Digital storytelling workshop

Over the past few months, despite lockdown restrictions and remote learning, the co-curricular life of the school has been well and truly alive. An integral part of this includes Sustainability Society and the diverse range of initiatives taking place. Whether that be organising a Sustainability Week or growing the Midland Schools Eco Network, it’s fair to say that it’s been far from quiet. And another great opportunity was presented in the form of the digital storytelling workshop.

Along with Mr Butler and Bill Finnegan, a documentary filmmaker and doctoral student at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment who is researching how secondary schools in England are responding to the climate crisis, a number of students took part in this workshop. The overarching idea was to connect with students in the School’s Eco Networks from across England to learn about climate change communication, develop storytelling, video production and editing skills as well as connecting with like-minded students to share our visions for the future. 

Over the course of three weeks, we participated in a number of sessions. One of the first things we looked at was the need for the use of digital media with respect to climate change. By this point, a number of us have been subject to hearing worrying statistics and a mainstream negative outlook on the future of climate change in the media. And what we set out to achieve was to address this problem of so-called, ‘Climate Anxiety’. Thus in this process, we looked at a number of short videos which aimed to assert the gravity of the matter being discussed at hand yet also communicate the ways in which collective action can be utilised to enforce change. 

My favourite part of this workshop was the final session where we all came together as a group and watched everyone’s amazingly powerful and gripping videos in a film screening session followed by a discussion. I believe that this was a great opportunity not only to develop skills for digital storytelling but to also talk with students all over England and engage in dialogue regarding the diverse range of outlooks present on climate change. Having contributed to climate change research at the University of Oxford as well as developing a number of our skills, we hope that the short videos created will be shared at the UN climate meeting in Glasgow in November.

Author: Nikash Chekuri