A workshop about breaking the silence with the use of visual and digital storytelling, 4 May 2019, Turku, Finland (organized by StepEurope and University of Turku)

By Mohammad Momeni

Telling life stories floats in every scenes of life. There is no need to pay attention, your life is already a story as well as mine. We are connected through the story that is named life. We tell stories because we enjoy being heard and we like to listen to people’s stories because they mirror our experiences. Rapid technological developments make it already late to employ just words to communicate and we are already more complicated that texts by themselves can express our emotions and thoughts. Emerging new literacies like digital, information or emotional ones as well as advancements in technology have led us to search for a new form of communication. Digital storytelling is ideal for the social media world we now dwell. It is as an effective tool that enables people to express their voice to a world-wide audience. Digital storytelling let us conceive, create and share personal stories and it gives us a chance to ponder into our personal experiences. Through such activities, we share an elegant life story and it is immensely rewarding.

Silence can be painful, especially, when repressed emotions and thoughts strive to be liberated and to be heard. One of the most fruitful and inspiring workshops I have attended ever since I came to Finland in 2016 took place on May 4th, 2019, during which participants were encouraged to break their silence through making personal digital stories. An aesthetic experience where technology, the arts and mindfulness activities were integrated into video making. The event was organized by StepEurope and University of Turku. The event includes several steps such as introduction to the digital Storytelling, mindfulness activities, content and image preparation, storyboarding, script writing, voice recording and video editing.

A part I really liked was mindfulness activities. For example, in an activity which I call it touching wise tree, each participant wrote on two or three pieces of papers one or two words that described their childhood. Then, the pieces were attached to a tree that was sketched on the wall. After that, participants put their hands on the tree, and they were asked to feel the whole three. My personal experience was that I was becoming connected to other participants’ childhood through the wise tree. I felt some positive affirmations were recited and resonated across the room: Unity in diversity. My awareness was raised to the idea that there is only one thing that includes everything; the wise universe. The universe is the place where creator and creatures merge together.

Having said all about the strengths of the workshop, it seems to me there were some shortcomings in guiding participants too, particularly, during video editing step. However, it might be due to the time limit, by which the workshop was planned to be completed. A great team conducted the workshop. Two facilitators; Nena Močnik and Eevastiina Kinnunen did a great job.