Digital Storytelling Programme Launched in Orkney

A new programme has been launched that invites people in Orkney to tell their personal stories, whilst developing important digital skills.

Co-ordinated by Scottish Book Trust, the charity transforming lives through reading and writing, a Digital Storyteller in Residence programme will take place at Orkney Library & Archive from September 2018 to May 2019.

Orkney Library

Mark Jenkins and Rebecca Marr, Orkney’s newly appointed Digital Storytellers, will support specially selected groups to create their own digital stories about personal experiences important to them.

Participants will use digital technology such as tablets, microphones and editing software to produce a narrated story, accompanied by photographs and visual footage. Each story will be narrated and edited by its creator.

Mark is an award-winning film editor and filmmaker who is chair of West Side Cinema in Stromness, and Rebecca is a photographic artist who has worked with Orkney Library & Archive and the Hoy Kirk Heritage Centre on a wide range of projects capturing and sharing local people’s stories. Mark and Rebecca currently live in Stromness.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“We are delighted to be introducing this project in Orkney. Digital skills are increasingly important for people to navigate all areas of life and connect with others, and by focusing on storytelling, this project makes it accessible to everyone.

“We all have stories to share, whether it is personal or about a community or a place or time. By capturing these local stories and building skills in the local community, the project will have a long-term impact.”

Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes MSP

Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy in the Scottish Government who officially launched the overarching project of five Digital Storyteller residences across Scotland, said:

“I’m delighted to launch Scottish Book Trust’s Digital Storytellers in Residence programme. The importance of this project in building digital skills and providing benefit to wider communities is invaluable.”

Mark Jenkins, Digital Storyteller for Orkney, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the library services, community groups, third sector organisations and schools in Orkney.

“On behalf of Scottish Book Trust, Rebecca and I will support local people to develop their skills and confidence in using information technology by creating digital stories.

“We will also build skills among library staff, local volunteers, third sector and community organisations to ensure there is lasting benefit for Orkney after the residency is complete.

“Telling stories is an important feature of Orkney culture and the Orkney Library & Archive hold a wealth of sound recordings. There is something very powerful about people’s own stories told in their own voice and, with this project, we plan to work with the local community to create a new collection of Orkney voices for the library.”

Following a successful pilot of the project in 2017, in Ayrshire and Fife, Scottish Book Trust was funded by the Scottish Government to support Digital Storytelling residencies in five library locations: Leisure and Culture Dundee, East Ayrshire Leisure, Falkirk Community Trust, Inverclyde Libraries, and Orkney Library & Archive.

Aims of the Project

  • Up-skill library staff, local volunteers and community organisations to ensure the work could continue at the end of the residency.
  • Introduce people to the web and help them build their digital skills whilst they learn why it is important for them to be online;
  • Improve basic digital skills amongst participants in a fun and creative way;
  • Ensure groups across the community can access equipment from the library for storytelling purposes;
  • Value the voices and experiences of a range of people from local communities traditionally least likely to participate or be represented in the cultural life and artefacts of the area;
  • Contribute to a living, growing local history resource within the library;
  • Encourage skill-sharing between generations, different parts of the community and between libraries and their audiences.

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