Author Archives: tricia

Hidden Voices: Digital Storytelling with Prisoners’ Families





DigiTales is delighted to be collaborating on the Hidden Voices project, creating digital stories with families of prisoners in Brighton in February 2017.

 Zap Art and Sussex Prisoners’ Families have received £30,000 grant funding towards the ‘Hidden Voices’ from People’s Postcode Trust (£20,000) and BBC Children in Need (£10,000).

Hidden Voices is an exciting new collaboration with Zap Art & Sussex Prisoners’ Families (SPF) to raise awareness of the ‘hidden sentence’ faced by one of society’s most invisible groups – prisoners’ families (partners, carers, parents and particularly young people and children). The project seeks to highlight the impact of family imprisonment upon wellbeing, relationships and life chances and offer a platform to promote youth voice.

Funding will support an exciting programme of expressive arts workshops in youth clubs and community centres across East and West Sussex, a 3 day intensive digital storytelling project delivered by the University of Brighton and DigiTales, professional training and a public showcase event in May as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival.

Our Funders:

People’s Postcode Trust

People’s Postcode Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. To find out more about the trust or to apply for funding please click this link:

To find out how to play the People’s Postcode lottery, and thus support more charities, please click this link:

BBC Children In Need

BBC Children in Need awards grants each year to organisations supporting disadvantaged children and young people in the UK who may be affected by homelessness, neglect, abuse or poverty, or those who have faced challenges in their lives such as serious illness, disabilities and psychological disorders.

BBC Children in Need is a charity registered in England and Wales (802052) and Scotland (SC039557) whose aim is to make a positive change to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

To find out more about BBC Children in Need, please click this link:

Project Partners:

Zap Art is a creative arts charity, internationally renowned for introducing high quality, powerful arts experiences to new audiences, with a particular focus on engaging people in areas of deprivation, working with disadvantaged or marginalised groups. Zap designs creative programmes and cultural events that involve communities, and through working in partnership with social organisations it seeks to support people to transform their personal situations or tackle social issues.

Sussex Prisoners’ Families (SPF)

SPF is a community interest company, established in 2013, which supports local families in Brighton, West Sussex and East Sussex to cope emotionally and practically with the imprisonment of a loved-one. SPF offers support and advice to families (partners, carers, parents, young people and children) as well as training and awareness-raising for professionals so that they can better meet families’ needs. SPF’s first strand of work is supporting defendant families in court, but they are currently developing community based support groups including youth voice activity.




StoryA|STORY Abroad

Validating and Connecting Experiences of Working and Studying Abroad Through Digital Storytelling

StoryA – A Transnational European project funded by ErasmusPlus.  The UK Component is led by the University of Brighton.

Partners: MeltingPro (Italy – lead partner); Storycenter (USA), Media Shots (Portugal), Verein Digital Story Vienna (Austria), Perspectives (Belgium), Museu da Pessoa (Brazil), Kulturskolan Stockholm (Sweden), Cape Peninsula University of Technology (South Africa).

DigiTales is working closely with the University of Brighton to deliver the UK components of STORYA. Our primary goal was to take advantage of the opportunity to work with a group of young people over an extended period of time on a sharply focussed research question. Our view was that the longer time period created scope to establish relationships with young people by introducing them to digital storytelling before they went abroad so they could gather resources for their story while they travelled before attending a production workshop to craft their stories on their return. We were fortunate enough to be able to draw on our existing relationship with the Salvation Army Housing Association’s Open Talent programme which provides new creative opportunities for hard to reach young people and includes periods spent outside the UK.   UoB, DigiTales and SAHA worked together to create a bespoke workshop programme for young people travelling to South Africa and the Netherlands. For most of the group, this journey was their first time outside the UK. In December 2015, we ran a three day workshop to produce digital stories with the group about the impact of their experiences abroad.  Here is a story by Sophie, who describes a life changing experience:

You can see stories from across the partnership here on the StoryAbroad Youtube channel.  We also made a short video containing interviews from the young people as they went through their digital storytelling workshop.  You can download the E-Book that was produced by the partnership: Travelling Stories.

Silver Stories Snapshoot Workshop

December 3rd – 5th 2014

by Tricia Jenkins

DigiTales attended the interim meeting of the Silver Stories partnership in Copenhagen last week, which was preceded by an excellent training workshop to explore working with iphones/smart phones and ipads/tablets, testing different apps and assessing their potential to use in the piloting of digital storytelling modules with health and social work professionals who are working with older people, and indeed with older people themselves.


Whilst mobile phones are so accessible, so that you can literally make a film on the move, those of us with failing eyesight found them challenging to use, whilst those of us using iPads found the devices fine, but the limitations of the iPad iMovie app a little frustrating.

