UCT CS Research Document Archive

Digital storytelling design learning from non-digital narratives: Two case studies in South Africa

Bidwell, Nic, Ilda Ladeira and Xolile Sigaji (2008) Digital storytelling design learning from non-digital narratives: Two case studies in South Africa. In Proceedings 5th Annual National Oral History Association of SA Conference, Regent Hotal, East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

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User generated content (UGC) in the human computer interaction (HCI) field describes the phenomenon whereby active audiences create and share content ranging from photographs to narratives, using technologies such as the Internet. A Royal Society sponsored workshop held during June 2008 gathered HCI researchers to discuss challenges in providing effective, appropriate technologies to enable community-based UGC. Our paper describes two case studies, presented at this workshop, of how South African communities organise narratives non-digitally, along with how these can guide the design of digital storytelling. The District Six Museum in Cape Town commemorates the former suburb which was demolished during Apartheid. The museum is community-based; since its inception, ex-residents have been central collaborators in the narratives presented. This is supported via such means as ex-resident storytellers in the museum and inscriptive exhibits such as a floor map where ex-residents write where they used to live and 'memory clothes’ where messages may be written and are later preserved through hand embroidery. In contrast to the District Six community, formal infrastructures to support accessing and protecting cultural records are only just reaching villagers in rural Transkei. We discuss how local traditional leaders and villagers, both elders and youth, recently collaborated with a National Archives outreach program by co-generating a workshop in a remote, but populous, village which lacks basic facilities such as electricity. The Lwandile workshop linked a range of local contemporary priorities, such as representation to government, land rights and ecotourism, to natural and cultural heritage. Both studies start to reveal opportunities to design technologies that increase participation in recording and sharing personal and cultural stories, for example various accessible media to enable content generation and dissemination without Internet access, or suited to outdoor settings. Simultaneously, both studies uncover design opportunities and requirements that respect values embedded in place-based oral customs. For example, the importance of supporting alternative views on historical events or contested spaces and enabling appropriate transparency. We use such insights to show how technology-design situated in non-digital experience can challenge the hegemony of univocal opinions and stories.

EPrint Type:Conference Paper
Keywords:District Six Museum, user generated content,Rural Coastal Communities, Lwandile, Eastern Cape,
Subjects:J Computer Applications: J.5 ARTS AND HUMANITIES
ID Code:501
Deposited By:Blake, Edwin H
Deposited On:28 October 2008