Archive for June, 2011

Cairo calling

I got an incredibly pleasant surprise yesterday afternoon – Karen Strunks called me to say she’d just been offered a last-minute press trip to Cairo and very kindly asked me to be her plus one! I leave very early Saturday morning and get back next Tuesday night.

News of the press trip, organised by Fly BMI, has had me squealing with excitement for the past 24 hours, much to Carl’s chagrin.  Getting away at a couple of days’ notice took a bit of sorting but there are certain things you just don’t say no to, and a free trip to Cairo is one of them. I’ve never been to the Middle East before so it’ll be a totally new experience and I feel flying there business class and staying in the Four Seasons Hotel is definitely the way to do it first time! 😉

As well as a spa, the Four Seasons also has WiFi, which Karen and I will use to tweet about our aventures using the hashtag #bmicairo.  I’ll also be attempting a bit of photography with Carl’s Canon Eos 400D camera, which he’s kindly agreed to lend me.

We’re also hoping to meet up with Noha Atef whilst we’re out there, who we’ve come to know through her work on the BCU MA Social Media course – it will be lovely to see a familiar face in a foreign land.

Have a great weekend folks. I’m hoping mine will rock!

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Thoughts of a possible #StoryCamp

The day before I went to LocalGovCamp in Birmingham last Saturday, I was at the DS6 Digital Storytelling Festival in Aberystwyth, where digital storytelling practitioners from the likes of Digital Storytelling Asia, Patient Voices and StoryWorks spoke about their ways and means of gathering and telling stories – helping create a space where people feel comfortable and confident in sharing their personal stories and enabling them to tell them using very simple tech, either for a small group or the wider world.  What really impressed me was that the emphasis was as much on the conversations that draw the stories out as much as the style in which they’re told. Natasha James of Breaking Barriers really hit the nail on the head when she stated:

Digital Storytelling is both a process and a product, with the ideal scenario that both are just as important as one another which is when the digital story manages to make people care about what is said and a connection with the story is made.

Towards the end of the day I attended Joni Ayn’s session ‘Digital storytellers, meet hyperlocalists‘, which rightly highlighted that people from both camps have much to learn from each other with their fondness for creating spaces where communities can share, talk and tell the stories that emerge from those conversations using DIY tools – ‘the bread and butter of the little hyperlocals’.  I heartily agreed and the presentation was followed by a lively discussion on the characteristics of the two movements and how they might be bought closer together.

The next day I was back in Birmingham for LocalGovCamp, which was a hive of productive activity. During the last slot of the day I went to Lloyd Davis‘ Social Artistry session, where he reflected on his recent trip across the States where he relied entirely on his social capital, friends and friends of friends to get from A to B and his plans to do a similar ‘Hoboe 2.0’ exercise in the UK in the coming months to find work and go wherever that might take him.  In his very detailed post, Dave Briggs said of the session:

…the best bit about Lloyd’s adventures are the stories he tells about them, whether at events like LocalGovCamp, his live shows or the blogs and videos he publishes.

Indeed, this is the lesson that public services can learn from folk like Lloyd – that having the ability to tell stories, the platforms on which to do so and the culture where stories are listened to, is really vital for an organisation to be considered healthy.

He’s right – those in local government, hyperlocal land and beyond have plenty to learn from digital storytelling practitioners and vice versa, which got me thinking: wouldn’t it be great to have something where they can all meet, share stories and ways and means of telling them?  I thought out loud on twitter (conversation on Storify) and it got a positive response from a few so I thought I’d write a slightly more detailed post on the subject and ask might #StoryCamp be a possible goer? And if so, how does one go about arranging a ‘camp’? JFDI?? 🙂

[View the story “Thinking out loud: #StoryCamp” on Storify]

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