Digital Storytelling at PhotoAccess

Digital storytelling at PhotoAccess
Digital storytelling allows people to tell their own stories in their own voice. Workshops run over a total of 26 hours and provide professional support for the making of a short film of three to five minutes. Working with Artistic Director Jenni Savigny (Gen S Stories), a photographer and a filmmaker, people write their own film script, record their own voice-over and create their own images. The workshops are fun, safe and highly creative.

Digital stories are a simple and powerful way to celebrate people and also their organisations and communities. The stories are a way of changing attitudes, providing insights, hope or humour. For example, the project Moving Minds (by Mental Illness Education ACT) used digital storytelling as a way of addressing stigma and discrimination towards people living with mental illness. This project won an ACT Health Promotion Award, and also a national award at the Mental Health Services Conference (2011).

Digital storytelling also allows many people to have a voice that would otherwise not be heard and it allows many people to participate in the arts that would otherwise not have the opportunity. PhotoAccess has collaborated with many marginalised communities whose access to the arts is limited for reasons of gender, geography, income, disability or other reasons. For example, In 2012/13 PhotoAccess worked with A Gender Agenda to create Being True to Ourselves – a collection of digital stories by the sex and gender diverse community in Canberra. This project won a national award at the Mental Health Services Conference (2013). We have also worked with people recovering from drug and alcohol dependency (Karralika, Love Stories), people coming out of crisis (Inanna Inc, Now I’m Here), and people living with disability (ADACAS, Being Heard).

An integral part of the digital storytelling process is the screening. It is a chance for people to celebrate with family and friends, for people to know they are not alone, and for everyone to experience the power of real stories. Many of the digital stories have been screened in the Arc Cinema at the National Film and Sound Archives. The following collections are published online:

In 2015 we delivered two digital storytelling workshops, one for homeowners who were affected by the Mr Fluffy crisis, titled Surrender: homes loved and lost to loose-fill asbestos - a collection of personal stories, in partnership with Woden Community Service, and the second for Muslim women in Canberra in partnership with the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum.

In 2016 we are delivering two digital storytelling workshops, one for people who have experienced homelessness, marginalisation or disadvantage titled Stories from the Street in partnership with Woden Community Service, and the second for women who are recreating their lives after domestic violence in a project titled Picture This in partnership with Domestic Violence Crisis Service.

If you would like to find out more about digital storytelling, and how you or your organisation could get involved, please contact us.

(Image: ADACAS, Being Heard DVD splash page)