Friday, 12 April 2013

Digital stories

Have you ever seen yourself on a cinema screen? Imagine what a thrill it would be to see yourself so large; so different to a usual size photograph even on a computer or TV. That's what happened for 9 young people, their families and friends on Thursday this week at the Tyneside Cinema

Make your MarkIt was the culmination, in fact the World Premier of a joint project between Children North East and digital story maker Alex Henry who is also known as Creative Curiosity funded by a grant from Newcastle City Council's 'Make Your Mark' programme for Scotswood and Benwell.

Alex helps people make and record their own story using computer technology. She worked with local children, young people and parents from Benwell and Scotswood and Sara Bryson from Children North East at our Head Office in Benwell.

They started by sharing their likes, dislikes, hopes, what they love and dislike, gradually getting to know each other. Next each decided the story they wanted to tell and with help from Alex and support from each other planned how to tell it, write it down, select or make pictures to illustrate it and finally put it all together using a computer. The result was 9 short original picture shows that are funny, quirky, poignant stories about real life in Benwell and Scotswood today.

You can see these stories too online. Samir takes us on a tour of Benwell today and reflects on the past in 'That's Benwell' and Darren describes the 'degeneration' of Scotswood in 'My Story'. Cain, Naomi and Darren tell us about their family, each in their own way in 'My Family' 'Home Sweet Home' and 'My Family Circus'.

'Tilly and Mitsy's Express' is Molly's story of her dog while Ubayed reveals a little known corner of school life in 'Are You Selling'.

The last two stories are about the future, Ryan tells about his ambition to set up a greengrocers and cafe using locally grown fruit and veg in 'Freshly Cuttings' and Shuayb explains why he is looking forward to the Islamic School opening at 'The Mitre (Benwell Towers)' and hopes the whole community will welcome it.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this project which gave them a unique opportunity. They were so pleased, proud (and a bit shocked) to see their work on the big screen in a proper cinema with their families and friends. Some of the children are inspired to do more, their experience of this project has made them feel that is achievable.

The stories will be offered to Tyne and Wear Museums to be included in the archive of Benwell and Scotswood.

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