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

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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.