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Meeting in the Story Circle

Community Works introduced At the Heart of the Matter in the spring of  2014. The storytelling approach we use is guided by the approach introduced by Story Center in the 1990's (formerly known as Center for Digital Storytelling) . 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. 

Digital storytelling has been particularly valuable for storytellers from communities that have been marginalized because of poverty, culture and race, histories of violence and oppression, gender, and disability, It provides storytellers with the space and the tools with which to tell their stories in new ways and to amplify their story voices.


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…..

In At the Heart of the Matter workshops, 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; 


North End Women’s Centre had a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Community Works on a project commemorating the legacy of residential school.  They guided us in the “heart” work of storytelling and the results were amazing.

—  Tracy Wark, Program Manager, Community Development & Engagement Program, North End Women’s Centre

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 socially-engaged art. 


In this workshop participants:

  • Learn the components of effective storytelling

  • Explore first-person stories in a facilitated story circle

  • Write and record a short story script (250 - 500 words)

  • Gather/create images and music/sounds

  • Learn storyboarding and WeVideo video editing


The workshop will end with a screening of participants’ digital stories.


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.


  • Custom 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.   


  • Home and Community

  • Our Connection to the Earth

  • Let Justice Roll

  • Gender and Identity

  • Voices of the Grandparents


Other workshop themes can be tailored to the interests of your group or organization.

We provide start to finish project planning and development services, including assistance with community engagement strategies and fundraising through proposal development.

Animating images and adding music to digital stories.

Click below to read why Community Works is guided by Story Center's approach.

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