The project did offer an opportunity to investigate new forms of storytelling in contemporary society. Focus has been on the use of digital storytelling for self-representation, where people apply digital tools to create stories from their own life or immediate environment to share with others.
Mediatized Stories was an international project, based at the University of Oslo, funded by the Research Council of Norway. It started January 2006 and ended November 2011.
Four units at the University of Oslo take part: The Department of Media and Communication, the Institute of Educational Research, the Department of Informatics, and InterMedia who also managed the project.
International participants come from nine different countries spanning from Singapore to the East through Scandinavia and Britain to US/California to the West.
The project has explored how people - youth in particular - use self-representation in digital storytelling to shape and share their lives, and tries to understand these processes through theories of mediation and mediatization across media studies and the field of education.
Sub-goals and results
- Undertake a theoretical clarification of contrasting conceptualisations of mediation and mediatization. Key results.
- Analyse the socio-cultural dynamics of mediation/mediatization when people shape and share their lives in digital storytelling. Key results.
- Analyse how self-representation in digital storytelling may build competence and media literacy through informal learning. Key results.
Self-representation in digital storytelling
Self-representation in digital storytelling emerge in a variety of forms, e.g. in blogs and social networking sites on the Internet, produced in designated workshops for television, museums and groups, or told with picture cell phones to be shared among friends. Digital and networked media offer new means and modalities for the creation and communication of stories. 'Storytelling' here implies shaping as well as sharing the stories with others.
Stories of self-representation, captured in digital media, become digital objects or artefacts. Digital technology opens up a range of opportunities for representation with multimedia modalities qualitatively different from the modality of writing and the technology of print. With digital technology cultural objects could be shaped in infinite ways, and shared in multiple copies by an easy 'click'. The stories may be inherently shaped and shared with digital tools in ways that make them not simply mediated but mediatized (i.e. whose form is influenced by the possibilities and constraints of their mediated transmission and exchange).
Youth as innovators
Youth bring cultural and social changes. 'Youth' here covers children and young people between 9-19 years. Since they tend to be early adopters and innovative users of new, digital media, this project specifically studies such practices in these age groups. Theories in sociology and education analyse socialisation among youth as reflexive work on formation of identities. Youth are producers. The focus on mediation and mediatization offers a new perspective on socialisation and identity formation.
The project further studies how self-representation in digital storytelling may build competence and media literacy through informal learning in the mediation/mediatization processes.
Theories from education and media studies
The project has tried to understand digital storytelling through contrasting theories of mediation and mediatization: Media studies stress that the digital modalities could shape a story to an extent that make it a "mediatized" story. Media studies also stress that it is not the digital media themselves, but the processes of mediation they are involved in that matter, played out in contested social and cultural contexts. Mediation studies in the field of education shares the socio-cultural perspective but focuses on how people learn and work in mediated action and activities with the use of "tools" and signs as cultural artefacts.