Digital Storytelling @ Your Library

DePaul University faculty and librarians came together last week to learn from experts from StoryCenter how to “conceive and create their digital story.” By bringing “digital storytelling” techniques into their teaching, research, or efforts to engage DePaul community members with library programs, workshop participants made use of personal narration, photography and multi-media tools and techniques to craft stories that may be delivered as part of films, interactive web sites, podcasts, and other digital media. As Roshanna Sylvester, Associate Professor of History and Director of Studio CHI, said: “Digital storytelling is a powerfully expressive multimedia practice that is being embraced in a wide variety of contexts, from classrooms and libraries to newsrooms, health care facilities, community centers and corporate boardrooms, and the founders of StoryCenter have pioneered a seven-step method that provides the scaffolding needed to get started. Studio CHI is thrilled to partner with the library and StoryCenter to provide more opportunities for DePaul faculty and staff to become digital storytellers, and share their knowledge and skills with students and others in our community.”

While aspects of digital storytelling may be familiar to many of us through widely-viewed programs such as the documentaries of filmmaker Ken Burns, many of our students are also increasingly familiar with the narratives now routinely found in interactive “photo-essays” in major newspapers and media outlets, on social media platforms such as Tumblr, and on popular podcasts such as “Serial.”

Participants in this month’s “Digital Storytelling Workshop,” and in a similar workshop to be offered in December 2018, were recruited by DePaul’s digital scholarship center, Studio CHI, which is co-sponsoring the professional development program with the DePaul University Library. The workshop is taking place in the recently-renovated John T. Richardson Library, where the Studio 1581 media studios provide support for faculty and students wishing to create audio, video, and multi-media projects as part of their academic work.

“Like many of my colleagues, I am used to writing as a slow, professional, and solitary activity. What was so satisfying about the digital storytelling workshop was how it inverted these norms: the digital storytelling process is fast, it’s personal, and while you are in the end responsible for creating your story, you are also getting and giving lots of feedback and feel connected to the stories of other participants in the workshop. Plus, after three intense days, you have a finished story! It’s a rare and gratifying creative experience that I’d highly recommend.” – Lisa Dush, Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse (WRD)

StoryCenter (formerly known as the Center for Digital Storytelling) is based in Berkeley, California, and has worked with organizations around the world to “explore how digital media tools could be used to empower personal storytelling,” and to train “community activists, educators, health and human services agencies, business professionals, and artists” how to make use of those tools to amplify the power of personal voice in the service of creating positive change in today’s media-rich social and political environment. You can find the “story” of StoryCenter at:

The DePaul University Library and Studio CHI collaborate frequently on projects and programs related to digital humanities and digital scholarship across the university, including innovative teaching and learning projects, research initiatives such as Reading Chicago Reading, and faculty development workshops and other digital scholarship services.



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