How We Started
DigiTales began life as the transnational element of Inclusion Through Media (ITM), a three year, multi-project, multi-partner participatory media project funded by EU Community Initiative EQUAL and led by Hi8us Projects Ltd. It ran from September 2004 – December 2007 Hi8us established a Digital Storytelling platform and recruited partners the Netherlands, Finland, Greece, Slovakia and Germany.
Hi8us worked closely with these partners, running workshops with participants from an extraordinarily diverse range of backgrounds. Using the Digital Storytelling method, as originated by Storycenter, participants developed story ideas through ‘story circles’, drama, photography, drawing, music, video clips and narrative.
Rudolf Karafiát ran the Slovakian Living Together project and felt the positive impact of the workshop in his Roma community,
“At the Krížová Ves Workshop, 50 children were shouting outside the cultural centre, wanting a camera and wanting to be a star. They watched the movies together with their parents at home under the Tatras, and then in the Slovak state radio broadcasting company building in Bratislava. These films were a big influence in the communities; talking is always the beginning. Culture, arts and entertainment is as important as good healthcare, education and the participation of Romas in the local governments of places where they live.”
The DigiTales legacy reached far and wide since its humble beginnings in a workshop at the BBC in Cardiff in January 2006. The early workshops produced over eighty films, hosted countless screenings in communities and provided material for mainstream television channels from BBC to YLE, the Finnish national public broadcaster. DigiTales stories have also been exhibited in a variety of public spaces from the major international policy conference Creative Clusters in Newcastle to DigiTales at de Balie, a major cultural institution in Amsterdam. A series of films were also screened on the Berlin underground trains in June 2006 during the football World Cup, as part of a scriptwriting competition based around the theme of Integration, organised by BGZ (Berlin International Cooperation Agency). In June 2007, some 150 people from across Europe gathered at FACT in Liverpool for a conference and exhibition to mark the success of the pilot project and lay the roots for the DigiTales company.