Digital Stories of Coming to Learn

In this research project, I worked with a method called digital storytelling and facilitated two digital storytelling workshops for newcomer and low-income women in collaboration with two community-based organizations in Toronto – Central Neighbourhood House and the Centre for Community Learning and Development. Through the documentation of these workshops and interviews with participants, I explore how the digital stories of these women and the processes of their production, might function as transitional and transnational spaces that allow for the complex negotiation of multiple selves, times and places. Through this study, I consider both the limits and the possibilities of self-expression and the complex relationship between knowing the self and representing the self.

In the digital stories created by the women in the study, the coherence of the spoken autobiographical narrative is both undermined and enriched by the various ruptures, contradictions, and gaps posed by the juxtaposition of multiple sound, text, and visual images. In this way, the stories offer complex insights into the experience of migrating and not migrating, growing up and not growing up, leaving home and not leaving home, being a daughter and not being a daughter, being Canadian and not being Canadian, and so on. In their stories, these women occupy multiple selves and their experiences do not fit easily within the totalizing discourses that aim to locate ‘women’ and ‘immigrant women’ in particular ways.