As part of a Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Government-funded initiative, workshops were held around the central belt of Scotland, where participants were supported to use tablets and editing software to create digital stories about experiences in their lives. Following this, they had the choice to share their stories online and at a celebration event at the project’s end.
What skills and resources were you able to draw from the community for this project?
Our partnership with the library services was an invaluable asset. Their relationship with the local communities enabled us to reach out and find a diverse range of groups from young people to older folk. We also met a range of organisations in Falkirk District and through our initial contacts found out about other interesting groups and community initiatives. Word of mouth was a great way to attract more storytellers. Those who completed a story were often engaging with their peers and encouraged them to come forward to take part in the project.
20% of adults in Scotland lack basic digital skills and this can exclude them from financial and social opportunities available online. Digital exclusion often goes hand in hand with other types of exclusion such as age, poverty and disability. Our project aimed to provide a meaningful hook to engage with digital technology.
Addressing the challenges
Improving digital literacy skills was the aim of the project but what was most meaningful to both the participants and the facilitators was giving voice to previously untold stories, sharing with each other and, most excitingly, screening them at our event in the lovely wee Bo'ness Hippodrome cinema for friends and family. You can see many of the project's stories here: https://vimeo.com/channels/peoplesstoryproject
We were one of five projects run in various local authorities across Scotland and were part of a team who worked with 704 people, 363 of whom completed digital stories. 224 of these stories are now shared online at digital-stories.scot. Most importantly though, we have left knowing that many of our participants have found their digital voice and made new friends in the process. We also left equipment kits at the local library and trained staff to continue capturing stories from the area. This way we have planted a seed to encourage more digital participation as well as sharing local voices in the community. We realised that sharing stories, no matter the issues represented, is key to engage and listen to what is really happening on the ground! Storytellers felt a sense of pride in their local community and some people commented that politicians should see these stories to understand their constituents better.