Screen and Media - Collected Works

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    Mediating identity narratives : a case study in queer digital storytelling as everyday activism
    (AOIR, 2011) Vivienne, Sonja
    Digital Stories are short autobiographical documentaries, often illustrated with personal photographs and narrated in the first person, and typically produced in group workshops. As a media form they offer ‘ordinary people’ the opportunity to represent themselves to audiences of their choosing; and this amplification of hitherto unheard voices has significant repercussions for their social participation. Many of the storytellers involved in the ‘Rainbow Family Tree’ case study that is the subject of this paper can be characterised as ‘everyday’ activists for their common desire to use their personal stories to increase social acceptance of marginalised identity categories. However, in conflict with their willingness to share their personal stories, many fear the risks and ramifications of distributing them in public spaces (especially online) to audiences both intimate and unknown. Additionally, while technologies for production and distribution of rich media products have become more accessible and user-friendly, many obstacles remain. For many people there are difficulties with technological access and aptitude, personal agency, cultural capital, and social isolation, not to mention availability of the time and energy requisite to Digital Storytelling. Additionally, workshop context, facilitation and distribution processes all influence the content of stories. This paper explores the many factors that make ‘authentic’ self-representation far from straight forward. I use qualitative data drawn from interviews, Digital Story texts and ethnographic observation of GLBTQIS1 participants in a Digital Storytelling initiative that combined face-to-face and online modes of participation. I consider mediating influences in practice and theory and draw on strategies put forth in cultural anthropology and narrative therapy to propose some practical tools for nuanced and sensitive facilitation of Digital Storytelling workshops and webspaces. Finally, I consider the implications of these facilitation strategies for voice, identity and social participation.
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    Shouting from the Rooftops: Queer Digital Storytelling for Social Impact
    (Peter Lang Publishin Inc., 2011) Vivienne, Sonja
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    Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) as a tool for digital citizenship: preliminary surveys in India and Australia
    (Australian and New Zealand Communication Association, 2014) Vivienne, Sonja ; Potter, M ; Thomas, P
    This article explores the links between Digital Citizenship and e-literacy initiatives that use Free and Open Source Software (henceforth referred to as FOSS). We present early hypotheses arising from initial surveys undertaken in development of a larger research project that compares FOSS-enabled Digital Citizenship in India and Australia.
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    Trans Digital Storytelling: Everyday Activism, Mutable Identity and the Problem of Visibility
    (Australian Psychological Society, 2011) Vivienne, Sonja
    Mainstream representations of trans people typically run the gamut from victim to mentally ill and are almost always articulated by non-trans voices. The era of user-generated digital content and participatory culture has heralded unprecedented opportunities for trans people who wish to speak their own stories in public spaces. Digital Storytelling, as an easy accessible autobiographic audio-visual form, offers scope to play with multi-dimensional and ambiguous representations of identity that contest mainstream assumptions of what it is to be ‘male’ or ‘female’. Also, unlike mainstream media forms, online and viral distribution of Digital Stories offer potential to reach a wide range of audiences, which is appealing to activist oriented storytellers who wish to confront social prejudices. However, with these newfound possibilities come concerns regarding visibility and privacy, especially for storytellers who are all too aware of the risks of being ‘out’ as trans. This paper explores these issues from the perspective of three trans storytellers, with reference to the Digital Stories they have created and shared online and on DVD. These examplars are contextualised with some popular and scholarly perspectives on trans representation, in particular embodied and performed identity. It is contended that trans Digital Stories, while appearing in some ways to be quite conventional, actually challenge common notions of gender identity in ways that are both radical and transformative.
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    The Remediation of the Personal Photograph and the Politics of Self-representation in Digital Storytelling
    (SAGE Publications, 2013) Vivienne, Sonja ; Burgess, J
    Over the past couple of decades, the cultural field formerly known as ‘domestic’, and later ‘personal’ photography has been remediated and transformed as part of the social web, with its convergence of personal expression, interpersonal communication and online social networks (most recently via platforms such as Flickr, Facebook and Twitter). Meanwhile, the digital storytelling movement (involving the workshop-based production of short autobiographical videos) from its beginnings in the mid-1990s relied heavily on the narrative power of the personal photograph, often sourced from family albums and later from online archives. This article addresses the new issues arising for the politics of self-representation and personal photography in the era of social media, focusing particularly on the consequences of online image-sharing. It discusses in detail the practices of selection, curation, manipulation and editing of personal photographic images among a group of activist-oriented queer digital storytellers who have in common a stated desire to share their personal stories in pursuit of social change and whose stories often aim to address both intimate and antagonistic publics.
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    Networked Identity Work as Project Development Among Co-Creative Communities
    (Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University, 2013) Vivienne, Sonja
    Networked identity work is the conscious negotiation or co-creation of identity, enacted by speaking and listening across differences among multiple publics, including those real and imagined, familiar and unknown, on and offline, present and future. It is a concept I explore extensively in research with queer Digital Storytellers who share their personal stories in public places to catalyse social change (Vivienne 2013). In this article I consider distinctions between ‘story’ and ‘identity’; ‘networking’ and ‘networked identity work’ and argue that the two concepts may be usefully employed in development of co-creative community projects. Finally I consider how variable definitions of co-creativity influence project development.