Narratives to Life: Digital Story Telling Session
How do you find Storytelling to be impactful and crucial for the scholars?
I found my way to the Digital Storytelling methodology much in the same way that others do- I was interested in the potential to help my students develop their digital and visual literacies and I was interested in how the production of these digital stories could help me achieve that. When I participated in my first workshop I discovered that there was something much more important associated with the methodology – through digital storytelling we can create a safe space where workshop participants can share their own personal narratives. Over the past few years, as we have struggled with so much disruption around the world, I feel that having a safe space where we can find our voice and listen deeply is ever more important.
In the second run of the course, I was very fortunate that an MA student here at HKU asked to audit the course and thought that it would align well with the work being done by Vidyadhan and SDF. This work began with a pilot course in August of 2021 before we launched our full collaboration Vidyadhan. Each semester my students learn about how to make their own digital stories before facilitating workshops where they help Vidyadhan scholars script, record and assemble their own video digital stories.
How has your experience been working with Vidyadhan Scholars in India?
Working with Vidyadhan has been hugely rewarding because of the close involvement from both the workshop participants as well as the tremendous support that we get from the whole organizing team. They are with us there in each of our workshops to ensure that everything is going smoothly and to ensure that where there are elements that we can improve we find out early! Over the past 5-6 years I have worked with many Community Partner Organizations and in this way our partnership with Vidyadhan has really stood out. They take a personal interest in Vidyadhan scholars at every stage of their journey! It is tremendous to have such a strong partner to help match up our HKU students with bright and deserving young people in India.
I am always tremendously pleased to see the video productions that the Vidyadhan scholars are able to produce. They come to the process with an important perspective to share, and they achieve so much during the six weeks. Not only do they learn important digital and visual literacies that allow them to make a video production, but they have an incredible message for my students here at HKU. For many of my students the path to university was quite straightforward- for many this is always the track they have been on. Vidyadhan scholars have had to work to earn the chance to get an education, and this hunger for self-betterment shines through in their stories. It makes me feel really privileged to get to share in their stories during the final presentation.
What activities do you plan to engage in future?
When I talk to my students at HKU, and whenever I have a chance to speak directly with Vidyadhan scholars, I also emphasize that although my students are facilitating, the process is one where both sides are teaching each other. Sometimes I worry because the Vidyadhan scholars produce a tangible product in their video that we might not see as clearly just how much they have taught my students. Here in Hong Kong Indians are part of the fabric of the local community- the chance for my students to share and celebrate the stories of Vidyadhan scholars is one of the most enriching aspects of the course I teach. All of the workshop participants, both HKU students and Vidyadhan scholars leave the workshop with a greater sense of cross-cultural understanding