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Digital Storytelling

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Digital Storytelling (DST) is a participatory visual method that uses basic ICT to create compelling narratives based on personal experiences. As a digital social innovation, DST can be a tool for collaboration and social change. The digital storytelling process also creates spaces for community-based stakeholders in various disciplines or fields to share knowledges and diverse perspectives. Digital storytelling is workshop-based and involves group discussion, sharing and learning. The method is fluid and impactful in multiple aspects of engaged scholarship - in community development, teaching and learning and engaged research.

  • In community development spaces, DST is used for stimulating community cohesion, often among marginalised or vulnerable communities and as an opportuniy for healing and catharsis as a community and as individuals.
  • In engaged research, DST can be used as a participatory data collection method and for communication of research.
  • In teaching and learning, DST integrates metaliteracies into the education space, contributing to mitigating a digital divide experienced in local communities. It is also a reflective means for learners to interpret learning materials.  
  • In service learning, DST can be used as a method for critical reflection and to document the learning experience.

Digital storytelling is a reiterative process. Practically, creating a digital story involves a process of group story-building, introspection and digital skills development. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences to create a meaningful story using video editing software. Participants give and receive feedback from their group, learn practical media skills, and learn to develop a compelling narrative. 

Using smartphones, cameras and video editing software, participants create stories informed by seemingly 'ordinary' lived experiences. These stories are emotive and subjective and reflect the personal feelings of the storyteller. The digital stories are short, have a small file size and are easy to share on the internet. Digital stories are varying combinations of photos, videos, audio and narration. 


Digital Storytelling Reseach in Makhanda

The Social Innovation Hub is using digital storytelling as a primary method for an investigation into epistemic justice in the Rhodes University community, including broader Makhanda communities who interact with the university. This research will explore experiences of cohesion among this community, particularly whether individuals in the space feel as empowred to share their experiencese and perspectives freely, and whether they perceive their voice as being heard in the space. 


Accredited* Short Courses

The Social Innovation Hub's digital storytelling short courses are designed to be used for multiple aspects of engaged scholarship. The courses are workshop-based and participants make their own story by the end of the course through a series of activities and through interaction with other participants. 

The Social Innovation Hub is available to run digital storytelling courses with your organisation or department. These workshops are run at a negotiable reduced fee for education and non-profit institutions and can be arranged throughout the year. The cost depends on the format and size of the group. If a member of your organisation participates in the training, they can facilitate future workshops on their own. The SI Hub can assist in co-faciliatating or planning the process. 

Courses are offered in the following formats:

  • In-person
  • Online
  • Blended


Digital Storytelling for Social Innovation

This workshop frames digital storytelling as a tool to stimulate or support social innovation. Broadly, social innovation entails reflecting upon or challenging conventional social structures with the ultimate hope of replacing them with more effective, sustainable and collaborative solutions. our workshop hopes to encourage you to use digital storytelling as a way of reflecting upon the social systems that impact on your life experiences, your community or your profession or studies. The Digital Storytelling for Social Innovation short course is a community-driven approach to digital storytelling designed to support and encourage social innovation in community development and education. It involves two key processes - firstly, building a story using feedback and reflection in a group setting (story circles) and secondly, learning practical storytelling and media and basic video production skills. 

Aims and objectives:

By the end of this course, you should:

  • engaged with my story circle
  • be able to produce my own digital story
  • have created a digital story
  • be able to adapt the method to my own needs

On successful engagement with this course, you should be able to:

  1. identify and solve problems
  2. work in a team
  3. collect, analyse and evaluate information
  4. communicate effectively
  5. be culturally and aesthetically sensitive 


This is a four-day course. 


Digital Storytelling TRAIN THE TRAINER 

This workshop sets out to train you in digital storytelling. In other words, by engaging critically with this workshop, you will have created a digital story of your own and will be able to train others in similar workshop settings to make their own stories as well. 

This is a one-month course with one week of daily attendance. 


Digital Storytelling for ENGAGED SCHOLARSHIP

This workshop trains academics to use digital storytelling in teaching and learning, as a data collection method and as a tool for communicating research. 

This is a one-month course with one week of daily attendance. 


Requirements for courses

  • Blended and online courses require a computer that will handle processing media, as well as a good internet connection. Our Digital Resource Library offers access to devices and participants can access the internet in the workspace


For more information contact:  Thandiwe at t.matyobeni@ru.ac.za or 046 603 7227

Last Modified: Wed, 13 Sep 2023 09:03:03 SAST