) of Cultural Mechanics podcast by O'Sulllivan. Topics emerge from O'Sullivan's research and interest in digital culture, electronic art, critical media, creative technologies, and Digital Humanities.
A very honest and personal account of trauma associated with adolescent self-identification.
My name is John Barber. I teach in The Creative Media & Digital Culture program at Washington State University Vancouver. My scholarship, teaching, and creative endeavors focus on intersections among Digital Humanities, computer technology, and media art.
One course I teach is Digital Storytelling. Outcomes from past classes include Martians With Moustaches and Chronicles. Both featured student works in curated exhibitions. Most recent student digital stories are archived here.
Further about me . . . my interests include digital curation and sound+radio art. I developed and maintain Radio Nouspace (www.radionouspace.net), a curated listening gallery/virtual museum for sound featuring historical and experimental radio+audio drama, radio+sound art, and sound poetry. My radio+sound art work has been broadcast internationally, and featured in juried exhibitions in America, Canada, Germany, Macedonia, Northern Ireland, and Portugal. I also developed and curate Brautigan Bibliography and Archive (www.brautigan.net), an online, interactive information structure known as the preeminent resource on the life and writings of American author Richard Brautigan. Richard Brautigan: An Annotated Bibliography (McFarland, 1990) and Richard Brautigan: Essays on the Writings and Life (McFarland, 2007) are offshoots of this work. I have contributed essays regarding Brautigan to Postwar Literature 1945-1970: Research Guide to American Literature, Encyclopedia of Beat Literature, and international literary journals.
Since 2012, I have taught week-long courses at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. DHSI courses taught include
- Digital Storytelling (2017, 2016)
Course focus includes literacy with approaches to digital storytelling, fluency with resources, and making individual or collaborative digital stories. Course topics include storytelling as a fundamental human activity, combining storytelling techniques and computational technologies, organizing and managing digital storytelling projects, and using digital storytelling for Digital Humanities scholarship and pedagogy.
- Sound and Digital Humanities (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014)
Course focuses on opportunities/approaches for sound in Digital Humanities scholarship and pedagogy. Emphasis is practice-based research and/or creative expression. Topics include sound utilization, forms, and associated intellectual rights in DH contexts.
- Mobile App Design and Development (2013, 2012)
Collaboratively taught with faculty of the Creative Media & Digital Culture program. Course goals . . .
1). Conceptualize the space and special features of mobile devices.
2). Develop the architecture, design, and multimedia content production for a mobile project.
3). Understand the coding and programming requirements for mobile devices.
Resources > multimedia
Pioneering examples of digital storytelling are short videos (2-3 minutes) combining narrated personal writing, photographic and other still images, and a musical soundtrack. Beyond this basic form, multimedia digital storytelling might include narrated slide shows, movement capture or tracking, live multimedia performances, locative media, DJing, electronic literature and/or multimedia books, web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertext, audio productions, narrative computer games, podcasting, video blogging, Internet radio and/or television, and digital graphic novels. These media might be used separately or in combination depending on the storyteller's purpose and skills.
Branch, John. Snowfall: Avalanche at Tunnel Creek. The New York Times.
The Displaced: Introduction (Jake Silverstein, 5 November 2015). Published in The New York Times Magazine. Includes The Displaced, an 11-minute, 360-degree virtual reality film about three children—from Lebanon, Ukraine and South Sudan— torn from their homes by war. Virtual reality gives a sense of immersion, of being present in distant worlds. You can watch the movie online, and manipulate the view by clicking and dragging on the image, but it benefits greatly from the downloadable NYTVR app. You can also use Cardboard, a viewer from Google and the free Cardboard app for your Android or iOS phone.
The Nokia Games
(1995-2005). A series of alternate reality games designed to promote Nokia mobile telephones. Involved communication between players through various forms of mass media and featured storylines that changed each year. Each game lasted 3-4 weeks.
Upgrade Soul (Erik Loyer 2012). An immersive science fiction graphic novel for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The reading experience is complimented by fluid navigation, interactive accelerometer-driven 3D effects, and dynamic music. Panels slide and reshape dynamically as the reader swipes through the story. Upgrade Soul resources.
What Are Cell Phone Novels? The answer: ongoing, serial literature generally written in poetic, short chapters with 100-200 words per chapter. This article provides background about the origins in Japan over a decade ago and some ideas about the future. The website, Textnovel, is a social sharing network for authors and readers of serial fiction.
Immobilité (Mark Amerika 2007). The world's first feature-length mobile phone art film. A story about a future world where the dream of living in utopia can only be sustained by a nomadic tribe of artists and intellectuals. Immobilité mashes up the language of "foreign films" with landscape painting and literary metafiction. The work was composed using an unscripted, improvisational method of acting and the mobile phone images are intentionally shot in an amateurish or DIY [do-it-yourself] style similar to the evolving forms of video distributed in social media environments such as YouTube. By interfacing this low-tech version of video making with more sophisticated forms of European art-house movies, Amerika both asks and answers the question "What is the future of cinema?" Download free Immobillité app from iPhone App Store
Resources > locative
Digital stories might be told about or from a particular location. Learn more.