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Community-Based Multiliteracies and Digital Media Projects

Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities


Edited By Heather M. Pleasants and Dana E. Salter

Within community-based digital literacies work, a fundamental question remains unanswered: Where are the stories and reflections of the researchers, scholars, and community workers themselves? We have learned much about contexts, discourses, and the multimodal nature of meaning making in literacy and digital media experiences. However, we have learned very little about those who initiate, facilitate, and direct these community-based multiliteracies and digital media projects. In Community-Based Multiliteracies & Digital Media Projects: Questioning Assumptions and Exploring Realities, contributors discuss exemplary work in the field of community-based digital literacies, while providing an insightful and critical perspective on how we begin to write ourselves into the stories of our work. In doing so, the book makes a powerful contribution to digital literacies praxis and pedagogy – within and outside of community-based contexts.
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Chapter 2: Digital Storytelling and the Politics of Doing Good: Exploring the Ethics of Bringing Personal Narratives into Public Spheres


← 20 | 21 → Chapter 2

Digital Storytelling and the Politics of Doing Good: Exploring the Ethics of Bringing Personal Narratives into Public Spheres

Amy Hill


• A teenager from rural Northern California creates a digital story about his former life as a gang member, which features photos of some of his friends. Though the storyteller doesn’t mention the names of these friends, their parents threaten legal action against the organization that sponsored the workshop.

• A young woman in Nepal agrees to attend a digital storytelling workshop and share her recent experience of surviving severe abuse at the hands of her husband. After participating for a day, she drops out, claiming that a spirit appeared in her dream and threatened to harm her if she continued.

• A man in South Africa creates a digital story about his love and respect for his sister-in-law, who passed away some years prior to the workshop. Viewers at a local community screening condemn the piece for indirectly implicating the storyteller’s brother—husband of the deceased—as being responsible for her HIV-related death.

I come to the world of participatory media—and specifically to digital storytelling—first and foremost as a woman who grew up in a painfully ← 21 | 22 → unstable and sometimes abusive family environment. During my early professional career, I sought out new means for shifting public dialogue about violence, and I eagerly took up the tools and practices developed at...

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