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July 16, 2014

Digital storytelling workshop to help tornado victims

NORMAN — Looking for ways to make use of the University of Oklahoma Writing Center’s services in the community, the center has developed the digital storytelling workshop “Survivors in Motion” to help last year’s tornadoes survivors.

The three-part workshop will take place from 1 to 6 p.m., for three consecutive Fridays — July 18, July 25 and Aug. 1 — at the Moore Public Library, 225 S. Howard Ave.

OU Writing Center Director Dr. Michele Eodice said the workshop is an extension of the support OU provided for the recovery effort in the weeks after the May 2013 tornadoes hit.

“Now that a year has passed, we want to give survivors, care givers and first responders an opportunity to share stories of their strength and resilience,” Eodice said.

Research shows writing is a powerful healing tool and can help people recover from disasters. Rachel Jackson, OU Writing Center’s community project developer, said the workshop will help those affected by the tornadoes process their experiences.

With guidance from the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, Calif., the OU Writing Center developed its digital storytelling workshop. Similar workshops have been hosted in other communities impacted by severe weather, such as Joplin, Mo. This is the first time the OU Writing Center will host a writing workshop for the community, Jackson said.

Digital storytelling combines narration, images, video and sound to tell a story. By the end of the workshop, participants will have produced a three- to four-minute video to share with others as they wish.Digital stories created in the workshop will focus on recovery experiences.

Jackson will lead the workshop with the assistance of graduate students Taylor Smith, Jordan Woodward, Katie Bramlett and Ivan Ozbolt, as well as Eodice, OU Writing Center Assistant Director Moria Ozias and Oklahoma City University professor Brooke Hessler.

“While the finished stories will be powerful, the process of putting the digital stories together is the most important part,” Jackson said. “By the end of the first day, we hope to have created a safe space, so that everyone can share the story they plan to tell.”

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