Hosted at the University of East London, University Square Stratford, Salway Road, London, E15 1NF on 11th and 12th July 2017

Untold – An Un-conference about Digital Storytelling brought together academics and practitioners for two-days to creatively explore and interrogate issues arising in digital storytelling practice and theory.  It was a cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary programme It was the biennial coming together of the international Digital Storytelling community and included representation from Europe, USA, India, South Africa and Australia.


Untold offered:

  • Space to share, create, brainstorm and develop ideas
  • A longer collaborative process helping to develop communities of practice over a number of months
  • Better and more informed interaction at the event
  • The development of concrete outputs, such as project ideas and publication proposals, throughout the process
  • Blended format, both online and face to face meeting

As digital storytelling methodologies become more widely used, with increasingly diverse participant groups, practitioners and academics will benefit from exploration and discussion of the ethics of personal storytelling, gathering and sharing work; understanding storytelling practices within the wider methodology, and specific issues that arise from DS application within particular disciplines.

To encourage cross-fertilisation between disciplines and approaches, Untold created a space to share theory and practice across a variety of digital storytelling contexts. 

The innovative programme was broken down as follows:

Phase One – Searching (March to June 2017) – online

This saw the establishment of six themed groups – or ‘demes’ – consisting of approximately 15 people.  Each group had a facilitator who coordinated and guided online discussion around a particular theme. ‘Deme’ members contributed actively to the discussion by for example: Suggesting reading, sharing workshop experiences or offering commentary. Each ‘deme’ was challenged to develop an agenda and programme for their contribution to the second and third phases of Untold.

Summative discussions from the demes can be seen on the graphic illustrations from Sandra Howgate here.


Phase Two  – Exploring (July 2017 – Day one 11th July) face to face

In the morning groups converged under the guidance of the ‘deme’ facilitator to consider emergent topics and review issues identified through the searching phase. The afternoon session allowed the sharing of work with colleagues from across the international DS community. .It provided a space to showcase the interrogation of practical and theoretical issues explored over the past four months.


Phase Three  – Sharing (July 2017 – Day two 12th July) face to face

The second day extended into an Open Space session where participants could work together to develop new projects around particular themes. External participants were invited to this session and the day closed with a contribution from four external critical friends.  Sandra’s image from the final session of the session can be seen here.


Post “un-conference” – Extending Collaboration

The possibilities range from publication in academic journals through to new workshops.

Untold was hosted by University of East London and led by Mark Dunford (Associate Dean and a Director of Digitales) and Polly Rodgers (Research Officer and Associate at Digitale).
It was overseen by an international steering committee consisting of Camelia Crisan (Senior Lecturer Faculty of Communication and Public Relations (FCRP), National University for Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Bucharest, Romania), Dr Mark Dunford (Associate Dean, School of Arts and Digital Industries, UEL), Dr  Daniela Gachago (Senior Lecturer, Centre for Innovative Educational Technology, Cape Peninsula University of Technology), Pip Hardy (Co-founder – Patient Voices), Professor Grete Jamissen (Section for Multimedia, Oslo and Akershus University College), Dr Cathy Jaynes (Nurse Researcher and Educator, Denver, Colorado) Ragnhild Larsson (Journalist & Storyteller, Konvoj Produktion), Dr Stephen Maddison (Director of Research, School of Arts and Digital Industries, UEL),Polly Rodgers (Untold Convenor, UEL), Tony Sumner (Co-founder – Patient Voices)