AT THE HEART OF THE MATTER:
PERSONAL STORYTELLING IN A DIGITAL WORLD
(3 to 5 days)
Community Works introduced At the Heart of the Matter in spring, 2014. The storytelling approach we use is modelled after the one introduced by Story Center (formally known as Center for Digital Storytelling) storycentre.org over 20 years ago. Since then, it has found its way into many fields in North America and internationally. It has been used as a transformative resource by social service and health providers, educators, oral history researchers, and groups that are committed to building community and to social, environmental, and political change.
This process has been particularly valuable for storytellers who have been silenced because of poverty, histories of violence and oppression, gender, age, disability, and membership in marginalized populations.
But it is for storytellers of all ages and from all backgrounds. For all of us carry stories: of joy and sorrow; of the challenges we have met or are in the process of addressing; of life transitions and decisive moments; of discovery and recovery; of displacement and resettlement; of injustices and of our efforts to heal ourselves and our world from injustice…..
PLEASE NOTE: At the Heart of the Matter is not a video editing course. While we teach video software applications, the process is more closely connected to the oral storytelling tradition, participatory education, and communal art making.
Animating images and adding music to digital stories.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF PROCESS: In an At the Heart of the Matter workshop, Community Works facilitators offer:
a safe and respectful storytelling space where participants can take time to listen deeply to themselves and others, and where they can learn that it is most often our stories that best guide and nourish us - not the stories that come out of our media-saturated, consumer-driven world;
tutorials on video editing tools used by participants to create short (2-5 minutes) multi-media first person stories;
The process ends with a screening of the completed videos
It was a joy to witness how the process invited what I can only name ‘poetry’ to arise from undiscovered places within us and take shape in the world. It was like witnessing birth. Amazing! - Amy Teakle, Spiritual Care Student (Winnipeg, MB.
What I enjoyed most is what I consider to be the most difficult part of digital storytelling - the process of " finding my story". Frances' dept of knowledge, experience, advise and method of instruction were incredibly helpful and inspiring. - Sarah Story, M.A. Student/ Archival Studies & History (Winnipeg, MB.)
Thank you for letting me experience first -hand that a supportive community can exist in this day and age. Robert and Frances provided a level of welcoming that I have found rare. The facilitators and the members of the group were genuine examples of how 'Community Works'. - Jen (Winnipeg, MB.)
What you did was very emotionally supportive without going into group therapy. You were both present and available for what participants needed. And gentle without being coddling. It felt as if everyone was 'in the right place at the right time' doing something important.
- Janine Tougas, Coordinator, Conteurs du Manitoba, International Storytelling Festival (Winnipeg, MB.)
Learning and crafting the process with the wonderful teaching and assistance of Frances and Robert was rich and exciting. My workshop mates and the venue were serendipitous pleasures. - Joanne Oldring Sydiaha, Artist and sometimes Poet (Saskatoon, SK.)
Frances did an excellent job of teasing out the real story... both in setting the right tone in the room, and in her questions and work with people individually. The hands on nature of the workshop -the fact that everyone had a completed project at the end - was very meaningful and important. -Liz James, Student (Saskatoon, SK.)
The help and insights of the facilitators and the sharing circles definitely helped the process along. It was a great learning experience for me and I hope you allow more teens and younger youth to experience this also. - Taniesha McConachy, Gr.9 Student (Winnipeg, MB.)
I appreciated your patience, skill and respect for all the participants. You were willing to accept whatever we had to offer with grace and gratitude. I loved it. – Candace Savage, Author (Saskatoon, SK.)
The facilitators were skilled and caring; they went 'above and beyond' to provide us with a great learning and processing experience. My story-telling companions were empathic and insightful, and the quality of their lives added much to the group and to my learning. Most of all, the workshop helped me further integrate and "make meaning" of my sister's death. It was a wonderful experience. - Sr. Veronica Dunne, D.Min
The opportunity to learn a new style of storytelling in a group setting was very enjoyable. I feel that the group setting not only facilitated each person's work through their own stories, but also helped each person see the diversity of stories that could be shared in this format, and the diversity of possible products. The support provided by the Community Works facilitators was exceptional. - Hilary Gough, Director of Community Development, Upstream (Saskatoon, SK.)
The emotional support offered to participants was outstanding and much appreciated. Frances and Robert were extremely sensitive to my story and had such a sensitive understanding of what I was trying to convey. That was very special to me. Thank you so much for this rich learning experience. - Sonya Lundstrom, Amma/ Grandmother (Winnipeg, MB.)
This workshop was a gift for life. I will think about this experience from time to time forever. One winds up telling at least one pivotal story from one's own life. It can't help but be rewarding, compelling and enlightening in many ways. I'm grateful and honoured to have been able to participate in it. - Rachel Kane, Singer/Songwriter (Winnipeg, MB.)
Frances and Robert are amazing at supporting and helping you get to the heart of your story. Even when it was painful I felt safe and secure. There was a sense of sharing and community in the workshop.... And of bonding in a very real and tangible way. - Ginny Eckert - Volunteer Coordinator, West Broadway Community Ministry, (Winnipeg, MB.)
We were encouraged to feel what we needed to feel. I know for myself the journey was transformational. – Glenda Knoll, Oak Table Volunteer Co-ordinator (Winnipeg, MB.)
DELIVERY OPTIONS: Community Works offers two options for At the Heart of the Matter workshops:
Public workshops with open registration. These workshops are delivered over 3-4 days. Participants are invited to explore first person stories that are particularly meaningful to them, their families, and their cultural and geographic communities.
Workshops delivered through partnerships with agencies, organizations, faith-based groups, community groups, and First Nations. These workshops can be stand-alone offerings, or can be incorporated into larger projects that explore issues relevant to the group’s mandate.
We provide start to finish project planning and development services, including assistance with community engagement strategies and fundraising through proposal development.
Why Community Works is guided by Story Center's approach