The E-Shahrazad Festival in Strasbourg

February 2023 brings to an end an innovative project which has seen Loughborough University’s Storytelling Academy sharing digital storytelling expertise with a community of educators across Europe.
E-SHAHRAZAD is an Erasmus plus strategic partnership project in the field of Adult Education with a remit to help bridge the gap between younger and senior generations across Europe by using stories as a tool for the discovery of common ground.

Beginning in 2021, the two-year project has resulted in the creation of a Digital Storytelling Hub containing information, guides and other learning materials such as podcasts and open source videos in English, Italian, French, Portuguese and Turkish, which anyone working anywhere in adult education is free to make use of.

Dr Antonia Liguori and her team of storytellers set the E-SHAHRAZAD project off to a fine start with training in April 2022 at the home of project partners Associazione Culturale EduVita E.T.S. in Lecce, Italy. There, they shared the digital storytelling methodo with adult educators from every partner country, who then disseminated the activities to teaching staff and learners back in their own settings. A bank of digital stories were created in Lecce to act as examples for educators using the project’s online platform.

In September 2022, the Storytelling Academy team were welcomed by Inovatif Dusunce Dernegi – the Innovative Thinking Association – in Ankara, Turkey, where they supported project partners to develop training materials for uploading to the hub. The UK team chose to frame a theoretical intergenerational workshop idea around the topic of a home town, this being something educators in other localities could easily replicate.

In early February 2023, the Storytelling team travelled to the final project meeting in Strasbourg, France, to the base of E-SHAHRAZAD project coordinators Association Culturelle des Jeunes Turcs de Bar le Duc. Here, project partners shared their experiences of running digital storytelling sessions in their own organisations, discussed best practices in staging innovative intergenerational projects of this kind and shared their thoughts and digital stories with educators, young people and members of the public in a Festival of Digital Storytelling in the beautiful Salle Leon XII in the centre of the city.

‘Digitial storytelling is an interactive process where knowledge is shared from both sides,’ said Helder Luiz Santos of Portuguese partner organisation CAI Conversas Associacao Internacional. ‘And this project, too, has revealed a lot about how well organisations can work together, even when they’re from different countries.’