Thursday, 22 December 2005

acmi presents australia's first international digital storytelling conference

Drawing on the successes of the inaugural Digital Storytelling conference hosted by the BBC in Wales in 2003, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) - Australia's only international centre for Digital Storytelling - is proud to present First Person: International Digital Storytelling Conference.

The first ever Digital Storytelling conference to be held in Australia (and only the second in the world), First Person will offer inspiration to anyone interested in exploring the powerful potential of storytelling by examining the practice of Digital Storytelling through a series of workshops, discussion panels, and keynote speeches.

International speakers at the conference include Joe Lambert, one of the original founders of the practice of Digital Storytelling, and Director of the Center for Digital Storytelling at Berkley University, California; American civil rights activist, award-winning playwright, director and actor John O'Neal who will also deliver a public keynote address during the conference; and historian Karen Worceman, the founder and director of Sao Paulo's Museum of the Person, a virtual museum that collects the personal stories of people in living in South America. (short bios at end of this release)

For full conference information see

What is Digital Storytelling?

Storytelling is crucial to our individual, communal and cultural identities. Digital Storytelling updates this age-old tradition for the contemporary world.  Rather than simply recounting a story verbally, Digital Storytelling is a process whereby people have the opportunity - using simple multimedia tools - to tell their own story through making a movie. ACMI's Digital Storytelling workshops held monthly are open to everyone and there are no technical prerequisites. Participants combine the audio visual resources of their personal archives (photographs, home movies, text, music and sound) to produce a 3-4 minute personal story which they narrate in their own voice.

Since commencing Digital Storytelling workshops in February 2004, ACMI has recorded hundreds of powerful individual and community stories that examine all experiences of being human - love, loss, recovery, isolation and celebration. The subject matter varies: it might take the form of a tribute to an important person in the participants' lives, a commemoration of their child's entry into the world, capturing family stories and memories, journey of recovery from illness or an exploration of the place they live.

Communities who have undertaken Digital Storytelling projects at ACMI include HIV Positive women, Australian Heart Foundation, Alzheimer's Australia, Arts Access, Women living with HIV and the Breast Cancer Network. ACMI has also worked with South Sudanese and post-war European immigrants as a way of documenting stories of migration, settlement and displacement, and capturing the personal stories of Vietnamese women who fled their homeland Vietnam for a new life in Australia, to mark the 30th year of Vietnamese migration (2005).

Some examples of these stories can be found at and also on permanent display in the Memory Grid exhibition space at ACMI.

International speakers - bio information

John O'Neal (US) - An active participant in the Civil Rights Movement and co-founder of the Free Southern Theater in the early 1960s, John O'Neal will showcase his Color Line Project, which gathers and preserves personal stories from the Civil Rights Movement as a way of keeping the movement's dialogue alive. John O'Neal will also provide insights into the creativity of the African American communities in New Orleans in the context of the restoration of New Orleans post hurricane Katrina. AS well as speaking during the conference John will be delivering a keynote speech that will be open to members of the public on Friday 3 February 3 at 6pm, at ACMI Cinemas. 

Joe Lambert (US) is the Director of the Center for Digital Storytelling, a California-based non-profit arts organization rooted in the art of personal storytelling ( The centre assists young people and adults in using the tools of digital media to craft, record, share, and value the stories of individuals and communities, in ways that improve all our lives. In addition to participating in First Person, Joe will be holding a Digital Storytelling Masterclass at ACMI from Monday 6 February to Wednesday 8 February.

Karen Worceman (Brazil) is an historian, founder and director of The Museum of the Person (Museu da Pessoa), a virtual museum based in Sao Paulo, Brazil which has created a virtual network of life stories (including includes personal statements, images, audio, video, and historical collections) of people in South American. The Museum's aim is provide each and every individual with the opportunity to integrate his or her history into a network of social memory.  Founded in 1991, the Museum of the Person ( holds approximately 6,000 life stories and more than 5,000 digital photographs collected during projects, in recording studios set up in public places (particularly in and around Sao Paulo), or sent to the museum via the Internet.

For the full list of international and local speakers, please go to:

Conference: Friday 3 February - Sunday 5 February, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Full $165 Concession $95; Single Conference Day $95
Bookings & enquiries: PH: 03 8663 2583 or
Complete program is available at


Keynote speech by John O'Neal (US)
Friday 3 February, 6pm at ACMI Cinemas - Tickets:  Full $15 / Concession $12

Best of International Digital Storytelling
Opening Wednesday 1 February, 10am in the Memory Grid, Ground Floor, ACMI, Free Exhibition

Further information

Danielle Poulos, ACMI Communciations Coordinator
Tel: 8663 2415
Mob: 0417 540 543

Justin Rogers, ACMI Communications Coordinator
Tel: 8663 2475
Mob: 0412 172 887

Facebook icon   Twitter icon   Contact Us Terms of Use Privacy Site Map   Share and Print   Victorian Government Website