How can a digital storytelling project be formed? In this series we present projects from around the world to give you inspiration to your work with digital storytelling.
Several projects about digital storytelling have evolved since Joe Lambert and Dana Atchley first came up with the idea of making workshops with digital stories in 1993.
Capture Wales is a broadcasting project, which can be said to bring new standards to the relationship between television audience and distributors. In the Capture Wales project digital stories are created by the audience and broadcasted by the BBC Wales.
The idea of the project is mainly to show the richness of life in Wales through stories made by the people of Wales (bbc.co.uk) and thereby reinforces the community of Wales.
The team behind the Capture Wales project runs monthly workshops around Wales, working with members of the public in order to help them create their own digital stories. The workshops are thought on the principals from the Center for Digital Storytelling in California. The contributors produce their own material, as well as edit it, and can get assistance with the creation process from the project team.
The Capture Wales project was the first digital storytelling project of its kind and can be said to have been the catalyst for the digital storytelling movement’s development inside broadcast television. The photographer and PhD Daniel Meadows started it up in 2001, after seeing the digital stories by Dana Atchley. Meadows is considered to be one of the founders of digital storytelling together with Dana Atchley and Joe Lambert.
Meadows express the ideology behind the Capture Wales project as follows:
“For television-as-we-know-it ‘acts passively upon individuals’. What Digital Storytelling does is open up the possibility that individuals can turn the television experience around, become its ‘active master’”. (Meadows, 2003)
In other words, the Capture Wales project is returning the voice of the people back to them (Meadows, 2003).
Projects like Capture Wales have become more common. Recently, The Citizen Storyteller Project “We shall remain” was launched in the United States. The project is giving a voice and tools to the Native Americans to record and tell their stories. 200 Native Americans across the country have been provided with the latest cell phone technology to produce their own two-minute video stories. The collection of digital stories will be broadcasted as part of a primetime television series in 2009.
The difference in this project is the use of the technology and the level of involvement from the television companies. In the Capture Wales project the digital stories are produced during workshops on the spot held by employees at BBC Wales. In the We Shall Remain project the Native Americans have the access to the technology over a longer period of time due to the use of cell phones. However they are not in charge of what context their recordings will be shown in.
In both examples the television companies say they work towards a reinforcement of a community and preservation of stories. The Capture Wales project is working to bring the media back to the people, and in this case they follow the spirit of the movement: to give the man on the street a voice. However, one must remember that companies that are permeated by a financial agenda claim this. Actually not all the stories are to be shown on BBC Wales, only a few elected.
Compared to the goals of the digital storytelling movement, as described by Joe Lambert, there are challenges within the use of digital storytelling in the television industry, due to the sorting of the stories. On the other hand, the use of television can increase the audience of the personal stories and encourage more people to share their stories.
To read more about the Capture Wales project, please visit www.bbc.co.uk/tellinglives
To read more about the We Shall Remain project, please visit www.pbs.org