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Personal narratives in film: The power of digital storytelling in researching the human experience

December 10, 2020
12:00 PM EST - 1:15 PM EST
Online via Zoom
Camera filming women telling her personal narrative.

On December 10, CERC Migration hosted a panel of experts to explore how digital storytelling aids the research process. Today, a range of approaches are being implemented across digital platforms that provide a unique window into the attitudes and perspectives of research subjects. What are the creative considerations and approaches to ensure success? How does this format lend itself to research analysis in novel ways? Are there other communicative benefits beyond the immediate research design?

Two filmmakers and two academics shared perspectives of digital storytelling, referencing their recent work in two digital storytelling initiatives:

  • Workers, external link is an interactive documentary created under the auspices of the Horizon2020 research project, SIRIUS.  The series of short films focuses on the integration of refugees and migrant workers in the European job market. The films present the personal narratives of both local employers and migrants in a wide variety of jobs sectors to understand their labour market integration experiences.
  • i am… is a digital storytelling project launched by CERC Migration to explore matters of identity, belonging and citizenship in Canada today. The project engages and trains 25 graduate students from across Canada to produce their audiovisual accounts of what it means to be Canadian.  


Simone Baglioni, Professor of Sociology, University of Parma and Project Coordinator, SIRIUS Project

Alberto Bougleux, Filmmaker at SIRIUS project and author of the web documentary, "Workers"

Cyrus Sundar Singh, Filmmaker and Project Leader, i am…, CERC Migration, Ryerson University 

Dominika Spyratou, Advocacy Officer, Solidarity Now

Anna Triandafyllidou, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration, Ryerson University and Team Leader, SIRIUS Project