April 21, 2020

Digital Storytelling Festival

Event offers safe space for immigrant communities to engage in meaningful conversations
Hortensia Barrios and Karina Hincapie

Hortensia Barrios (left) and Karina Hincapie (right)

Francey Pisicoli

On March 4, 2020, Hortensia Barrios and Karina Hincapie, graduate students in the Languages, Literatures and Cultures program and Research Fellows sponsored by the Language Research Centre, hosted the first Digital Storytelling Festival to an audience of approximately 85 people. During the event, they screened 3-minute digital stories turned into videos, created by immigrants and refugees living in Calgary. The Digital Storytelling Festival was created in order to host an activity that welcomed both academia and members of the community, in the hope that it would help build awareness about the barriers faced by immigrants, and also open up discussion on the integration process to Canadian society.

Storytellers share their experiences as immigrants and refugees

Participants share their experiences as immigrants and refugees

In collaboration with Middle Path Temple, the Venezuelan Canadian Association of Calgary, and the Calgary Public Library, 20 storytellers participated in the 2-day, 6 hour workshops where they engaged in conversations about their experiences with immigration and wrote personal stories that were later turned into short films. The storytellers were between the ages of 20 and 80, originating from 5 different countries (China, Iran, Costa Rica, South Korea and Venezuela).

Organizers and the storytellers

The Digital Storytelling project was designed to create a space that would enable immigrant communities to engage in meaningful conversations about their experiences and the barriers they have encountered, while also giving them access to new skills, members of their local community that they might have never met otherwise, and to empower them by providing the tools that allow them to speak up and think about how to make Calgary more welcoming for immigrant communities.

Digital Storytelling Festival group photo

Download the Digital Storytelling Festival Program