Over four sessions this past July, WoodGreen’s Community Connections team and a group of participants escaped the unruly summer heat in favor of some creative expression. With the assistance of Teresa Tao, Community Connections’ Group Activities Coordinator, a group of creative and curious participants descended upon WoodGreen’s Coxwell and Danforth location to uncover the new world of digital storytelling. Read on to hear about this Digital Storytelling Club Program. Enjoy!
The recent popularity of digital storytelling has provided a format for creative individuals to think outside the box, and use text, photography, video and interactive media to produce a message that resonates more than just words. With the help of Community Connections’ volunteers Midori Kurts and Sally Bockler, each week participants explored this new creative world, learning essential photography and writing techniques to further their creative expression. Each session was structured to provide a tangible knowledge of these techniques, and to test these techniques through engaging activities that emphasized integration with the local community.
Participants familiarized themselves with techniques employed by traditional Photojournalists like Dorothea Lange, and vanguard movements such as Humans of New York, finding value in both traditional and digital vehicles of storytelling. For instance Sammi, a Computer Software Engineer, drew from her experience that there is no ‘one-size fits all model’ when it comes to storytelling; in fact, the sky’s the limit! “In the Digital Storytelling Club, I learned that my photo essay can be presented in many ways, and that the Internet provides a host of free platforms where I can share my work with others.”
For other students, harnessing these techniques aided them in getting over the initial nervousness of adapting to a new realm of technology. Taeko, a Registered Massage Therapist, initially found social sharing a daunting task: “I took this course because I want to start a blog and upload pictures to share my experience with others. I have never used social media, so I found it difficult to learn on my own. This course provided me with the step by step instructions I needed in terms of learning new writing techniques, creating various types of photo essays through the use of digital tools.”
The aim of the Digital Storytelling club was to provide a collaborative, fun space chock full of valuable tools where participants could safely explore their creative side; it seems that the participants succeeded in finding just that! From field trips to Evergreen Brick works and photography shoots in WoodGreen’s local Robertson Parkette, the digital storytelling team found creative inspiration in many areas within the vibrant Toronto landscape.
We wish our participants all the best in their creative endeavors, and hope they have a great year!
Midori & Sally