It’s time to pay it forward

The Sisters of FateIt is truly wonderful when fortune smiles on you and the goddesses of fate let out a little more thread. Suddenly you can reach a little further, you are reinvigorated, reconnected – your life takes a turn for the better. A bit Pollyanna I suppose, but this seems to have happened to me more than once in my lifetime. Since shifting focus to my digital storytelling practice in 2010, it seems to have happened to me more frequently.

While I am not sure of the reason for the increased frequency, I am acutely aware of what it has meant to the success of my work. Success, as with all work in the arts, is not measured in dollars and cents, but in the sense of accomplishment – the knowledge your work has touched someone deeply or contributed to a betterment of the world.

I don’t go about my life willy-nilly, at the whim of fortune and fate. In fact, I believe we create opportunity by listening to our hearts, doing the work we are most passionate about, making a sincere effort be the best we can at the work we choose and reaching out to connect to the community around us. These are the broad brush strokes that colour my work; the richness of the colours comes from the depth of the relationships I make.

The partnership I have the Latitudes Storytelling Festival through the Latitudes and Longitudes Digital Storytelling Project is one such enriching experience. Through this collaboration I have conducted a series of community-based digital storytelling workshops in 2011 and 2012 and created Made In Kitchener, an interactive walking tour.

Both projects have allowed me to develop the skills and techniques I’ve applied in my work with community agencies such as House of Friendship, Community Justice Initiative and ArtsSmarts Waterloo Region. More importantly though, I’ve connected with amazing people and we’ve created and shared many stories. It’s, in part because of this I’m able to pursue the work I love – exploring the eternal connection between our stories and the place we call home.

Now, it’s time to pay forward this good fortune and help other explore the thread of life.

Fundraising Workshop March 23

On Saturday, March 23, 2013, I will donate my time to facilitate a one-day digital storytelling workshop in support of Latitudes Storytelling Festival. The theme for the fundraiser is taken from World Storytelling Day 2013 – Fortune and Fate.

The workshop fee is only $75, all of which goes the Festival.

I invite you to join me to share your personal stories and to support this important community organization.

For more details and to register for this event visit the workshop registration page on the Latitudes and Longitudes website.

iPod digital storytelling brings out the geek in me

iPod Mobile Digital Storytelling Lab - image
iPod Mobile Digital Storytelling and Media Lab
Since I first put my hands on a serious camera, I’ve struggled with the Geek Factor – that thing where you want to touch the gear. It’s like walking around in fear you’ll buy a Leatherman Tool on an whim – the one with belt holster.

Then my son – whom I consider as far from Geekdom as one can get – got a Leatherman as a gift and was all ga-ga over it. Suddenly I was freed. Freed to indulge my gear fetish – in a healthy way.

One of the pieces of gear I consider a healthy choice is the iPod Touch I’ve been using for about a year now. It’s become my go-to, universal media tool.

In fact I recently used it to produce a 14 minute personal-story documentary in collaboration with inREACH, a social agency that offers support for young men who are trying to break connections with gang activity.

I use it extensively in my work as director of the Latitudes and Longitudes Digital Storytelling Project. I shoot still photos and video; write blog posts (like still one); edit video and record sound. At the digital storytelling project one of the greatest challenges is providing workshop participants with suitable technology environment for creation of their personal narratives.

In the past this has meant a fulling equipped computer lab with professional grade software and hardware – a tall order indeed for start-up art projects such Latitudes and Longitudes. This is where the iPod Touch comes in. I recently bought six basic iPods to form the basis of a mobile digital storytelling and media lab that I will be using in my future work.

First up is Local Food Bytes a series of two digital storytelling workshops designed to capture community stories about local food and its impact on peoples’ lives. The freedom afforded by a mobile media lab will allow me to hold these sessions at a neighbourhood coffee shop that offers a community meeting room and free WIFI to patrons – Misty Mountain Coffee Company on Queen Street South in Kitchener. You can get more details and register on the Latitudes and Longitude website.

I’ll also be using the mobile lab with a new project at inREACH, as well as at a Grade 5 classroom project funded by Arts Smarts Waterloo Region.