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Webinar 2: Cultural Storytelling: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly


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Part of MuseWeb Foundation's series about cultural storytelling, this presentation was given to a group of teachers who were recruiting students to collect local community oral histories, with the ultimate goal of producing audio and video projects. This "Youth Access Grant" project is sponsored by the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street program. Museum on Main Street sends Smithsonian traveling exhibitions into small towns across the nation.

Published in: Education
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Webinar 2: Cultural Storytelling: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. 1. #bHereMainSt @MuseWeb Selwyn Ramp Project Director Heather Shelton Digital Curator @SelwynRamp @MuseumsAgo
  2. 2. What is cultural storytelling? …And how is it different from other stories?
  3. 3. Cultural Stories Are: • Not always based on hard facts • Can be told by anyone • Perspectives & experiences • Offer a sense of time & place • Rich & descriptive • Totally individualized & unique
  4. 4. What are the elements of a great story? Includes town name and state Creates a sense of context Provides rich, descriptive details Covers topics and subjects that can be linked to larger stories: TOURS Sound and imagery match mood and tenor of topic Narration is natural and enthusiastic
  5. 5. Capitalizes on students’ passions!
  6. 6. These are good stories! See if you can figure out why. Newspaper Inserter Eagle River, Alaska Small-town Life During Ice Storm First Job
  7. 7. What elements did these stories share? • Recounted a personal experience • Topic about something he/she new best • Natural speaking voice • 2-5 minutes in length • Referenced location • Made you think about another time or place
  8. 8. STORY?...How about a more traditional approach? • Producers must be passionate about the topic • Are concerned about length • Research matters but reading of a script is not engaging • Editing to know the most important parts of the story • Context is key • Rich details and character/place development matter Even with documentaries, you should be aware that:
  9. 9. Examples of good documentary-style student stories I
  10. 10. More Than the Story . . . Students to consider topics not studied in school as valid and worthwhile? Students to think beyond themselves and their school? Students to cross generational, gender or racial lines to collect or record the story? Did the Process Encourage . . . ? Students to make use of local resources like libraries, archives, museums? Students to experiment with new technologies? Students to be open to peer editing, review, and screening of stories? Students to consider themselves “experts” on a topic? Building Confidence, Skills, and Community Students to consider multiple points of view on a given issue.
  11. 11. STORY?...How could you group great stories? The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Stories grouped around a theme create a greater narrative, a cause, a movement. • Stories around a singular theme, age group, place … • Stories that build one upon the other • Stories that examine a topic from multiple
  12. 12. Good stories create context and can be connected online, developed into a collection, playlist, or series
  13. 13. Think about a tour … a group of 8-15 stories that are connected by a common theme. A typical stop on a tour is between 1-3 minutes.
  14. 14. Be part of a larger community. Upload to the Museum on Main Street Website Tag outside content to “Be Here: Main Street” #bHereMainSt
  15. 15. What makes for a bad story? What makes for a less successful story?Speakers talk over each other Students include last names and addresses Recorded in a loud place where background noise can’t be edited Too focused on editing bells and whistles—not as much on content Uses unlicensed audio or video Asks yes or no questions of interviewees
  16. 16. These are not-so great stories! See if you can figure out why. Yes or no questions! Reading script Background Noise! No mention of location
  17. 17. Questions?
  18. 18. #bHereMainSt @MuseWeb Nancy Proctor Executive Director Selwyn Ramp Project Director @NancyProctor Heather Shelton Digital Curator @SelwynRamp @MuseumsAgo Contact Details