Report: Roundtable on Digital Storytelling
Last week I was in Berlin for a day in order to participate in a Round Table on Digital Storytelling in ancient studies. I was presenting myself, but also listened to other presentations on the topic. The presentations were really interesting, covering topics on museum studies, teaching, and human-centered computing.
In the morning, we had three presentations (including mine). The first by Chantal Eschenfelder talked about Digital Storytelling in an art museum and how digital projects try to engage the visitor before, during, and after the museum visit. The challenge here was to develop solutions suiting a wide range of people in museums, as all visitors are different (and bring their own stories).
In the second presentation, Katrin Glinka talked about human-machine interactions and how to implement this in teaching and learning. Especially the medium of Mixed Reality was important as here accurate information can be combined with technical playfulness. Also, human-AI collaboration was discussed, for example how AI can help to search and inspire digital research.
My own presentation was about my course on Archaeogaming in Cologne. I first explained what Archaeogaming is, how the course is structured, and finally presented three examples of student-created games. I finally summarised how Digital Storytelling is especially important when using the medium of video games. Here, students need to be very creative in finding narrative solutions.
The discussion afterwards was interesting as well. After presenting a student’s game in which the player plays ancient spirits that recover stolen artefacts from a museum and finally fight the person that stole the object, I got asked if I ever had feedback from museums that might not like the idea. I hadn’t, although I can’t imagine this to happen, as the critique in these games is present but made tastefully.
In the afternoon, we had two more presentations. First, Ute Marxreiter was presenting family and kids areas of the Ethnological Museum in the Humboldt-Forum in Berlin. In these displays, kids can discover indigenous stories of the Amazonas co-developed by indigenous specialists. The display looked very nice, and the kids had to actively participate in the story, jump around and do other stuff, so the story progressed. It is indeed a very nice idea.
The last presentation was by Farwah Rizvi working for the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin. As the museum is closing for a couple of years due to restorations, she and her colleagues developed an online platform in which people can discover stories about various objects of the museum. One project that I found especially interesting was the intentional slicing of a carpet duplicate into 100 pieces. The museum distributed these pieces all around the world and they will be in circulation in the coming next three years. After that period, whoever has a piece of the carpet can send it back to the museum. The museum will sew it back together. Wonderful idea (if it actually will work)!
All in all this was an inspiring day and I took a lot with me on the topic on how to create stories to teach about the past and how to utilise Digital Storytelling.