Eight participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America met for three days at Deutsche Welle to put their personal focus on the theme of this year's conference "The Future of Growth – Economic Values and the Media".
Do problems between Christians and Muslims affect relations between the relatives and friends of Nigerian woman, Mercy Abang? What connects film legend Indiana Jones and Kenyan blogger and young entrepreneur, Mark Kaigwa? Answers to these and other questions are revealed in short films created during a workshop on digital storytelling presented at the 2013 Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, Germany. The workshop was hosted by Germany's Grimme Institute, a research and training center for media culture and communication policy.
In cooperation with a regional government-funded project called North Rhine-Westphalia thinking sustainably (in German "NRW denkt nach(haltig)"), eight sponsored participants from Africa, Asia and Latin America met for three days at Deutsche Welle prior to the annual conference to put their personal focus on the theme of this year's Global Media Forum, "The Future of Growth – Economic Values and the Media".
The essence of good storytelling
Before they arrived, the eight didn't know exactly what to expect. All they’d been told was to bring along photographs and stories from home. That's precisely the idea behind digital storytelling. "The principle is based on reducing complex issues down to one core message," says workshop leader Guido Kowalski from the Grimme Institute. A personal touch is "the essential basic ingredient" of any goodstory, he says, because that is the only way to connect personal experience to general situations. Under the guidance of Kowalski and Hungarian co-trainer Sarolta Berke, the workshop participants were introduced to this contemporary form of storytelling in an almost playful way. It wasn't long before everyone's heads were full of ideas and images they wanted to capture in digital format. The technical side also wasn't much of a problem, given the professional broadcasting facilities available and the trainers' expert help - although some of the participants felt a bit nervous using a microphone for the first time.
A wealth of ideas and variety
The trainees produced eight very different digital stories, but they shared one thing in common. All used autobiographical themes to reflect global issues, such as the planet's future, whethersustainable entrepreneurship works and ways to combat corruption. On Monday, June 17th, three of the projects were presented in the conference workshop, which was hosted by the Grimme Institute in cooperation with Hungarian digital storytelling expert Dávid Bán, and moderated by journalist Priya Bathe. Mercy Abang, representing the eight invited trainees, joined the panelists while her story was shown. Entitled "What Matters", and using the examples of her friends of various faiths, it impressively contradicts common perceptions about the impact of religious conflict in Nigeria. "What binds us is stronger than what the world thinks divides us," says Abang. "What matters is what unites us and what Nigeria will look like in the future."
And what do Mark Kaigwa and Indiana Jones have in common? Follow the link to find out: