Memory Box – Sharing Stories of Old Newcastle
Since September 2012 I’ve been working with Flo-Culture on an innovative new iPad based digital storytelling and digital inclusion project called Memory Box. The project is funded through NIACE and is also in partnership with Newcastle City Libraries and Newcastle City Learning.
Workshops with groups of older people aged 65 years and over started in October 2012 in 3 libraries across the city; City, Gosforth and High Heaton. Each workshop attracted a range of different older people, all with varying interests in learning about iPad technology. Over a six-work period, I worked with over twenty older people and collected sixteen digital stories, all produced on iPads inspired by memories of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
During the workshops we shared many stories about Newcastle using museum handling objects and archival photographs from Newcastle City Libraries Local Studies collection. Groups were also able to get into the stores at Newcastle City Library and were shown around the extensive collections held by the library and to gather visual material for their stories. It was amazing to see the range of collections held by the library and reminded me what a huge job digitising library and museum collections is!
Yet again, what I love about the process is not knowing what stories you’re going to get at the end of the workshops and every single story was different. Stories ranged in theme from memories of working as a lorry driver for the Coop, to memories of seeing the Wizard of Oz at the Heaton Cinema. Stories also ranged in time periods, some memories dated back to the 1930s and 40s to more modern memories such as seeing the Millennium Bridge be put in place and volunteering at Stepney Bank Stables.
Here’s a sneaky peek at one of the digital stories produced in one of the workshops at City Library.
Through the use of reflections books, we were able to capture participants thoughts,
feelings and comments about their learning journey over the six week workshop. Participants were asked to reflect on their enjoyment of the sessions, whether they learned anything new, about how creative they felt and what social value there had been about working together as a group.
“It was a privilege to be allowed into the archives and strong room at the City Library. We are bonding more as a group which is very satisfying.”
“It was so interesting to hear about people’s experiences and take a trip down memory lane. This has stimulated many hidden memories.”
“Very enjoyable and thought provoking session. Loved the introduction to an iPad.”
As an established digital storyteller, I found it really exciting to be able to try running digital storytelling workshops using iPad technology. Although there were many frustrations and challenges at times with the technology, I really enjoyed using the iPads with the group. I don’t think at this stage tablet technology is going to completely replace Apple or PC laptops/desktops to produce digital stories in workshops, but I believe it is certainly becoming a viable option for running digital storytelling workshops with groups.
Memory Box is now moving into it’s second phase. Flo-Culture are about to launch the iPhone/iPad app “Memory Box” which has been produced by Ideonic. An exhibition will also be launched at Newcastle City Library from 19th-21st Feb 2013 to celebrate the first phase of the project. The next phase of workshops will also be starting soon so if you are interested in taking part please contact Newcastle Library Services on 0191 277 4100.
To view all the stories that I facilitated as part of Phase 1 check them out here.