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‘Dear Jessie’ by Molly Kavanagh

Returning to my digital story a year after making it, my first thought was ‘oh my goodness, does my voice really sound that weird!?’ but then it took me back to post-exams this time last year, when I first came across Digital Storytelling. Before I signed up for this course, I had never heard of the concept of a digital story, and I went along to the first session with a mixture of curiosity and apprehension. I can remember meeting everyone for the first time as we introduced ourselves and started to talk about what storytelling is. I think it was working alongside other people that really made it for me, and the relaxed environment created by Alistair and Teti really helped me to feel comfortable expressing myself. Discussing stories and their importance in the world in such a laid-back environment was so much fun and looking at storytelling in such a broad sense really complements the academic interactions with them in an English degree.

This digital story was created as part of a Digital Storytelling Workshop run in the Department of English Studies 2019. 

Something I found difficult was deciding what to write on in the first place. It seemed to me that nothing had happened to me that was story-worthy, and this course made me realise that anything can be a story, and that what I have to say about my own life experiences is worth sharing, not just my views on metacommentary or Virginia Woolf. Digital stories are usually around 2-3 minutes long, so you need to work out exactly what it is you want to say, and the most effective way of saying it. One of the inspiring things about the digital story is that you have so much creative freedom, both in what you tell your story about, and how you do it. Suddenly I was looking at the possibility of combining words, pictures, videos, colours and sounds together to tell a story. Making a digital story is like being your own small-scale filmmaker!

My first story is about my experience of being diagnosed with epilepsy, and how I used writing to cope with this and express myself. Ironically, it was only when writing a story about my writing that I was able to properly acknowledge the parts of growing up I found hard, rather than glossing over the subject as usual. Everyone found themselves sharing things with people they had never met before, and that they have found hard. I think the confidence gained through doing this is one of the special things Teti and Alistair have made possible through this course. You don’t just come away with new ideas and skills but with increased personal confidence. For me, this extends to presentation in general. I have always been nervous sharing my work – be it anything from performances to essays, and completing the course by presenting our stories to the rest of the class really boosted my confidence in presentation. 

The Digital Storytelling course gave me the opportunity to gain a basic familiarity with how to produce and edit a video and expanded my understanding of technology which is an increasingly useful awareness to have. Exploring Digital Storytelling also sparked an interest in combining images and narrative and this past year I have experimented with photography and producing documentary videos of my experiences from travelling to family events.

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