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4.3 Digital Storytelling

This chapter section is short, as it is designed to be read in conjunction with the portfolio, listening to the digital storytelling pieces produced, as shown in the online portfolio. In keeping with the principles discussed by Trower (2011) I concur that digital recording is increasingly important in the oral history tradition, and recognise that immersion in such resources is certainly useful for this type of research, particularly when the digital storytelling was designed to allow participants to express themselves freely, whilst respecting their creative output and allowing an understanding of what was culturally important to them.

Audio was the preferred method of recording for all of the groups, but there were differences in the approaches taken by participants. Some participants preferred to be recorded in informal conversation with each other, capturing their natural flow of conversation rather than asking them questions or giving prompts whilst script writing and storyboarding was a preferred method for some participants, pre-planning the content and structure of their work before recording. Participants used pen, paper and collage to collate materials which were relevant to their story, and brought items of meaning to accompany their recordings, for example family photographs or images of the buildings relevant to their story, which added to the richness of the media created, asking that these were included with the audio, as this more accurately presented their experience for them.

None of the participants expressed a desire to be involved in the editing of the material, they were happy to allow me to edit their recordings, which demonstrates a high level of trust.

Similarly I allowed participants the opportunity to listen back to their material, and delete it if they wished, an approach used by other researchers such as Ross et al. (2009), yet this was not an action which anyone wanted. My experience was that those who did wish to hear their

recordings really enjoyed this, whilst others did not want to hear their own voice in a recording at all. Some of the participants wanted to record each other, with video, but not show their face (just use a blank screen) so I allowed them to experiment. This echoes findings on using video in community research which “can help to bridge gaps between informants and researchers by undermining notions of academic authority. Rather than simply alienating participants, as some have argued, participants are many times particularly intrigued by the equipment” (Garrett, 2011, p.530).