Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

‘Untold – an Un-conference about digital storytelling’

Posted on behalf of Polly Rodgers,

University of East London, University Square Stratford, Salway Road, London, E15 1NF

11th and 12th July 2017


Untold – An Un-conference about Digital Storytelling will bring together academics and practitioners for two-days to creatively explore and interrogate issues arising in digital storytelling practice and theory.  It is a cross disciplinary and interdisciplinary programme.

An Unconference offers:

  • Space to share, create, brainstorm and develop ideas

  • A longer collaborative process helping to develop communities of practice over a number of months

  • Better and more informed interaction at the event

  • The development of concrete outputs, such as project ideas and publication proposals, throughout the process

  • Blended format, both online and face to face meeting

Digital storytelling refers to a short form of digital media production that allows people to share aspects of their life story. Digital Stories can be comprised of photographs, video footage and audio voiceover, and typically last between 2 and 3 minutes. Each film tells a story written and narrated by the teller.

Call for Participants

We are now recruiting academics and practitioners who will be willing to participate actively in the development and delivery of Untold. Participants will identify, explore and interrogate issues that arise in digital storytelling practice from a range of perspectives. All contributions are welcome.


Digital Storytelling is increasingly popular as a learning, participation and empathy-raising tool in higher education, health care and civic engagement. The experiences and observations of academics and practitioners working in these areas will inform a wider understanding of the challenges, impact and future practice of applied digital storytelling.

As digital storytelling methodologies become more widely used, with increasingly diverse participant groups, practitioners and academics will benefit from exploration and discussion of: the ethics of personal storytelling, gathering and sharing work; understanding storytelling practices within the wider methodology; and specific issues that arise from DS application within particular disciplines.

Untold is designed to share theory and practice across a variety of digital storytelling contexts.  We will encourage cross-fertilisation between disciplines and approaches.

Invitation to participate / process

We invite academics, practitioners working with digital storytelling and others with an interest in the area to participate in Untold as a member of one of five themed sub-groups. We would particularly welcome interested contributors who are looking to incorporate Digital Storytelling into their work.

Our phased programme is broken down as follows:

Phase One – Searching (March to June 2017) – online

This will see the establishment of five themed groups – or ‘demes’ – consisting of approximately 15 people.  Each group has a facilitator who will coordinate and guide on-line discussion around a particular theme. ‘Deme’ members are expected to contribute actively to discussion by for example: Suggesting reading, sharing workshop experiences or offering commentary. Our expectation is this will require approximately 1 hour per week, but this will vary across the searching phase. Each ‘deme’ will be required to develop an agenda and programme for their contribution for the second and third phases of Untold.

  • Health and Digital Storytelling

  • Digital Storytelling in Higher Education

  • Ethics and Digital Storytelling

  • Storytelling Practices within DS

  • Civic Engagement and DS

Each ‘deme’ will have two coordinators that will manage the discussion.

Phase Two  – Exploring (July 2017 – Day one 11th July) face to face

A one-day workshop hosted at UEL. In the morning groups will converge under the guidance of the ‘deme’ facilitator to consider emergent topics and review issues identified through the searching phase. In the afternoon there will be an Open Space session to encourage cross-fertilisation of themes. The shape and nature of the morning sessions will be determined by the ‘deme’.

Phase Three  – Sharing (July 2017 – Day two 12th July) face to face

A one-day plenary where each of the five ‘demes’ leads a 90-minute session to showcase their interrogation of the practical and theoretical issues explored over the past four months. We encourage creative and participatory sessions outside the limits of traditional academic papers. External participants will be invited to this session.

Post “un-conference” – Extending Collaboration

The possibilities range from publication in academic journals through to new  workshops.

Applying to join the Unconference

To apply to join an UnTold ‘deme’, please submit:

  • A 120 word summary of who you are and what you do

  • A 250 word summary saying which ‘deme’ you would like to join, and why. This should identify key challenges and questions posed by the selected theme and include appropriate references

Deadline for submission of proposals is 9am UK time on the Thursday 1st December. Late submissions will not be accepted.

To submit an application, please visit https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=dst2017

Successful applicants will be informed by Thursday 15th December.

Untold is organised by University of East London.  It is overseen by an international steering committee consisting of Camelia Crisan (Senior Lecturer Faculty of Communication and Public Relations (FCRP), National University for Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Bucharest, Romania), Dr Mark Dunford (Associate Dean, School of Arts and Digital Industries, UEL), Dr  Daniela Gachago (Senior Lecturer, Centre for Innovative Educational Technology, Cape Peninsula University of Technology), Pip Hardy (Co-founder – Patient Voices), Professor Grete Jamissen (Section for Multimedia, Oslo and Akershus University College), Dr Cathy Jaynes (Nurse Researcher and Educator, Denver, Colorado) Ragnhild Larsson (Journalist & Storyteller, Konvoj Produktion), Dr Stephen Maddison (Director of Research, School of Arts and Digital Industries, UEL), Polly Rodgers (Untold Convenor, UEL), Tony Sumner (Co-founder – Patient Voices)

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