Not gonna lie, I didn’t expect to get much out of DS. I was already pretty digitally-literate, no stranger to storytelling, and often reflected on transformative moments in my life, so I didn’t think it would teach me anything new. Turns out, there’s more than meets the eye here.
Starting with the obvious: finding out about digital stories. The idea that stories can be anything told by anyone in any format is easily forgotten, especially at Durham, so DS was a much-needed reminder that storytelling is alive and well in the digital age. Increasing our scope acted as a palette cleanser, reminding us that texts are made up of authorial choices and thereby asking us to consider how certain effects were achieved, and how we might go about doing the same. DS made us active consumers via critical thinking, whilst also exercising our empathy and creativity.
After constructive criticism in the script-drafting phase (great for enhancing our communication skills), we were given full independence. The swift turnaround between sessions felt professional, as did the resources provided, though we were encouraged to use whatever we felt comfortable with. This made for a relaxed but hard-working environment, one that proved my ability to meet deadlines and complete a project, which was a confidence-booster. It’s easy to dismiss the value of an English degree sometimes, so having tangible evidence of its transferable skills was incredibly validating.
The community aspect was also valuable. Meaningful connections are hard enough in uni proper, nevermind during a pandemic, so DS provided a priceless opportunity there. Being able to speak with like-minded individuals (student and staff!), see their creative process, and hear how they interpreted your story provided a sense of humanity that can feel absent in English otherwise.
So, in short? Thank you, DS. Highly recommend it.
– @jasmeensdesk (she/her).