'Telling Stories – the power of personal narrative in post-disaster communities’

Ailsa Richardson, James Fyfe, Mike Wilson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper is aimed at exploring the potential of computer based communications technology with people who have experienced disasters in telling their own stories and sharing them with others in post-disaster communities throughout the world to build resilience and rebuild communities. The paper draws on evidence from a pilot project making digital stories with people who have experienced flooding in the UK. The production of digital stories is part of a slew of nascent creative forms, which amalgamate new technology, filmmaking, photography, story and social purpose. The concept that is being developed is one of an interactive and conversational media that represents digital stories as an extension of the quotidian storytelling of everyday life. The paper proposes four main roles for Digital Storytelling within the field of post- disaster management: 1. as a way of individually and collectively assimilating events 2. as a way of conveying crucial information about the experiences of disaster communities to disaster planning committees and emergency organisations. In this sense it has significant potential as a training and planning tool and as an educational resource, presenting information in personal ways that are often missed out in the official channels of communication. 3. communities and individuals are able to communicate directly with each other to share experience and action required to ameliorate their situation 4. as a way of rebuilding technological infrastructure in terms of both physical digital infrastructure (kit, cables, wireless, etc.) and the skills base The pilot is concerned mostly, but not exclusively, with the second of these imperatives. This research gives some insight into how digital storytelling can be valuable in post disaster contexts and what methodologies are appropriate. Ultimately the paper proposes an extension of the pilot project and further work to develop a practice which enables storytelling to reach its potential as a valuable additional tool in disaster management.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationN/A
Publication statusUnpublished - 1 Jan 1990
Event Dealing with Disasters International Conference - Kathmandu, Nepal
Duration: 1 Nov 20091 Nov 2009


Presentation Dealing with Disasters International Conference


  • digital storytelling
  • flood communities
  • disaster management


Dive into the research topics of ''Telling Stories – the power of personal narrative in post-disaster communities’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this