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About Digital Storytelling Durham


DSD Project History


Though DS finds it roots traditionally in performance art (Lambert 2013), it has been most commonly used within health practice, community and social justice work. Its application in education and in particular higher education has tended to be aimed at areas which relate to the above applications and has not had a wide reach. However, recent research and case studies that have employed it are testimony to the enormous power and potential this practice can have in supporting knowledge and understanding of both subject and the individual working within it (Jamissen et al 2017).

The digital storytelling projects and workshops in Durham were initiated by Dr Teti Dragas in 2018 having seen the potential of this form within the HE context, and specifically at Durham where this had as yet not been employed. The primary aim is to build on this work to support both education and research within the HE context. The work’s initial aims were:

  1. to explore the affordances DS may bring when geared specifically towards particular disciplines and academic cultures
  2. to focus on developing the facilitation of this practice as curriculum development in the Durham HE context (and potentially beyond)
  3. to focus and supports both educational and methodological concerns

The work in each context and working with various collaborators from different disciplines and contexts has led to various developments in the understanding and value of this intervention in higher education contexts, what it means for pedagogy and practice and in terms of furthering and refining the frameworks, materials and practices that support its use.

Following the conception and development of the aims of the digital storytelling project, Teti secured a DCAD Collaborative Innovation Grant (5k) with collaborators from English Studies (Dr Alistair Brown) and Archaeology  (Dr Emily Williams) to begin this work and bring digital storytelling to the university and to explore its potential in the Higher Education context. The project then grew to add in colleagues from the School of Education and a number of other contexts across the university and they became part of the larger project aims. The Project was ethically approved and data collected and insights from the different contexts have already been disseminated at various conferences and are in the process of being developed into academic papers and other outputs. More information on these and other contexts where DS has been employed as well as dissemination, resources and outputs can be found in the project menu tab

Digital Storytelling Projects at Durham University


The overarching aim that led to creation of the site and the workshops that fed it, was to better understand the pedagogic value of digital storytelling (DS) in the HE environment and specifically in how it might support discipline-specific learning objectives. Broadly, this primary aims was divided into four key interrelated foci that served the basis of the first few projects here at Durham:

  • the potential of Ds to serve employability agenda for students – in both practical and personal ways: e.g. in terms of supporting skills development; discovering new avenues of interest through personal biography)
  • the nature, value and use of DS to promote digital skills development: e.g. applicable to careers (in particular to relevant careers related to disciplinary field i.e. English -in creative industries; Archaeology – in museums as conservators and curators) and more specifically to transferable skills linked to the discipline and beyond
  • the potential of DS as a reflective, experiential learning tool: e.g. enabling resilience-building, metacognitive awareness of learning, enhancing learning community by enabling reflection with peers, personal meaning-making and transformation
  • whether Ds could be an effective (summative/formative) assessment tool, especially for project-based work that is linked to disciplinary knowledge bases, understanding, identity and future careers

The projects sought to investigate the broader project aim outlined above, but importantly, began with a clear understanding and focus on the pedagogic aims and/or objectives of that particular context. In this way, the interventions are all different. They take some key characteristics and learning but develop them to ensure that digital storytelling intervention is meaningfully embedded into the course in order to innovate it with a clear purpose.

The DS Course in English studies was an extra-curricula intervention and broadly aimed at supporting students to develop digital skills and competencies, investigate their disciplinary skills and learning in order to support future employability prospectus, particularly focusing on transferrable skills in the creative industries.