Reconceptualising Digital Storytelling: Thinking through Audiovisual Inquiry

From the Introduction:

“The participatory media genre of Digital Storytelling (DS) has been largely conceptualised and practiced as something disconnected from nonfiction video and filmmaking. Yet DS is an audiovisual means of expression. To conceptualise images and sound as “secondary concerns” disconnected from broader filmic practices potentially restricts the invitational power of DS. Further, when engaging with DS within a research context, instead of primarily understanding the method as an innovative way to collect data or represent research findings, I suggest we have only begun to theorise the ways in which DS serves as a means of inquiry and exchange through audiovisual practice. Toward that end, there are connections to be made between DS and the documentary arts that might enliven how we teach the practice and analyse the co-created artefacts. In particular, if we are to more rigorously develop and research DS as a means of inquiry and public engagement, the theory and practice of the genre can be productively re-conceptualised. In this chapter, I argue for such a re-conceptualisation of DS. Toward the development of a “sensuous scholarship” (Marks 2002; Pink 2011; Seremetakis 1994; Stoller 1997), the first section of the chapter focuses on the importance of the artefact and suggests we might think of the digital story as an “embodied object.” The second section considers the connective tissue between DS and ethnographic and documentary film and video” (Alexandra 2017b: 167-168).