The creation of personal stories was a part of the Digital Storytelling curriculum last year at KASK School of Arts. Students were given total freedom, in a golden opportunity to tell the story they had always wanted to tell. The only restriction was, unsurprisingly, that they had to use the storytelling opportunities the internet provides them. The following projects are a testimony to the creativity of our students.
In this personal story project, Julie Rommelaere interviews musicians, as the name suggests, on a roof. Moreover, she did not just interview any artist. Some of the most promising acts of the moment, she gathered on a roof. We are talking Blackwave., TheColorGrey, Tout Va Bien, RHEA,... The focus of the interviews is put upon the hopes and dreams of young artists who are on the verge of making it big. They also get the chance to do a "roof out" to another artist they respect and want the world to know about. The result is a fantastic website, where many great stories of equally great artists are told. YouTube is the go to platform for Julie, as young people and musicians meet each other there.
This Facebook group has quite the noble cause. It aims to connect the people of Leuven in a positive environment, where they can rationally talk about measures to make their city a better place. The group, as Wies himself explains, wants to avoid politics and commercialism, which has contributed to the positive vibe in the group. There is no shouting nor negativity, as is often the case in many internet communities nowadays. (text continues after picture)
For us, it was a pleasant surprise to see random people brainstorm and work together online this respectfully. Make Leuven Great Again, therefore, not only is a great Facebook group, it could also be a precedent for Facebook groups in the future, that want to make the world - or their city - a better place. Wies was not merely the community manager, he also was the storyteller as he made vlogs, wrote blogs, and was the main character on a mission to bring the ideas to the city hall.
Louise De Groote made a short film - her very first one - about a family, consisting of a father, a mother, and their three sons, who are all passionate about surfing. Some members of the family can't be at home often. The father has to work away from home regularly, and the oldest son of the family, Loïc, started studying in Ghent. However, through the call of the sea, Loïc and his father return to their family more often, whenever the tides are favourable for surfers. Surfing thus is the one holy thing that gathers the family again. Definitely check out this professionaly made human interest gem. Louise won an award at the 2017 Ride on short film festival with her documentary.
Flore's personal stories build upon the idea that birthmarks are the reminders of a person's "past life". Various cultures, for example hinduism, believe in reincarnation. After death, a person's spirit transgresses into another body. Birthmarks, then, tell us something about the past lives our spirits experienced. Flore tried to "discover" how these birthmarks came about. For example, the story about how someone "earned" a birthmark on his wrist. The person was throwing stones in the water, when one stone magically backfired onto his/her wrist. This occurence was witnessed only by the person and his mother, which created a special bond between them. ReMARKable Stories is an incredibly romantic take on the weird phenomenon of birthmarks and gives people the opportunity to create stories, starting from their own bodies.
Jens Martens created his own Youtube channel, where he plays games based upon compelling storytelling, rather than exciting gameplay. He accompanies his footage by making remarks on what is, or could be happening in the game story-wise. This, he combines with stories about his own life. The gameplay and his stories have a connection each week. For example, whenever he plays a horror game, he would add another video later that week, in which he tells his own horror story. This happened more often in the salad days of his channel, when he used it for the personal story project. Nowadays, he tells less stories, but he still posts great gameplay videos.
On this blog, photographer Frank Ostyn collects personal stories of the Palestinian diaspora, i.e. people who left their home country. Frank interviews them, in an attempt to challenge the public's perception on the on-going war between Palestine and Israel, and their stereotypes about migration. Their stories are recollected through long reads and expanded video interviews, which is understandable, knowing how complex the feelings of these Palestinians living abroad are. Hilmi Dabbagh, for example, lives in Australia. He feels at home there, though he still feels connected to Palestine as well, because he has difficulties coping with the injustice the people of his homeland endure. We would also recommend above interview with a Palestinian and an Israeli. This blog is great to get a different perspective on the politically difficult situation of Palestine.
In honour of the 50 years anniversary of the Scouts association Graalridders-Gudrun, Stef Heungens created this website. On it, various stories of the past and present of the association are gathered, and both current and past members can contribute to the website. What striked us at first, is that the age of the writers is never mentioned. However, this contributes to the idea that the association Graalridders-Gudrun is one continuous group of people, who will always be connected through their bond with the Scouts. Therefore, Stef's project is a beautiful idea, that combines nostalgia and friendship, to show people the beauty of being in an association.
Sarah Mikolajczak made various small stop motion scenes to support her personal story, Oak Tree Island, which focusses on a family (her family) that builds their own community, far away from the troubles of society. The story is an hommage to her grandmother, who taught Sarah everything there is to know in life.
In the first chapter of her story, Sarah introduces each of her characters with a stop motion scene. For example, the main character, Sara (what a coincidence!), is introduced by a scene of her tripping over and doing a frontflip.
Her uncle is introduced through a horrible accident:
Her stop motion videos are quite detailed and above all, adorable!
These are some examples of personal stories our students made. Through the many things they learned about digital storytelling in the KASK Digital Storytelling Postgraduate, they were able to come up with these creative methods to tell their personal stories. If you want to keep up with all things Digital Storytelling, fill in the form below to receive our newsletter!