January 25, 2009

This course has ended...

This blog is a course blog for AFRO/GWSS Digital Storytelling in and with Communities of Color at the University of Minnesota, Spring 2009.

Please feel free to browse the site, and remember blogs happen in reverse chronology, so if you want to start at the beginning, click HERE, or browse the links on the right-hand sidebar.


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Although the course has ended, it is still getting recognized for innovation. CLA REACH has called us, officially, a "COOL COURSE"!

See here:



December 22, 2008

YouTube and the way we think

Wired magazine has posted an interesting article about changing views about how we can use video to communicate with others and ourselves. Check it out!

November 28, 2008

Category 4. Online media analysis

For this assignment you are to browse the Internet (feel free to use many of the suggested sites like CurrentTV, radio stories, media that matters film festival, and other sites linked on this blog in previous weeks... just scroll down!), and look for stories (and/or photos, creative work) that resonant with themes from this class (read: stories and representations of race, gender, class, technology, countering of stereotypes, marginalized / oppressed peoples, and other key categories and concepts discussed in class and course readings).

To recap a bit, this term we've discussed how the telling of stories in communities build identities, construct meaning, and makes connections amongst communities and the world. Use this assignment to investigate these modes and dimensions of digital media & storytelling, analyze the role of digitized media as a method of individual healing, and examine media as tools for community organizing and development. Use this assignment to explore, examine, and reflect on the gendered, racialized, and classed dimensions of digital media and storytelling.

For this assignment browse news sites, creative online spaces, community websites, online media festivals, and any web-based sites, spaces and places are using digital media and storytelling to:

- preserve memory with/in communities of color
- write histories of communities of color
- learn about people and communities of color
- entertain within communities of color or about communities of color
- organize communities of color
- community healing with/in and beyond communities of color

Write a short 150 - 300 word reflective analysis of a particular story or a site that centers digital media, storytelling that happens in or with communities of color.

Make sure to LINK us to your source and embed an image (if it's a visual piece of media like photographs, essays, or video).

November 14, 2008

BRING VIDEO CAMERAS TO CLASS NEXT WEEK! (we need 4-6 cameras for in-class exercise)

Here are FREE CAMERA RENTALS for UMN students:

For CLA Students:
Loaner EQ from CLA OIT
- digital video cameras
- microphones & audio mixers
- location lighting kits
Make online reservations!

EQ from Wilson Library
Available by reservation only!

EQ Available for 3 Day Loan:
- MiniDV Sony DCR-HC32
- Portable Hard Drives (3)

EQ Available for 1 Week Loan:
- 80GB Firewire/USB2

Plus, Wilson SMART Learning Commons Hardware List (in library use, I think)
32 Productivity Pcs with CD burners
2 Productivity iMacs with CD burners
1 Multimedia PC with Epson Scanner and DVD/CD burner
1 Multimedia Mac with Epson Scanner and DVD/CD burner
2 Digital Camcorders
3 External Hard drives
1 Flash Memory Card reader
1 Black and White / Color Printer

October 30, 2008

Twin Cities League of Youth (aka Pissed Off) Voters

Visit the Homepage for more info

Endorsement Slate Introduction

Who we are…We are young people from the Twin Cities who are pissed off at politics as usual and want to have a say in the policies that govern our lives. There are a whole lot of us, and if politicians want our votes they need to get serious about the issues we face every day.

What we want… At the end of the day, what we want is simple—a fair chance to get an education, a job and a place to live in a safe and sustainable world regardless of sex, race, class, identity or ability. We pay taxes, we vote and we want to live in a country that respects young people and invests in us to succeed. We're not asking for handouts. We're demanding fairness and smarter priorities.

We did the research…And man was it a lot of work! Here are the candidates we think best reflect the needs and values of young people in the Twin Cites. But as LeVar Burton always said, “You don’t have to take my word for it?—We HIGHLY encourage you to do your own research as well!

What You Need to Know

• Polls are open on Nov 4, 7am - 8pm.
• To find out where you vote, go to:

• If you have been convicted of a felony, your right to vote is automatically restored when you finish probation/parole; if you are off paper, you can register and vote
• If you need assistance with a disability or a language other than English, you can bring someone with you into the polls to mark your ballot.
• Out-of-state college students: you can vote absentee in your home state OR you can register to vote in MN (but not both)
• You have the right to be absent from work, to vote, for up to two hours on the morning of Election Day—without reduction in pay

• Register by October 14th so your name is on the voter rolls on Election Day, OR….
• Election Day Registration -- bring proof of who you are and where you live to your polling place:
o Option #1: MN driver’s license, MN state ID, or photo tribal ID (ID can be expired, address must be current)
o Option #2: A photo ID + a current utility bill in your name
o Option #3: A voucher -- someone registered to vote in your precinct who can swear that you live there

• If you have any questions about where or how to vote, or if anything sketchy or confusing goes down, call:
• 1-866-OUR-VOTE

Hit us up!

For questions, or to get involved with the Twin Cities League of Pissed Off Voters, contact Camille:, 651.414.6040. Check out our website:

Download PDF of guide: Final_Endorsement_Slate.pdf

October 29, 2008


JOB TITLE Film/Video Intern (December 2008 – March 2009)
REPORTS TO Program Manager, Film/Video

The Film/Video intern will assist in the solicitation and tracking of preview and public relation materials for future programming; assist in the drafting, fact-checking, and proofing of text for brochures and catalogues; assist in identifying community groups to promote our film programs to; and help prepare text, video clips and web links for the Walker website. This internship requires a commitment of two, 7-hour days per week.

Qualifications for these internships include a degree or current enrollment in a film/video degree program; computer experience with word processing (MS Word), Excel (spreadsheet), Filemaker Pro (preferred); and office skills for faxing, photocopying, and filing. Some professional film exhibition experience also preferred.

Benefits include: free tickets to screenings of film/video presentations; comp tickets to other events as available; a Walker membership; and Gallery 8 Café and Walker Shop discounts. There is also a $30 per week stipend.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, November 21, 2008

For consideration, send your letter and resume to Human Resources, Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403. Job line:

October 25, 2008

If you are visiting our site:

Welcome to the midterm digital story assignment posts for our course.

Digital Storytelling is the practice of using digital media (computer-based technology tools) to tell stories.

Digital Storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights. Tell your story now digitally. - Leslie Rule, Digital Storytelling Association

Our students started by reading Co-Instructor, Professor Walter R. Jacobs' ghostbox: a memoir, as a way to "conjure up our personal and social ghosts" (which is great material for stories). We used Joe Lambert's approach to digital storytelling at the Center for Digital Storytelling in the Bay Area.

Students learned about types of stories, did writing (using image-based prompts), shared their stories in a story circle, and learned Final Cut Express. What you see below (and under the category 3. OUR STORIES [midterm projects] are their first projects. Few students came in with technical or storytelling experience and others are brand new to creative writing, storytelling, and digital media.

ENJOY! and leave our students comments!

[TECHNICAL NOTE: UThink blogs have been displaying extra spaces for visitors using Firefox; this does not change the content of the site, just the aesthetics. So if you are experiencing "funny" spacing, please use an alternate browser. Thanks!]


October 18, 2008

The Boondocks: "Ruckus Reality Show"

Before coming to class on Friday, October 24, watch "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show" episode from The Boondocks. After viewing the episode write a Coffee House posting that uses one of the course readings to analyze the episode.

If the embedded movie below doesn't work, here is a direct link:

September 12, 2008

Walt's digital story

In class today we screened a story I made in May at the Center for Digital Storytelling. We actually viewed an unauthorized "final cut" they made. You can watch the original cut in a new window, or click the screen shot below.


Assignment: Digital Story Analysis (post under Category 2)

What makes a good story? Read about stories on iRoom Stories, browse the list of links on the RIGHT SIDEBAR of this blog, and see Lambert's suggested links (week 2 pdf on Moodle).

This week view digital stories, considering the CONTEXT, CONTENT and FORM of each story.

Post links to TWO of your favorites. For each post an image (and/or pull image grabs of your favorite images), and LINK to the original piece.

For each write a short reflection (about 125-250 words) for each piece you've selected. Consider:
1- the context [where the story was created, or anything you know about the maker, if there is text that tells you info posted with the video, where it was created (workshop)]
2- the content[what the story is about, theme, thesis, moral...]
3- the form of the piece [what forms of media used, how the piece is edited, etc]
4 - why this is a "good" story (read: why/how this piece engages you, draws you in, why you like it...)

Post by 9am on Friday, 9/19.

+ + + + Rachel's Example + + + +


untitled by Kevin West is a really powerful digital story. Kevin is a transguy who lives in Santa Cruz, California. The piece tells his story of being a queer youth trapped in the juvenile (in)justice system, until a social worker who understands GLBTQ issues helped him. In the piece he uses personal photos, "borrowed images", graphic elements (like texts), motion graphics to edit the pieces together. The music (a drum beat helps to build the rhythm of the piece. The story is structured by Kevin's story, told in a voice over.

I chose to share this digital story because I really like Kevin's honesty. He speaks in a clear, engaging and honest way about his life. He's telling us an emotional story without the boo-hoo sobs (whoa is me stuff), but with clarity. I like that he uses the piece as a way to thank the social worker who helped him change the course of his life.

Some of Rachel's Digital Stories

1. A little about me ["ego trippin: my life b like..."]:

This piece uses still photos, text, video and 16mm film clips, and music. It is mostly an example of MONTAGE, and less about storytelling. It shows pieces of my life and some of my life's work.

2. my first ghostbox inspired video "killer cancer cells":

music: "floating opera" by tom servo of doomtree

This is all video footage, with voice-over (v.o.), text, and some instrumental music.

3. breaking the cycle: the story of steven glaze:

This is a short digital story I scanned, shot and edited using still photos, text, voice-over (generated from asking questions [Lambert's interview method], and video footage. This is the story of my (ex [it's a long story]) husband, Steven. It is (or was) to be used as a fund raising tool to do a documentary about his life. Status of the project is currently unclear.

4. "tracks" by tish jones (video projection for live performance, viewable HERE, 4/3/08):

This digital story was created as a video projection piece for a Youth Showcase at the Walker Arts Center. The v.o. is a "scratch" track (meaning it's rough, just to edit with). This piece uses still photos, found photos (stock images), video clips, titles, and lots of motion graphics (animation like zooming, titling, spinning created in Final Cut).

5. "pink ladies" by moira pirsh (video projection for live performance, viewable HERE, 4/3/08):

This digital story was also created as a video projection piece for a Youth Showcase at the Walker Arts Center. The v.o. is a "scratch" track (meaning it's rough, just to edit with). This piece uses still photos (from people's myspace pages, including mine(!)), and lots of motion graphics (animation like zooming, titling, spinning created in Final Cut).

!!! Here are some digital stories (and videos) from my summer 2008 course FEMINIST FILM / MEDIA STUDIES

!!! Here are some digital stories from my spring 2008 course FEMINIST MEDIA MAKING