Videos bringing generations together

Participant John chats to Xanthe about the multigenerational project.

By Tania Phillips

South East Queensland has being playing host to an intergenerational storytelling project aimed at bringing together older people and teens to tell and share their stories.

The project forms part of Bolton Clarke’s Research Institute’s program of work using digital storytelling and reminiscence to build connections.

The Institute’s Fellow Xanthe Golenko said it was a valuable program which was fostering important connections.

Xanthe said while the most recent program was held in Toowoomba she would like to see it expand around Brisbane and the south east region.

“Going back to the beginning there is a gentleman in Melbourne who has actually been creating these Intergenerational digital storytelling projects for 15 years and I had met him,” she said.

“I then had an opportunity to work with a high school here and they really wanted to do a project with life stories and working with older people,” she explained.

“I said I have the perfect project for you.”

From there a retirement village came on board and the project began in earnest.

“Essentially the project is bringing older adults together with students to create a digital story,” she explained.

“A digital story essentially is just video footage, images, moving images, music, narrative – coming all together in a short video – usually about three minutes long.

“The story can be about anything. For example some of our stories are about music or dancing, exploring in the wilderness, growing up on a farm – anything really that the older adults and students have as a common interest.

“From having that common interest they are able to compare their own experiences of what it was like back in the day doing these things compared to what it is like for the young people now.

“Through doing a meaningful project together – especially where they have to create an output where there is all sorts of problem solving and coming up with ideas they form these incredible bonds.”

Forming intergenerational bonds and relationships has benefits for both the older adults and the students.

The projects had a special screening but will be available online however Xanthe hoped they would have a wider reach than just the families and friends of those involved.

“I would love to see local councils screen these videos in a digital exhibition in a local town hall just because it can be really beneficial for the local community to view these videos,” she said.

It is hoped that the project will expand and involve more groups.

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