That said, we all found the experience of being involved in co-creation of stories through story circle once again invaluable. It is good to re-position ourselves as participants rather than facilitators once in a while. It reminds you what it feels like to find, to tell, to share a personal story. And being an international group brought a rich diversity of stories, creating a bond beyond the simple one of being together because we are contracted for two years to be so.10846009_10152880720933554_2094041062915240861_n

Digital Storylab did an excellent job running the workshop and hosting the management meeting, where we learned so much about the fantastic work being carried out across the six countries.   Mitra in Slovenia ran a hugely successful Silver Stories film festival, whilst Laurea Institute of Applied Science in Finland has been adapting  past experience with digital storytelling techniques to work with older people living with Dementia.

Maria dos Anjos Dixe and Mirva Alapoikela, Laurea Institute of  Applied Science

In Portugal, Trapezio/Media Shots have been working in partnership with Instituto Polytecnico de Leiria, training teachers, nurses and social workers in digital storytelling and testing the method in pilot workshops with older people. One participant, who has a degenerative disease, was discouraged from participating on the grounds that that she would not be able to do it. Despite her lack of experience with computers and her disability, she did make a story and now her family have a changed perception of her capabilities. They are very proud of her achievement – and so is she! Our hugely productive Romanian partner, The Progress Foundation, have sent some of their librarian trainers who have developed real expertise in using digital storytelling with older people in the community, to tap into the experience of Digital Storylab, DigiTales and Trapezio/Media Shots, all of whom have worked with a wide range of disadvantaged or marginalized groups, so that they can extend their reach in Romania to more diverse communities.

GroupAnd that is just the tip of the iceberg – everyone in the partnership is busy finding every which way to continue and to develop digital storytelling in their own countries and in international partnership ventures.

Our final Silver Stories conference will take place on 26-27 May 2015, in beautiful Leiria in Portugal, hosted by Instituto Polytecnico de Leiria. This international conference invites submissions for papers about the use of digital storytelling with older people, within communities and its use in reflective practice. You can find details of the conference and how to submit an abstract (deadline 27 February 2015) on the conference website.

Take a look at the call for papers…. and please join us 26-27 May 2015 to discuss and celebrate the uses of digital storytelling.

Silver Stories – Transfer of Innovation

Silver Stories’ Approach to Transfer of Innovation

The Silver Stories partnership developed from an earlier, award-winning project Extending Creative Practice, funded through the EC’s Grundtvig programme. led by DigiTales Ltd., between 2010 and 2012. Extending Creative Practice promoted the use of digital storytelling with active older people, in community settings and with frail older people. DigiTales provided digital storytelling facilitator training for Mitra (Slovenia), The Progress Foundation (Romania) and Laurea University of Applied Science (Finland). These organisations have incorporated digital storytelling as part of their practice and have achieved impressive results, both during the lifespan of the project and thereafter. For example, in Romania, there are now over 400 digital storytelling facilitators located in public libraries!

Digital Storytelling workshop, Constanta, Romania

Workshop with older people in Constanta, Romania

Download the Extending Creative Practice Evaluation Report

View Extending Creative Practice Digital Stories.

These partners have developed considerable expertise in using digital storytelling with older people and Silver Stories has enabled us to extend the partnership to transfer the method to new partners in Portugal (Instituto Polytécnico de Leiria, IPL; and Trapezio/Media Shots) and Denmark (Digitalstorylab). IPL is a leading provider of nursing qualifications in Portugal and Trapezio is an established and internationally recognised digital storytelling organisation, but with little experience of working with older people. Similarly, Digitalstorylab is a leading player in Denmark and on the international stage, specializing in digital storytelling in a wide range of contexts, with many different groups, but had little direct experience of working with older people. DigiTales has also worked internationally, delivering digital storytelling workshops to disadvantaged communities and specialising in facilitator training. Like Trapezio and Digitalstorylab, DigiTales relished the opportunity to learn from our expert colleagues in Romania and Finland.

Silver Stories’ ‘Transfer of Innovation’ is divided into three actions.

Transfer One meeting Constanta


Transfer One was held in Constanta, Romania in May 2014.  It concentrated on how digital storytelling has been incorporated into the mainstream library provision.


Transfer Two workshop Espoo, Finland


Transfer Two was hosted by Laurea University of Applied Science, Espoo, Helsinki, Finland, in February 2014. Colleagues at Laurea provided a fascinating workshop focusing on approaches to using digital storytelling with frail older people


Both workshops provided an excellent foundation for participants to develop their digital storytelling work with older people and also contributed valuable insights to an in-progress PhD research project: What are the Benefits of Digital Storytelling with Older People? (researcher Tricia Jenkins of DigiTales; Studentship at Middlesex University).

Transfer Three has drawn upon the expertise of DigiTales, Digitalstorylab and Trapezio, who have enabled Romanian colleagues to join digital storytelling workshops with a broader range of marginalized learners. Librarian trainers in Romania are now building on their experiences from the workshops they attended to develop a new ‘Training for Trainers of Marginalised Learners’, which will be tested in the field within Romanian County libraries before rolling the programme out across the country.

Transfer Three – UK: Using Digital Storytelling with Vulnerable and Hard-to-Reach Young People

 DigiTales was commissioned by the Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) to train staff to use digital storytelling with their residents, many of whom are young people who have faced challenges and difficulties in their lives. The SAHA approach, through its Open Talent programme, is based on a life coaching model, which emphasizes talent spotting and talent building to enable young people to make a successful transition to adult independence. SAHA sees Digital Storytelling as a powerful tool to enable young people not only to develop their creative and technical skills, but also as a means to reflect, reveal and share personal experiences that have had an impact on their lives.

Rob Swarbrick

Youth Worker Rob Swarbrick develops his digital story at Facilitator Training, London, April 2014.

As anyone who is involved in Digital Storytelling will know, it is of key importance that facilitators have themselves experienced going through a Story Circle and Storytelling workshop – as a facilitator, you need to be aware of how it feels to identify and share a story that is personal to you.

In April 2014, DigiTales ran a facilitator training workshop for SAHA staff from Yorkshire Lancashire, Essex and East Sussex and three librarian trainers from Romania also attended.The workshop was hosted by Goldsmiths, University of London and three exhausting but enjoyable days enabled each participant to produce their own digital story.

Watch Rob’s Story

A second workshop for SAHA staff was hosted by the University of Brighton in July 2014 and this was again attended by Romanian colleagues [names]. They learned a great deal from meeting the SAHA team and Brighton made quite an impression as well.

Digital Storytelling has been such a hit with SAHA’s staff that a third facilitator training workshop will run in December 2014.

Silver Stories

DigiTales is one of the 3 UK partners of the Silver Stories partnership which is led by the Universty of Brighton.  It is funded by the Lifelong Learning ‘Transfer of Innovation’ programme. DigiTales developed the Silver Stories proposal to the EC with the University of Brighton, as it builds upon our award-winning Extending Creative Practice project, which ran from 2010 – 2012.

Silver Stories explores the use of Digital Storytelling with health care professionals who are working with, or training to work with older people. The project is testing the benefits of digital storytelling as a tool for reflective learning, as an active engagement tool that will help to combat digital exclusion of active older people and as a means to stimulate memory and articulate stories that may otherwise not be told by older people.

Working with health care professionals allows DigiTales to gather new stories and to explore the potential for a new quality assured syllabus for use across the partner countries.

Extending Creative Practice

Extending Creative Practice (2010-2012)
Extending Creative Practice involved five partners from four countries exploring the use of digital storytelling as a means to reduce the digital exclusion of older people and to gather stories from across distinct settings.  DigiTales trained trainers from partner organisations in Finland, Slovenia and Romania who then went on to make digital stories with older people.  A final conference was held in Maribor, Slovenia as part of the EC Capital of Culture programme during May 2012. The evaluation of the programme can be downloaded from here.

Extending Creative Practice was selected as an example of good practice by the UK National  Agency and awarded a prize by the British Council.  Research papers addressing the themes of Extending Creative Practice have been presented at international conferences in Spain, Romania, Turkey and Portugal

DiGem (Digital Empowerment)

Digital Empowerment (DigEm)

Digem was a six country partnership based project exploring the use of digital storytelling as means to train economically marginalised groups of people with ICT skills to enable them to join the labour force. The DigiTales team developed the curricula for the project and trained all the trainers in the partner organisations.  The participating countries were Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Lithuania and Czech Republic.  Each partner went on to make stories with different community groups including asylum seekers, women, unemployed young people and older people who had lost their jobs.

In the UK, DigiTales worked with the BBC, colleagues from Goldsmiths and community groups to develop a programme of work marking the relocation of BBC activity to Media City in Salford.  Digital stories were made using archive footage from the BBC enabling local people to explore how their perception of particular events had been shaped by media representations.  DigiTales also worked with Inclusion Ventures from Jaywick to produce a portfolio of digital stories with young people from what was officially known as the most deprived town in England.

Digem was nominated by the EC as one the best ICT projects of 2012.  The guide to Digital Storytelling completed by the DigiTales Team for this project can be download here (add link through active word)

Imagine Your Future

Imagine Your Future (2008-2010)

Imagine Your Future was a British Council funded initiative designed to support young leaders from diverse communities across 13 participating countries in Europe and the Near East.  DigiTales ran digital storytelling workshops and each of the young people told a personal story describing their background and aspirations.  These stories were collected together and showcased on a website built by the British Council, celebrated at an exhibition held in participating countries and showcased at a conference in Krakow.


Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA)

 SAHA logo



DigiTales was commissioned by the Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA) to train staff to use digital storytelling with their residents, many of whom are young people who have faced challenges and difficulties in their lives. The SAHA approach, through its Open Talent programme, is based on a life coaching model, which emphasizes talent spotting and talent building to enable young people to make a successful transition to adult independence. SAHA sees Digital Storytelling as a powerful tool to enable young people not only to develop their creative and technical skills, but also as a means to reflect, reveal and share personal experiences that have had an impact on their lives.