Digital Storytelling Community Gathers in Athens To Discuss How the Crisis Has Shaped Our Work – by Joe Lambert
On May 8-10, more than two dozen countries were represented at the Digital Storytelling in the Time of Crisis conference hosted by the Laboratory of New Technologies in Communication, Education and the Mass Media and the University Research Institute of Applied Communication of the University of Athens with the collaboration of the Hellenic American Union.
Speakers were asked to situate their work against the backdrop of the sustained economic and social crisis of Europe and beyond. Greece has been amongst the hardest hit countries, with massive cuts in the public sector, and the decline of GDP, employment, and social programs reaching Great Depression levels. The University of Athens itself weathered a five month strike by administrators earlier in the academic year, forcing conference organizers to calibrate the conference ambitions appropriately.
Highlights included presentations by the UK's Karen Lewis of George Ewart Evans Centre of the University of South Wales on Climate Change stories, Belgium's Veronique De Leener and Ann Peeters of MAKS vzw Media Art Kuregem, and Turkey's Burcu Şimsek and colleagues from Haceteppe University on stories and the protests in Gezi Park. StoryCenter collaborator ENKDIST/dtellers.eu's Federica Pesce, Steve Bellis and others updated the work of this pan-European project, and a sister project, Kvalues.eu. Excellent keynotes were presented by songwriter Lina Nikolakopoulou, conference host Michalis Meimaris, and PatientVoices' Pip Hardy. We were also happy to see friends Brooke Hessler from Oklahoma City University and Mustafa Sakarya and colleagues of Mercy College making the trek from the United States.
Much Greek culture was celebrated through various presentations and a wonderful trip to sample cuisine and beverage at the Athinorama Greek Taste Festival at the amazing Technopolis(Gazi) center in Athens.
The organizers and participants all look forward to the 6th International Digital Storytelling Conference being proposed for Amherst, Massachusetts in 2015.
You may view presentations at the conference website: http://dst.ntlab.gr/videos.