Culture

An”exciting step forward for cultural history” Orkney Digital Storytelling Project

Stories to celebrate the heritage, culture and identity of the islands is the aim of a storytelling project involving collaboration between universities and islanders.

Recently awarded £10,000 from The Royal Society of Edinburgh to explore the most effective way to collect, curate and present stories in a digital format, The Orkney Digital Storytelling project is a team effort between Robert Gordon’s University ( RGU), the University of the Highlands and Islands Institute for Northern Studies and islanders in Orkney.

The project will explore the challenges and possibilities of creating the digital platform for storytelling.

Dr Rachael Ironside, Senior Lecturer and Researcher at RGU’s School of Creative and Cultural Business explained:

“The development of digital platforms to present and share stories has become an increasingly popular method of engaging visitors with heritage, landscape and culture. However, the development of digital storytelling platforms is often expensive, time-consuming and requires technical expertise. This can lead to sustainability issues with maintaining platforms, as well as questions related to the most effective way to collect, curate and present stories in a digital format. “

Planned workshops were postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions and instead the work went online with ‘Angles of Vision: Storytelling on the cosmic tide?’ in January 2021 with international reach.

Dr Ironside continued:

“It is intended that the findings developed from the workshops will benefit not only this project but have wider reaching impacts for the development and implementation of digital story-based projects locally, nationally and internationally. These challenges concern the collection and representation of stories, and also the sustainability of digital platforms beyond the end of the project.”

Professor Donna Heddle

Professor Donna Heddle, Director of the Institute for Northern Studies and co-investigator on the project, said:

“Sharing stories is part of the lived experience of communities, past, present, and future. This digital story project will allow us to preserve and promote these stories in new ways which will give more access and indeed more ownership of them to the people who created them. It is a very exciting step forward for cultural history!”

The report also reflects on the relevance of these findings for developing a digital story platform in Orkney and is available to view online here: https://www.orkneydigitalstorytelling.com/

The team was led by Dr Rachael Ironside, Senior Lecturer and Researcher at RGU’s School of Creative and Cultural Business; Dr Stewart Massie, Reader at RGU’s School of Computing; and Professor Donna Heddle, Director of the University of the Highlands and Islands Institute for Northern Studies .

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