Digital Stories

Please click the link below to download the Sustainable Flood Memories pamphlet. Drawing together the digital stories produced as part of the ESRC Sustainable Flood Memories project, the pamphlet offers further project background information, definitions, summaries of stories and guidance for story use.
Sustainable Flood Memories Pamphlet 2015


Deerhurst in flood, July 2007. Image by R.Reynolds

Digital stories

Digital Stories are 2-3 minutes of reflection accompanied by images selected by the person or people who have made the stories. These stories have been created in different ways – with individuals and in community digital storytelling workshops.  Some are oral history snippets with images supplied by the interviewee; others are crafted at the outset as stories – either as individuals or during digital storytelling workshops held in Tewkesbury, Westgate, Gloucester and Deerhurst in April and May 2014. The storytellers reflect on different aspects of experience, and in sharing the stories, we anticipate that people may take different messages from each story.


The story archive

The idea of the digital story archive is that as a collection they capture and integrate very different aspects of resilience. These range more obvious adjustments to property, to reflections on the value of community and friend networks during and after floods, and on emotional and psychological resilience – the latter perhaps less thought of, but critical in coping with floods.


Tewkesbury July 2007, Image by J.Clarke

Sharing the stories

It is important to see the stories that are produced by one community through digital media as a message or gift rather than a product or content. This is because historically communities have always shared stories, myths, narratives and anecdotes, long before media industries turned these into consumable and purchasable content. Within a marketing and communications industry it is normal to use vocabulary that frames media within an economic exchange, as a product or content, that is created to have ‘value’ economically more than socially or symbolically. Within a community context where folk stories have been passed between members for millennia, stories are given freely and without an exchange value. Social media (which although increasingly corporatized and commodified) has its origins in the early 1990s support culture of online Multi User Domains (MUDs), the expectation was that culture was free, advice was available at any time, and online groups supported each other with care and compassion. While some of that early online community building has been subsumed by the commercialisation of the Web, there is still a strong sense, especially among web users over 40 (ie Tim Berners Lee who created the Web) that the foundation of online spaces for sharing and digital media portability were as much about giving a cultural or communication gift as they were about communicating a message.

With this context in mind, we think it vital that we share a language about the digital stories that conveys the sense that they are heartfelt, thoughtfully made digital gifts being passed from one community to another. Viewed in this way the terms products or content downplay their emotional intention and frame the reception of them by a new community as ‘just another corporate message’. The language we use in introducing the stories is vital for ‘setting the tone’ that influences the responses of the audience to the stories themselves.


Adding a story

The idea is that this archive resource of digital stories can be added to by others. If you would like to produce a digital story yourself that captures your resilience story, please click the guidance here.


The permissions from the storytellers allow sharing of the stories in not-for-profit settings for learning and education. The views expressed in the stories are those of the authors and not necessarily of other organisations/ agencies involved within the project. If you are going to listen to these stories in a community setting, you will ideally need a projector and audio speakers.


One thought on “Digital Stories

  1. Pingback: Reflections on the Multi-story-Water Project at Eastville, Bristol: interweaving of community water narratives and ‘situated’ performance | City Talks Bristol

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