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Digital stories of small historic towns project

Related priority: A Europe fit for the digital age.


The world in the palm of your hand

A small historic town like Fermo (Italy), Radovljica (Slovenia), or Topola (Serbia) can seem like the centre of the world to someone who lives there – but remains unknown to outsiders.

How to bring these towns to life when their main cultural resources are an underfunded, traditional museum, or tourist monuments with little appeal to younger visitors?

Digital media are perfect vehicles for sharing the real-life stories, history, music and traditions that are the life force of these hidden urban jewels. These media are particularly effective when their content is created by and with the residents themselves, from schoolchildren and tech-savvy teenagers, to senior citizens with their vast store of memories and tales to tell.

Digital stories of small historic towns (diStory) is a compelling effort to bring the old and new together, helping to make a Europe fit for the digital age, putting small towns literally on the global map.

To get young people interested in their local heritage we have to tap into their language and interests, using the digital media they have grown up with.

But local memory often lies in the untold personal stories of senior citizens who may be unfamiliar with new media.

DiStory used a mix of interviews, workshops and meetings with local people of all ages to gather and tell the stories of three historic small towns – Fermo (Italy), Radovljica (Slovenia), and Topola (Serbia). .

joint video produced by the three participating towns introduces their mobile apps, explaining how they can be used to take a virtual tour of the various places of interest, with the option of using a virtual reality viewer to further enhance the experience.

Local residents’ stories make fascinating reading, too, allowing visitors to get a more intimate, personal view of each town and its history.

The diStory website offers an overview of the project, seen through the lenses of the three participating towns, with links to supporting material, teaching tools and the human faces behind the project.

A downloadable e-booklet presents tips and practical advice on digital storytelling, with lessons learned from the project that will be helpful to other small towns wishing to produce their own guides and materials.

Young people used their own content and helped seniors create a digital story to present their home town.

Jerneja Jelovčan Koselj, Museum Educator, Project Coordinator of diStory.

Tagged in:  Creative Europe