11 / 03 / 2021

From so far to so close - storytelling in the SO-CLOSE Project

Hi, it’s Karol from the VDA team. In my last article “Technology connecting stories from the present and the past”, I explained how technology is connecting the stories from the present and the past in our project. Today, I want to tell you more about Storytelling, its purpose in the project, and how we use it to get more attention from you now, and hopefully in the future.

Storytelling lies at the very heart of the SO-CLOSE project. We truly believe that sharing stories and putting them side by side to view from another perspective, is the key to mutual understanding. Reading and understanding stories of not only refugees, but anyone, helps one to understand another perspective, motivations, and often similarities in the decisions and choices the protagonists make.

In this way, SO-CLOSE is all about storytelling. This is motivated by the project’s technical goal, which is to create and develop the TOOLBOX for the three digital narrative platforms along with the MCP platform, which is designed to gather all materials from the duration of the project. We hope to find and reach as many individuals and institutions, promoting the use of our tools from them to create and compare stories by themselves so that they can create new narratives on their own.

In other words, we look for and gather narratives, and then we develop tools which will tell and compare stories gathered both by SO-CLOSE and the institutions which will be future users of the tool in the best way possible .

But SO-CLOSE is also looking for, gathering, and telling stories as it goes. And this is why  cultural institutions, NGOs, and universities are a big part of our consortium. They are responsible for finding stories from the past, but also those happening in the present. These stories, woven together, will be the content filling the Digital Tools, and the fuel for the project’s current communication and social media channels. For almost two years, and for one more to come, the Communication Team keeps our followers updated on the stories we found, heard, and want to share. This is why the SO-CLOSE Series was created, which for the time being consist of SO-CLOSE Storylines and SO-CLOSE Historylines.

SO-CLOSE Storylines was the first series provided by the project. The 24 stories were chosen by and written in cooperation with the four cultural institutions – VDA, MUME, Monte, and GFR. Storylines are stories from the present shared with the teams during the Focus Groups run in 2020 which took place in Poland, Greece, Italy, and Spain. These stories, told by the interviewees, showcase the struggles facing people in today’s world, explain how the current arrival system works, and how it helps them. The interviewees told our partners about their loves, fears, prejudice, and cultural bias they often have to face in host countries.

On the other hand, SO-CLOSE Historylines are stories provided by historians working with the project, primarily by MUME. The series focuses on migration stories from the past, showing how often those we did not expect, including artists, lived many years in a refuge. These stories, so different from the Storylines Series, are at the same time very similar. They reflect the struggles and decisions that many Europeans know from the stories shared by their family elders.

Storytelling is the heart of SO-CLOSE. For the next series, we want to share with you artistic pieces created by refugees. This way, for the first time, it will be refugees telling you their stories with their voices. If you have any materials you would like to share, don’t hesitate to contact us!

From so far to so close.

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