Digital Storytelling is a week-long course offered during Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI). This course explores combing computational technologies and digital media with storytelling techne to prompt rewarding scholarship and pedagogy practices associated with digital storytelling. The course focus is individual or collaborative experimentation and making prototypes for digital stories. "Show and tell" opportunities are available, both within the class and during the DHSI community lunch on Friday.
The course strives to help participants conceptualize, plan, and develop digital stories for Digital Humanities scholarship and pedagogy. A fundamental approach is to consider first the story, and then what digital media/technologies will facilitate its telling. Topics include organizing and managing digital storytelling projects, and developing literacy with fundamental approaches to digital storytelling. No previous experience with digital storytelling or specific digital technologies or platforms is required.
Ideal course activities include collaborative discussion and 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.
Course pack available here in open and portable electronic format. Read it 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 with regard to digital storytelling.
Literacy focuses on
What is possible? What can be done with digital storytelling?
What forms and/or genres exist?
What are the prompts for experimentation and remix, creative practice?
What tools to use
What skills to acquire
How to put 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 human endeavor and creative expression. 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.
Digital storytelling, broadly defined, combines digital media features and affordances with storytelling techne to create and share stories. Where documentaries, essays, historical and/or eye witness accounts, memoirs, narratives, research findings and/or 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, sound, and more 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 and/or tool that promotes critical thinking, communication, literacy, and civic engagement . . .
How might we use digital storytelling for creating and consuming Digital Humanities scholarship?
How might digital storytelling promote teaching and learning?
How might digital storytelling enrich the storytelling experience by promoting the telling of different stories, or telling stories in different ways?
How might digital storytelling serve as a form of tinkering apparati for collaborative thinking and/or creating, as a mode of knowledge production?
How might digital storytelling communicate its content effectively?
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 platforms. Because of limited time and resources, this course favors three accessible approaches to digital storytelling: oral history, podcasting, and multimedia. Participants are encouraged to one or more of these three approaches to conceptualize and develop small scale digital stories and/or prototypes for larger, more extended projects. In any case, participants should determine what story they want to tell, and then what media and affordances will help tell that story.
Regarding these three approaches . . .
Oral history approach
Start with voice recordings. The storyteller's voice is the basis for all storytelling.
A convenient and accessible method for packaging and distributing narratives and storytelling.
Combine video, images, text, voice, and other sounds. The original form of digital storytelling and still very effective.
Additionally, we can consider these other approaches, especially as they might overlay or augment our initial efforts.
Connect multiple lexis (screens of text or other information) via clickable links.
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 2017, 5-9 2017
***Watch this space***
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, Historypin.
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.
In 2013 and 2012 I taught, with faculty of the Creative Media & Digital Culture program, a course on Mobile App Design and Development. Course goals were to
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.
I maintain a separate webpage for course resources. Learn more.