Using existing contacts and developing new ones we recruited participants for storytelling groups consisting, typically of 6-8 people, often with a project
worker. Over 100 workshops took place with a diverse range of different groups including; disability support groups, refugee and asylum seekers, Young
People Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET), black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, lesbian gay bisexual and transgender support groups, substance misuse support groups, older peoples groups and prisons.

Each group learned ICT and storyboarding skills so that each person could personally create their own digital story. Whilst a project of this nature cannot be ‘representative’ of the region we believe that we have engaged a broad range of people who reflect many aspects of the communities of the North East today.

We worked with community workers to ensure each project we delivered was developed in partnership with the community group to ensure both partner’s aims and objectives were achieved. These projects were delivered by members of museum staff trained in digital storytelling with support from community workers. 

“At first I didn’t feel I had a story to share that people  would be interested in, but after some brain storming I picked something I feel proud of and I’m very proud of my achievement.” - participant

The creation of digital stories is a participant led process. Each participant has complete ownership over the creation of their story from the idea of the story itself, the compilation of the story script, the recording and editing of the script, the selection of the visual material to illustrate their audio and the production of the story in the film making software.

“I have learned an awful lot about computers and have calmed my fears. This has spurred me on to apply for an evening computer course to further my experience!” - participant

Some stories have begun with a visit to the museum store of the
participant’s choice, to explore the collections and to choose an
object, or group of objects to inspire their story. Other stories have begun with individuals or communities, or with the use of loans boxes. This project has complemented conventional interpretation by encouraging people to describe and respond to the objects with their own thoughts, memories and ideas. Working together, people have developed trust and understanding and come to discover the relevance of museums to their lives. This will also help develop contemporary collecting initiatives – perhaps one of the most important current agendas for museum collections. Objects, images, sounds and memories provided inspiration for
the creation of individual digital stories and associated collections that would help people share their own sense of place and identity within the region.

To encourage further dialogue and discussion between participants we also brought groups together through intergenerational projects and mixing events were organised where we brought different groups together to share stories with one another. Individuals also participated in one-day workshops open to the general public.


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