How We Started
DigiTales began life as the transnational arm 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. For the transnational project, Hi8us actively sought international organisations with a similar ethos, and, using digital storytelling as our common platform, engaged partners in the Netherlands, Finland, Greece, Slovakia and GermanY.
Hi8us Projects worked closely with these partners, running workshops with participants from an extraordinary diverse range of backgrounds. Using the digital storytelling method, as originated by the Center For Digital Storytelling, 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.
Malika Mehdaoui who works at a women’s centre in Amsterdam, took part in the Zina project.
“I was selected by the women’s centre to join the workshop and had very little experience of using computers before I took part. The most rewarding aspect was listening to others, telling a story that was burning in my heart and reducing it to a powerful short text, all in Dutch. I would like to assist with running the workshop in our centre next time, and could help to create an intimate safe ambience for women to open up in the group and not to be afraid to join in. A lot of women – especially those from an Islamic background – are afraid to join in activities where media (video, photos) has a role.”
The DigiTales legacy reached far and wide since its humble beginnings in a BBC hosted workshop in Cardiff in January 2006. The ITM workshops produced over eighty films, hosted countless screenings in communities and provided material for mainstream television channels from BBCi to YLE, the Finnish national public broadcaster. DigiTales 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 institute 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.