It’s strange writing a blog post about the story of how I made a story in the digital storytelling workshop. In fact, producing this post I am thrown back to something like the uncertainty I felt when I walked into the first Digital Storytelling session.
With a name as broad and open as ‘Digital Storytelling’, it should come as no surprise that I had no idea what to expect. For the first session, we were asked to bring a book and another item of our choice, both of which meant a lot to us personally. So I walked in, slightly self-conscious and nervous in the knowledge that I’d be talking about myself, and the session began. We learned from Teti and Alistair, the two wonderful project leads, about storytelling as a cultural practice, the impact of digital media upon it, and then we were asked to guess which objects belonged to which member of the group.
And then above all I remember vividly how bizarre it felt to be talking about two of the most meaningful things in my life with a group of strangers. We all got little glimpses into each other’s personalities, thoughts, and individual struggles, and juxtaposed with the academic context it felt entirely new. At university, even if (like me) you love engaging with big ideas and intellectual debates, you get used to seeing them as quite bloodless, dry, and often frustratingly complex. This was doubly true as we had all come out of an exam, and were all a bit ‘essayed-out’.
But this was also why I found the course so valuable. By situating our stories in a wider academic context, we were allowed to feel the relevance of our unique voices. We were given to understand the importance of what we were doing, however small it might seem, without being talked down to. If you’ll forgive the buzzword, it really did empower me to feel like I would be able to write, and that I had something to say.
In terms of my future, the short workshop quickly delivered results. I grew more confident in my writing to the point where I became a News Editor for Palatinate, I am now working on a play which I hope to have put on (when the theatres open again), and I got an internship which I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise. Although the tech used to make the stories wasn’t complex, having some experience with even rudimentary editing shows a level of familiarity along with a willingness to learn further.
However, more than anything, the digital storytelling workshop gave me confidence. I’m normally quite talkative with friends, but I now specifically feel more comfortable in my ability to interact with strangers, to speak publicly, and to write and produce art on my own terms.