Sharing the digital stories

This is perhaps the most moving stage in the process. Participants see their own completed stories for the first time, and those of their colleagues. Screening often give participants unexpected insights into their colleagues.

DST is both about enabling people to tell stories and enabling others to listen to those stories. The combination of visual images and first person audio narrative is compelling. It is hard not to listen to these stories, and they are generally far more accessible than the academic or legal documents that often articulate policy debates. Some argue that Digital Storytelling is a ‘feminist’ methodology, in that research participants control the way in which their stories are represented, and through the process learn new skills. So researchers are ‘giving back’ to the participants, not merely extracting data for their research.

Digital Storytelling has often been used with groups that have experienced stigma or violence. They experience the process of telling and constructing their narratives as therapeutic, empowering and solidarity-building. In South Africa, for example, workshops have been held for people affected by the stigma surrounding Tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS [Link to SLF case study]. In Palestine, workshops have been held with marginalised youth in refugee camps [Link to Voices Beyond Walls project: www.voicesbeyondwalls.org].

Understanding consent and risks

Initiating the digital storytelling process in the workshop context often involves showing digital stories. This is an important moment for talking about confidentiality, anonymity and ethics and to discuss what might happen to the stories after the workshop. You can also look at how other organisations had used stories in different contexts.

See section 4. on ethical practice.

Evaluating the impact of sharing stories

It is also essential to evaluate the impact of the digital stories on people who watch them, or on the policies or issues you aim to address through the stories. Consult the Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM-  www.apcwomen.org/gem) for ideas and support on evaluating both the process and outcomes of your project.