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Participation depends on creative expressionParticipants in activist communities need different ways to express their concerns, perspectives, and experiences—to tell their stories to those within their own communities and to the broader world.

Stories, here, are inclusive of many different forms of expression and engagement. A story, of course, may consist of a narrative or description of an experience or event. But more broadly, storytelling includes any kind of sharing and publishing: teaching; creating artworks; collecting, exchanging, and analyzing data; sharing notes; promoting events; or simply making a web presence for a community or cause. And storytelling is a reciprocal activity—it may include responding to, critiquing, amplifying, or transforming other community members' stories in respectful ways.

Digital storytelling's opportunities also present new barriers. If an activist is unable to access a means of expression—if the storytelling medium doesn't match their perceptual, cognitive, financial, or technical needs and environment—their valuable perspectives and contributions will be potentially lost to the community. Similarly, if other members of a community are unable to perceive, understand, or engage with the stories shared, it will be difficult to build networks and catalyze movements that are both large and diverse.

The Social Justice Repair Kit's web storytelling tools will provide different ways to write, record, publish, and share stories on the web. These tools are designed from the beginning to support multiple forms of expression and interpretation. Activists will be able to write their stories or record them as audio and video. Alternative formats and scaffolds that support diverse interpretation and engagement can be layered on top; for example, automatic speech-to-text transcriptions, pictures, dictionaries, note-taking, highlighting, and text-to-speech. These tools will, in particular, support the participation of youth with learning differences within social justice communities.

Publishing and sharing stories is designed to be as simple and as low-cost as possible. Today, it's still expensive and technically-demanding to publish stories on the web—to connect with other like-minded activists, build communities, and to challenge popular assumptions. Typically, groups face a choice of either subscribing to expensive, technically complex publishing platforms (such as Drupal or WordPress) that require frequent maintenance and technical support, or using popular but proprietary and restrictive platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram when they are looking to get the word out. The SJRK web storytelling tools aim to significantly reduce the technical and financial costs of publishing autonomously on the web, and to support the sharing of costs among cooperatives that can pool together the resources of many activist groups and social justice organizations. The SJRK tools, however, will also support integration with popular web publishing tools and social media platforms.

Sketches and Design Ideas

To kickstart the co-design process, we are sketching and trying out a variety of ways to support diverse expression and engagement through storytelling, such as:

Storytelling Tool Design Process

(SJRK) Digital Storytelling Tool Design

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4 Comments

  1. Dimensions of Inclusive Story Telling. 

    All diverse voices of a wide range of  human beings needs to be heard at all levels to facilitate their inclusion and participation in all activities .The dimensions of SJTK inclusive story telling provides guidance and justification for inclusion for all in story telling.The dimensions are ;

    1. Raising the voices of all especially those at the margins of the social, economic, political and cultural set up or sectors of the society.

    2. A wide range of ways of seeing,hearing and perceiving the world.There is no standard right way of telling a story.There are many ways of telling stories.Providing guidance through illustrations and demonstrations  is to facilitate people to tell their story in their own ways.

    3. Technology is a powerful tool for equalizer and filling in the inequality gap.Enabling all users to use online spaces such as  social media spaces enables them to raise their voices ,be included and participate in all activities.

    4. Sharing stories contributes to a positive change.Reflect on experiences,raise awareness on social injustices,modify behaviours of all actors,inclusion and participation for all.
  2. My story design mock-ups .

    Guiding open ended questions accompanied by visual expressions can be added in the design mocks and tested to get responses.Examples of the questions include but not limitted to the following:

    What is the story about? what happened? How did it happen and when did it Happen ,what do you remember ? How did you feel about what happened ?

    what did you do about it? what would you want others to do about it? what do you want others to know about it ?

    All above should be accompaned by visual expressions in form of activitive pictures ,cartoons etc .Story is about sharing good and not good  experiences or none of the two.

    What is good for those with functional difficulties is good for everybody because those without functional difficulties find it easier to use and there are not excluded by A. James.

  3. Thanks James! I really like the prompts you've provided. I'd like to include these in the tool - perhaps as an optional feature - such that the storyteller can turn the prompts on or off. I also like the idea of having "activity pictures" to go along with them.

  4. You are welcome Dana.I agree with you that these should be in the tool.To expand it further,i think that graphic organizers should be integrated as a optional feature.It transforms messages into diagram or pictures.More information on this can be found onhttps://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/learning-at-home/encouraging-reading-writing/download-graphic-organizers-to-help-grade-schoolers-with-writing

    Together we make a difference.