Mediating Influences: Problematising facilitated digital self-representation
While Digital Storytelling has been lauded as an exemplary model of participatory cultural citizenship (particularly in initiatives for and with marginalised people), many mediating influences make ‘authentic’ self-representation far from straightforward. In this article, I consider some of these mediating influences, from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and underline their regulatory and constitutive nature. While some of these mediating influences are timeworn and pre-date digital technology, others are perpetuated and ampli- fied, as is the case in networked personal storytelling disseminated online. I draw on some well-established strategies derived from anthropology and narrative practices to propose a new purpose for old tools. These tools support the nuanced and sensitive facilitation of both face-to-face and online Digital Storytelling workshops as well as the curation of web spaces in which they eventually circulate. I argue that making complex mediating influences visible to participants affords redress of the inherent social and technical privileges of institutions, facilitators and platforms. Finally, I consider the implications of these strategies for voice, marginalised identity, cultural citizenship and social change.
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