I’ve always been a great fan of storytelling. I loved having stories read to me as a child, I loved reading them to my own kids, and I ended up studying English Literature at university, largely due to my great love of the Victorian novel, many of which were epics of storytelling.
Over recent years I’ve developed a growing interest in the power of storytelling to change people’s lives. I think, in part, this may have been stimulated by my frustration at observing how often stories are used to prevent change; TV soap operas being a case in point, which present society with a reflection of the worst aspects of human nature, and seem designed to dampen ambition and instill pessimism.
So, I’ve been looking at how organisations and individuals can use storytelling, and, in particular, digital storytelling, to spread messages about their work, and inspire others to do similar good. In 2011, David Wilcox and I did some work for the Big Lottery Fund documented here, which sought to assist them to encourage projects they work with to use digital storytelling as part of their evaluation processes. During this work I was fortunate enough to see a presentation by Nick Jankel about the process of storytelling and interview him afterwards. Talking to Nick helped me crystallise a lot that I instinctively knew about storytelling, and gave me a framework to put things in.
All my work, whether it be in assisting organisations to adopt and deploy social media, leading people towards digital inclusion, engaging communities in the process of securing better rural broadband, or live video streaming events and celebrations, is aimed at enabling people to tell their stories. It is stories that engage people, and show them that people like them can achieve great things.
That’s why I was particularly pleased when Duncan Hodgson of One Blackpool asked me to deliver a short session on Digital Storytelling as part of the series of Breakfast Seminars they are running. And, despite having to get up at 4am on a freezing cold morning, I really enjoyed it and was bowled over by the positive reaction. Duncan did a Storify of the tweets from the session
The reaction confirmed to me that I am onto something here and that there is a real appetite to learn more about storytelling. So, I’d love to do more of this. If you’d like me to do a digital storytelling session for your organisation or network, either as a presentation like I did in Blackpool, or as a longer session giving time for practical work, I’d love to hear from you. My contact details are here.