Submitted by: Alexios Brailas
Community digital storytelling is a form of action research.
Stories can effectively communicate different perspectives.
We created a model for interventions that combine digital storytelling, narrative inquiry, and facilitated peer-to-peer work to create a space for collective empowerment.
Narrative inquiry and digital storytelling can play a critical role in creating educational spaces for peer support, connection, and encouragement, particularly at school. Storytelling offers opportunities for students to appreciate and recreate the narratives of their own lives adding the value of experience and maturity.
Digital storytelling can be used to help practitioners and educators unearth the voices of vulnerable groups and underrepresented communities.
“Narrative practice promotes the idea that there are no problematic people but rather dysfunctional personal constructions, or cognitive schemata, about how people are supposed to act in specific situations. Grand cultural narratives have impact on people and determine their social behavior. The task of a narrative practitioner working with a community is to explore the dominant stories and unearth the neglected narratives that influence human behavior, consciously or unconsciously.”
We propose a model that combines digital storytelling with narrative practice and group work to create an experiential learning space for collective empowerment. We developed this model based on an educational intervention aiming to raise students’ awareness of bullying and its consequences.
How Did A Community Psychology Perspective Inform Your Work?
For participants to question implicit personal or social narratives, they need to be engaged in a collective inquiry led by facilitators who adopt an evocative, appreciative, and technology-informed community practice.
Sharing the stories in a group is a critical, humanizing, process. The facilitated peer-to-peer interaction that follows offers a rich set of different perspectives and constructive feedback from the peers to be incorporated into the new story versions.
Twenty-one students from a public high school in Athens, Greece participated in February 2016 for two months. We adopted a qualitative case study approach combined with narrative inquiry. Through writing, sharing, and rewriting comic strip stories, students were provided with the opportunity to better realize the complex and multifaceted nature of bullying-related behaviors. The aim of our exploration was not merely to document the intervention and provide a rich description, but to build a theoretical model that would inform and enhance future practice.
- Rather than being considered a distraction or annoyance, personal narratives can help the individual and the community prevent or overcome problematic situations.
- The process of enhancing and enriching personal narratives is a concrete tinkering process, whereby the mind improves digital stories and releases sequel versions.
- Participants came to recognize their own unspoken voices and hidden narratives in the virtual mirror that is created through the sharing of all the group stories.
What Does This Mean For?
Practice: Multimodal and embodied methods help make the complexity of lived experience more visible and tangible. By sharing stories and empowering narratives, we can establish a more appreciative community culture.
Social Action: Community digital storytelling helps participants rewrite their own stories more constructively, internalizing more positive narratives and more confident interactions with the world outside themselves. Storytelling in the context of an appreciative culture becomes an emancipatory practice, a form of social activism.
Original Citation: Brailas, A. (2021). Digital storytelling and the narrative turn in psychology: Creating spaces for collective empowerment. Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 12(4).
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