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    Introduction to Digital Stories

    The following stories were produced during April 2021 in workshops held over three days facilitated by Joseph Odhiambo (Nairobi), Kelvin Gwuma (Chavakali) and Scola Leuka (Loita). Tricia Jenkins from Digitales and Jess Ruddock from Bournemouth University also offered support remotely from Portugal and the UK. Post production was managed by Joseph Odhiambo, and Joseph and Kelvin provided the subtitles for the stories.

    On our blog, you can read accounts from one of the facilitators (Kelvin) and one of our storytellers (Alan) reflecting on their experiences of the workshops. Also on the blog is a write up of a session where Tricia and Marita outlined some of the main principles of the digital storytelling method. We have produced a toolkit which details how we adapted the digital storytelling workshops for online delivery because of the impact of the COVID pandemic. This can be found in the Resources section of the website.

    In the stories that follow you will hear personal accounts of the participants’ reading lives and journeys, from non-readers to reluctant readers to individuals empowered by their reading. Many of the storytellers reflect on the influence of family and community, and issues around accessing reading materials. The stories also reflect the local traditions, languages and cultural norms of the different locations where the workshops took place, featuring songs and tales passed down through generations, and capturing images and sounds of the surrounding environment.

    Each of the stories is the result of hard work and application on the part of our storytellers and the facilitators who supported them. Behind the stories also lies a process whereby the group worked together to discuss and explore the role of reading in their lives, and how technology increasingly shapes and influences our reading and the stories we share. While the stories reflect a wide range of experiences in terms of age, educational background, access to technology etc, they also offer insights into underrepresented groups we wanted to focus on for this project, namely women readers, and people with disabilities.

    We hope that you will enjoy viewing the stories and reading the participants’ biographies which help to provide a context for their choice of story and the choices they made in how they wanted to tell that story. Subtitles have been added to the stories by our facilitators to enhance accessibility, you can also select automated captions if viewing on YouTube. Please do leave comments (on the website or on YouTube) as this can be a great way for storytellers to feel connected to their audience.

    In the stories that follow most of the images and sounds have been created by the storytellers either during the workshops or drawing on family and community resources. Where images or sounds found online have been used, we have taken every care to ensure that they are referenced and attributed. If anyone takes exception to the use of any of this content, we will take it down upon request.

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