Digital Storytelling As a Teaching Strategy in the Smithsonian Learning Lab: Exploring the Theme of Representation, by Self and Others
Dr. Antonia Liguori (Loughborough University, UK, https://learninglab.si.edu/profile/24977) and Dr. Philippa Rappoport (Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, US https://learninglab.si.edu/profile/212) co-facilitated a three-day workshop in Rome, Italy, as part of the Master’s in Museum Education at the University of Roma Tre to reflect on the use of digital storytelling as a strategy in the Smithsonian Learning Lab.
The Learning Lab and Digital Storytelling were used as ‘platforms’ to explore the concept of representation. During the workshop they considered the curator’s voice, the artist’s representation of self and others, and the museum visitor’s interpretation. They also considered self-representation in social media and its place in the cultural and visual landscape of the 21st century.
Participants explored two exhibitions; one in Washington, DC, and one in Rome, Italy. The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery exhibition, Eye to I: Self-Portraiture as an Exploration of Identity (https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/IgLygJNprGf3JA and https://npg.si.edu/exhibition/eye-i-self-portraits-1900-today) compels viewers to consider how self-portraits reflect an artist’s identity through what is revealed and concealed. The National Gallery of Modern Art’s exhibition in Rome, Donne. Corpo e immagine tra simbolo e rivoluzione / Women: Body and Image between Symbol and Revolution, explores representations of the female body in the twentieth century, with a focus on the effects of World War II, Feminism, Freud, and a rapidly changing society.
Workshop participants had the opportunity to consider how multiple voices and stories can be revealed depending on the creator and viewer/listener, and how these multiple perspectives can lead to a deeper understanding of an object or concept.
A Learning Lab collection was developed to deliver the workshop. This collection includes:
– a short icebreaker activity using exhibition images to start shifting from a cognitive appreciation of art to a personal connection to museum objects;
– some examples of annotated objects that demonstrate the functionality of the Learning Lab;
– some examples of digital stories made by other educators during previous Digital Storytelling workshops ’embedded’ in the Learning Lab;
– a description of the Digital Storytelling process, with templates for storyboarding and a few tips for audio and video editing;
– participants’ digital stories;
– supplemental resources.