Benefits and Outcomes
The evaluation report by Culture: Unlimited has revealed that there were four main themes that emerged from their evaluation;
1. Effects on participants, their families, friends, peers and networks.
2. Effects on the organisations touched by the project, including Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, their partners and third party organisations.
3. Effects on the wider audience and communities.
4. Other effects and observations.
The most profound effect on participants from the research is that they have a voice which someone in public authority is willing (in this case wanting) to hear. This is a finding that is relevant to the current Big Society rhetoric because it reflects a change from Big Government, Big Business and Big Charity to a human scale of "doing culture".
"This did more for me than statutory services have done in ten years because it saw me as a person, not as a problem or a collection of symptoms to be managed or a target to be met, but as a person."
Some participants have also shown a change in feeling about other people and have shown an increased empathy and tolerance towards other people and communities.
"There is something to share from everybody's life. Everyone has a history that is important to them - our history is what makes us."
The process of digital storytelling is also a therapeutic one. It has helped participants come to terms with and deal with some of the things going on in their lives. Participants have told stories which address the issues of why they are in prison, dealing with homelessness, being transgender and dealing with mental health issues, coming out, self harming and being a teenage young mum. By telling their story it is helping them but participants also hope that it will help others learn from their life experience.
"The process of telling my story and looking at my photographs, has really helped me deal with some of the things going on in my life."
Participants have also been able to find out more about the heritage of the North East region and about everyday life as a result of taking part in Culture Shock! They have been able to come to a deeper understanding about themselves, family and neighbourhood.
"I enjoy being part of the North East community. It is nice to see the different stories from the different generations."
Through taking part in digital storytelling workshops, participants have developed new skills in IT, social and communication skills, creative writing skills or even re-discovered skills they forgot they had. Participants have also shown an intention of pursuing these new skills and enrolling on informal learning courses as a result of Culture Shock!
"I have realised that I am creative person again. I will carry on with my poetry and art like I used to years ago. It's a coping mechanism for me and I don't know why I stopped."
The executive summary of the Culture Shock! evaluation report by Culture:Unlimited can be accessed by clicking on the link below;
If you would like a copy of the full report then you can request a copy by emailing to the following addres; firstname.lastname@example.org