THOMPSON STUDIES GROUP -- Digital Storytelling Project
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Digital Storytelling Project

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What is digital storytelling?

Digital storytelling originated in Berkeley, California at the Center for Digital Storytelling.  Digital storytelling is a creative process that increases self-esteem and critical thinking, as well as oral, written, and visual communication.  The final product, a story in a participant's voice interspersed with photographs that are meaningful to the participants, serves as a way to highlight program outcomes, educate audiences about a topic, and advocate for change.

 

Why did you decide to work on a digital storytelling project?

Community organizations around the world are incorporating digital storytelling into their work because we cannot afford to lose our communities' voices.  Their voices can express their experiences and their understanding about the lives of other community members, such as youth, families and elders.  Digital storytelling values the power of story as a tool for self-discovery, reflection, community-building, education, program documentation, and advocacy.  We felt digital storytelling would be a powerful way to raise awareness about health disparities.

 

What are health disparities?

Some people in the United States are less likely to have good health care than other people.  They may also live in situations that are not as healthy as those of others.  As a result, there are big differences among individuals in terms of diseases and deaths.  We call these differences "health disparities".  Those who have health disparities are more likely to have higher rates of chronic disease and death.  Chronic diseases are those that last for a long time, like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  The digital stories created under this project are short stories of individuals who have experienced health disparities.

 

When and where did this project take place?

This digital storytelling project was implemented in the Yakima Valley (Yakima, Benton and Franklin Counties) of Washington State.  Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) Staff and key partners participated in a train-the-trainer workshop facilitated by Creative Narrations in January 2013 at the KDNA Northwest Communities Education Center in Granger, WA.  Since that time, Fred Hutch staff have facilitated digital storytelling workshops for community members.

 

Can I watch the digital stories created under this project?

Yes!  These digital stories share personal experiences with health issues like diabetes and cancer.  The stories tell the viewer what it is like to deal with a chronic disease from the perspective of someone who has few resources for healthcare, or limited access to things that help prevent disease, like healthy foods, opportunities for physical activity, access to screening tests, and other barriers. 

You can view digital stories on the Fred Hutch YouTube Channel.  

 

How can I learn more about this project?

If you would like to learn more about the digital storytelling project, or discuss the possibility of participating in a digital storytelling workshop, send us an email at EndDisparities@FredHutch.org.  

 

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Cover of digital storytelling project DVD.