Digital Storytelling and Community Outreach

I attended my first Community Technology and Digital Opportunity Meetup in San Francisco on July 20th and left feeling inspired about the potential of using digital media to express the realities, triumphs and work of my clients.

The purpose of this meetup is to share the work of various nonprofits around the Bay Area who provide technology access and programming to the local community through either computer labs or innovative digital literacy curricula. The week’s topic “Bayview Hunter’s Point Center for Art and Technology and Digital Storytelling!” was hosted by the titled organization, BAYCAT, and also featured a presentation by Jen Nowicki from Creative Narrations.

Jen first defined what digital storytelling is: it’s a vignette told in the first person and made up of personal images and text in a video format. Her organization helps nonprofits and education institutions empower their constituents’ voices by training them to develop their own digital story. From what I saw, their process is focused, impacting and cathartic for many of the individuals they serve. They teach the elements of how to tell a story and move their students through four stages of developing their work: Preparation, Production, Publishing and Promotion. The final stage is important to the recognition and ownership of the work, and helps ensure that the community hears the story. For resources on how to create your own digital story, you can go to Stories for Change.

Here is one of the highlighted videos: Boston YWCA: Klare.mov

BAYCAT is an organization that educates the underserved communities of Bayview and Hunter’s Point on various media production techniques, and then employs some of their graduates to fulfill corporate and other nonprofit media needs. This cycle from student to professional creates an incredible incentive for the students and their families to continue supporting their talents. Many of the production pieces serve as public service messages to the student’s community, so they become change agents against drugs and violence.

Here is a very creative and funny one done by a teenager:

I would love to see some of my clients start to utilize these resources. I know that the web development process is quite an undertaking in itself, but starting to incorporate video to tell stories would be a great 6 month follow up to keep web content fresh. It would also be a great case for strategic partnerships among nonprofits.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 9:27 pm and is filed under design, multimedia, npsf, project management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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