Scandinavian Stories is a New York-based after school project about cultural identity for children and youth aged 9-15 with Scandinavian background or with other connections to Scandinavia. In digital storytelling workshops, we combine the ancient practice of storytelling with today’s technology, providing children and young people with a deeper understanding of their Scandinavian cultural identity, while developing their media literacy skills.
The project, launching in the spring of 2010, will build on the experiences of children and youth aged 9-15 with Scandinavian backgrounds, or with any other connection to the Scandinavian countries. The participants will explore questions concerning cultural identity and in the process produce digital stories, short films. By using the digital storytelling method, which incorporates new technologies and multimedia, we meet the children and youth half-way: in the digital arena they are already producers, working creatively and communicating through media. The participants will write a personal story on the topic of cultural identity that builds on their own experiences as Americans and Scandinavians. They learn how to write a script and develop a storyboard, collect photographs, moving images, text, illustrations, music, and other audio to illustrate their scripts. Finally, they will produce a digital story using video editing software.
The stories, which will provide an updated image of today’s diverse Scandinavia, will be disseminated to a broad audience in the U.S. and Scandinavia through web, TV, radio (reading of manuscripts), print (publication of manuscripts), and public screenings. Scandinavian Stories will function as a forum for children and youth to tell a story about cultural identity in the 21st century. The participants will learn about the Scandinavian country they are connected to, developing a stronger and more vital relationship to it.
The impetus behind Scandinavian Stories is the organization’s belief that migration streams can create a feeling of global citizenship and incite the realization that rights and responsibilities are universal, regardless of country of birth, ethnicity, religion, and so forth. They believe that the awareness of one’s individual identity is a key component to the possibility of a global citizenship.
The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child entitles children to seek, receive and impart information and ideas. Scandinavian Stories strives to help children exercise those rights. Despite the fact that children are media savvy and confident using new technology, they are underrepresented and often voiceless in the media – mostly it is adults who speak about children, or on their behalf. Scandinavian Stories will serve therefore as a platform for children and youth to share their stories on their own terms.
For more information, examples of digital stories or to make a donation, please visit: www.scandinavianstories.org