Showcasing Orkney through digital storytelling

Robert Gordon University, in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands are collaborating on The Orkney Project, a new Digital Storytelling Platform which will showcase the history, culture and heritage of the Orkneys.

The project aims to address the challenges of developing a digital platform for curating and presenting social and historical stories. The Royal Society of Edinburgh has pledged £10,000 to fund the project.

The team are using the findings of an online conference called ‘Angles of Vision: Storytelling on the cosmic tide?’, which took place in January 2021 to inform their work on The Orkney Project. The symposium, originally planned to be held in person was forced to run online due to the global pandemic. However, the online platform enabled a broader range of people from all over the world to participate.

Who’s Behind The Orkney Project?

The project is being led by Dr Rachael Ironside, Senior Lecturer and Researcher at RGU’s School of Creative and Cultural Business. Working alongside her are, Dr Stewart Massie, Reader at RGU’s School of Computing; and Professor Donna Heddle, Director of the University of the Highlands and Islands Institute for Northern Studies.

The Orkney Project’s website details the initiative’s goals, stating:

The development of digital platforms to present and share stories has become an increasingly popular method of engaging visitors with heritage, landscape and culture. However, the development of digital storytelling platforms is often expensive, time-consuming and requires technical expertise. This can lead to sustainability issues with maintaining platforms, as well as questions related to the most effective way to collect, curate and present stories in a digital format. 

This project seeks to identify and explore the challenges and opportunities posed in the development of digital platforms, and the curation and presentation of stories. It is intended that the findings developed from the workshops will benefit not only this project but have wider reaching impacts for the development and implementation of digital story based projects locally, nationally and internationally. These challenges concern the collection and representation of stories, and also the sustainability of digital platforms beyond the end of the project. 

Professor Donna Heddle said:

Sharing stories is part of the lived experience of communities, past, present, and future. This digital story project will allow us to preserve and promote these stories in new ways which will give more access and indeed more ownership of them to the people who created them. It is a very exciting step forward for cultural history.

Orkney
Photo by Jasmin Gorsuch on Unsplash

The project is also being supported by a number of stakeholders. These include, Orkneyology, VisitScotland, Orkney Renewable Energy Forum/Aquatera, Destination Orkney and the Orkney Islands Council.

Feature Image by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

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