Stories for the Future

A central aim of the Islanders project is to equip youth workers with new skills in the use of storytelling to empower young people, including the possibilities offered by new technologies, while developing new perspectives on the relationship between culture, heritage and nature. Our partnership possesses much experience and expertise in non-formal education, as well as understanding of the special situations of young people in island communities. By building on this experience through the exploration of new theoretical and practical approaches, we aim to develop an innovative and impactful programme for youth work based on our shared commitment to inclusivity, sustainability, and active youth participation.

To further this aim, in Summer 2023 we held a series of webinars including contributions from all partners and from external experts in cultural heritage and youth engagement. The first was led by Traces&Dreams, where Nerina Finetto presented the power of storytelling and narratives. Discussing definitions of storytelling, storytelling and storylistening, the role of stories in community building, and the importance of understanding the stories we tell ourselves.

Stories are central to how we understand our past, present, and possible futures. Rhiannon Moss introduced approaches to imagining connections with the past and possibilities for the future drawn from Futures Literacy, a competency championed by UNESCO which allows people to “better understand the role of the future in what they see and do.” Activities such as the ‘generations chain’, where participants are asked to think about the key hopes and fears of their grandparents, their parents, themselves and the next generation, can help young people to think about connections with their histories, their futures and with each other.

Digital Storytelling

Storytelling has always been central to human culture, and in the 21st century new technology offers new ways to create, share and appreciate stories and narratives. Elsa Rodvitnir, of Traces&Dreams, asked, ‘how to we tell stories in the digital age?’ She explored the relationship between digital and ‘analogue’ storytelling, arguing (with Douglas Adams) that following a period in which non-interactive media, such as television, cinema and radio, dominated, the internet and digital technology offers new possibilities for interactivity and democratisation of storytelling.

Elsa also gave an overview of digital media formats and creation tools, including visual media, audio, mixed media and interactive stories, and generative AI. New technologies such as these are rapidly becoming more available and accessible, and helping youth workers and young people develop skills in their use is a key part of the Islanders project. The creations made by young people through the project’s activities will be showcased on our site in 2024.

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