An introduction…

“Human beings have always told their histories and truths through parable and fable. We are inveterate storytellers.” Beeban Kidron

This recent quote has really resonated with me.

My name is Elizabeth Heck, and as a PhD student attached to the ARC/Linkage Project Community Uses of Co-creative Media, I thought I should introduce myself.

Before embarking on research in this area, I was involved in short film making, after gaining my BA (Hons) in Film and Television Production here at QUT. My Honours project was a solo documentary project on Community Television, and my interest in community media goes back a long way.

Thinking back, one of my favourite media projects was as a line producer on a program called Spark TV, where I was one of a passionate team who curated short films from student and emerging filmmakers for community broadcast and screenings. We linked these short films together via animations and other creative means from local animators. We were always excited by the talent that was out in the community, and it was wonderful to be part of project that gave those short films and stories a platform to be shared and enjoyed by others.

A passion for emerging and student film & media making also led me into the field of Media Education, and after I gained my Bachelor of Education, I taught secondary Film, Television and Media Studies. It was very rewarding to see an enthusiasm for media amongst my students. One of my favourite parts of lessons was sharing wonderful discussions with my senior students about the media.

After a short time off to have my two children, I returned to QUT to further my qualifications and undertake a research orientated degree of a Master of Education. This was particularly rewarding, and further ignited my passion for media research, community media making and learning. At that time, I became the Administration Officer for the Australian Teachers of Media, Queensland branch; the professional development organisation for Queensland media educators. As part of this, I manage the ATOM Qld Twitter feed. It is a very valuable learning and professional development tool, and I have really enjoyed curating the content of that feed, for both teacher resources and learning purposes, and relevant promotion for the organisation. I do have a thing for Twitter I must admit! My last M. Ed paper was on the value of using social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, for media teacher professional development. Personally, I have learnt a lot through social media platforms such as Twitter. The sharing of knowledge and information on this platform has been incredibly valuable in enhancing my own learning experiences.

My PhD research is delving into how learning occurs through community uses of co-creative media practices, such as digital storytelling, from the workshop process to broadcast and distribution platforms at the intersection of community media and arts organisations. Digital storytelling as a means of creative expression in social learning. I look forward to researching, sharing and learning further with this project and I am very excited to be involved in this research area.

In addition to my research studies, I do very much have an interest in photography. From my DSLR to iPhoneography and Instagramming. I can’t resist taking a photo! It’s become a daily habit.

On the importance of storytelling, I thought I might pop in the fantastic talk from Beeban Kidron, film maker and a founder of Film Club, a UK organisation established to bring the joy of the cinema and storytelling to kids outside of school time. Her focus here is on film storytelling, but the overall message is universal, as to the transformative power of story and how it can ignite passion and enthusiasm with young people, in this instance, to fire great discussion, shared experience and also informal learning. This talk resonates with me, as someone who has taught film and media to young people and to see the passion  that such storytelling viewing and creating generates.

What is exciting now, is the opportunity for people in the community to make and share their own stories with co-creative media practices. To produce their own narrative and identity, impart new ideas, share, listen and learn from each other. It is an exciting era for personal and community based storytelling.

I am now part of the team tweeting for the @ozccmorg Twitter feed and will be posting regular round ups in future blog posts about what’s going on out in the Twitterverse in Digital Storytelling, other co-creative media practices and related areas of interest.