Project Brief 2021

Our Planet: Digital Storytelling Festival, Artwork and Multilingual Poetry

Welcome again to the project which has been rescheduled to run from 2020-21 with the festival planned for Friday 11 June 2021. We hope you will still be able to take part in the project which is now in its ninth year and is currently supported by a grant from Goldsmiths Public Engagement Fund. We are working with schools in England, Taiwan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany and Italy (tbc) and a range of languages will be represented. The Co-Researchers running this project are Dr Jim Anderson, Dr Yu-Chiao Chung and Dr Vicky Macleroy. The project is supported by IT specialist, Graham Salter and the films will be shown at Goldsmiths, University of London.

In these uncertain times we believe that the theme of ‘Our Planet’ is a crucial topic for young people to be engaging with, researching, and finding out how to change and improve their environments. We have been discussing how to widen the scope of the festival and, as well as the digital stories on the theme of ‘Our Planet’, we will be encouraging students to produce art posters and write multilingual poetry to express their views.

 Aims of the digital storytelling project

  1. Connect children and young people with their environment, cultural heritage, and languages through telling stories that matter.
  2. Develop children’s imagination, creativity and multilingual repertories.
  3. Improve children’s communication skills and their ability to make meaning through narrative and still/moving images.
  4. Enable creative and critical use of digital technology to transform stories.
  5. Encourage critical thinking, active citizenship and international partnerships.
  6. Develop children’s understanding of aesthetics and narration through creating artwork and poetry.

Stages of the project

The Teachers’ Handbook provides practical guidance for embedding multilingual digital storytelling work within a thematic unit of work and planning the following stages:

  1. Pre-production 
  2. Production
  3. Post-production

Timeline for participation in the multilingual digital storytelling festival 2021

  • Planning for the project – start to look for stories and resources linked with the theme of the environment – Our Planet (November – December 2020).
  • Pre-production – start work with the children on creating and transforming the stories (January- March 2021).
  • Production – film and edit the digital stories (April – May 2021). Submit the finished digital story (3 – 5 minute story) by Friday 21 May 2021.
  • Post-production – present the digital stories at Goldsmiths, University of London on Friday 11 June 2021.

The following are important notes to keep in mind about the project:

  1. The project theme for 2020-21 is Our Planet. At a time when environmental concerns are more pressing than ever, it is important to offer opportunities for young people both to develop their understanding of the issues locally and globally and to make their voices heard. For example, students could be asked to develop story ideas around any of the following: rewilding and saving species; plastic and food waste; local wildlife story; eco-warrior campaign; designing a city of the future; tree story; walking/cycling to school; bird migration; protecting our rivers and seas. Students may well have other takes and their ideas should be taken on board. The environment is a theme that features as part of the curriculum in most schools and thus may open up opportunities for valuable interdisciplinary collaborations.
  2. Careful planning is essential to guide students through the stages of developing ideas, storyboarding and scripting, filming, editing, presenting to an audience. Detailed advice is provided in the project’s Handbook for Teachers and in a range of other resources which can be accessed through the Professional Development section of the project website:

Teachers will need to take into account students’ language levels and help them to draw on structures and vocabulary that they are already familiar with as well as feeding in some new language. Some examples of language used in digital stories are provided in sections 7 and 12 of the Handbook for Teachers. We have found that there can be great benefits from involving parents in supporting digital storytelling projects and guidance on this can be found in section 9 of the Handbook for Teachers. For instance, at Saint Jérôme Church of England Bilingual School, Silke Fernandes (parent) has been working with a group of students to include a range of home languages in their digital stories. Digital stories can incorporate poetry and song and this is something that teachers may wish to encourage.

  • Please note that the Digital Storytelling Festival 2021 will take place at Goldsmiths, University of London on Friday 11 June 2020 from 1.00 – 4.00 pm. The deadline for submitting films is Friday 21May 2021. Fuller information about this event will be provided in due course.
  • We have recently updated our project website. It includes:
  • General information about the project

A summary of work and links to a sample of films made over the years

  • Guidance and resources for teachers

  • We are planning to create some videos on filmmaking, poetry and artwork to support schools in running the project. We will share children’s literature, poetry and art resources on the theme of ‘Our Planet’ across schools and languages.

Multilingual Poetry Workshop 2021: Our Planet

We are delighted that the multilingual poetry workshop will be opened by Michael Rosen performing some of his poems. The multilingual poetry workshop is currently planned as part of the digital storytelling festival 2021. This will be a 2-hour workshop on Friday 11 June from 10.00 am – 12.00 pm led by poetsand project workshop leaders at Goldsmiths, University of London for students participating in the film festival.

We are excited that Michaël Vidon, spoken word artist, poet and French teacher, has agreed to support and lead the multilingual poetry workshop as part of the digital storytelling festival. He is a graduate from Goldsmiths and has been involved in multilingual poetry projects. This is a recent collaboration with an illustrator:

Picturing Poetry: Mon Premier Souvenir

We understand the pandemic has changed the way that we plan and work and we will be continually reviewing the festival and the best way to run it safely for all participants. We will decide nearer the time whether schools can attend the event at Goldsmiths or participate through online streaming of the festival. We hope overseas schools will participate remotely.

We would like to wish you and your students every success in your multilingual digital storytelling, poetry and artwork this year.

Feel free to get in touch at any point:

Jim Anderson:

Yu-Chiao Chung:

Vicky Macleroy: