Big Stories, Small Towns: Strathewen

Potter, Martin, and Geer, Celeste (2013) Big Stories, Small Towns: Strathewen. Big Stories Co., VIC, Australia.

[img]
Preview
Image (PNG) (Big Stories - Strathewen website homepage) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (6MB) | Preview
[img]
Preview
Image (PNG) (Big Stories - Strathewen Information on Strathewen) - Supplemental Material
Download (2MB) | Preview
[img] Video (QuickTime) (Big Stories - Strathewen_chooks [Large Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (145MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen_chooks [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (28MB)
[img] Video (QuickTime) (Big Stories - Strathewen: environmental recovery [High Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (140MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen: environmental recovery [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (29MB)
[img] Video (QuickTime) (Big Stories - Strathewen: letterboxes [High Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (245MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen: letterboxes, part1 [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (28MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen: letterboxes, part 2 [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (24MB)
[img] Video (QuickTime) (Big Stories - Strathewen: rebuilding Mitchell Hall [High Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (79MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen: rebuilding Mitchell Hall [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (26MB)
[img] Video (QuickTime) (Big Stories - Strathewen: Malcolm [High Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (109MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen: Malcolm [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (27MB)
[img] Video (QuickTime) (Big Stories - Strathewen: SCRA [High Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (276MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen: SCRA, part 1 [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (27MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen: SCRA, part 2 [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (26MB)
[img] Video (QuickTime) (Big Stories - Strathewen: resident support [High Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (176MB)
[img] Video (MP4) (Big Stories - Strathewen: resident support [Low Resolution]) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (29MB)
[img]
Preview
Image (PNG) (Big Stories - Strathewen: dreams) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview
[img]
Preview
Image (PNG) (Big Stories - Strathewen: community recovery) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (7MB) | Preview
[img]
Preview
Image (PNG) (Big Stories - Strathewen: community elders) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (5MB) | Preview
[img]
Preview
Image (PNG) (Big Stories - Strathewen: history) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview
[img]
Preview
Image (PNG) (Big Stories - Strathewen: Singing Waters) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (3MB) | Preview
[img] PDF (Big Stories - Strathewen) - Supplemental Material
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.

Download (17kB)
View at Publisher Website: http://bigstories.com.au/towns/strathewe...
 
157


Abstract

There is a disconnect between communities that have experienced trauma and agencies seeking to support the recovery of those communities. Community-led recovery can be difficult to imagine for both sides. One possible mechanism to develop strategies for bridging this divide is through community storytelling.

This research project saw the Big Stories, Small Towns transmedia documentary project take place Strathewen as part of bushfire recovery activities. The intent of the research was to investigate and create a working model of community storytelling that would form a multitude of outcomes - from archive of community experiences for the community, to a story bridge that could be used as case studies by agencies working with communities recovering from trauma.

Strathewen is in a valley 40 kilometres from Melbourne at the foot of the Kinglake Ranges. It lies in the shadow of Mt Sugarloaf. Arthur’s Creek runs through its heart. Home to the Wurundjeri people, Strathewen was settled by selectors in the 1870s. Over a century it became a thriving farming community of vineyards, orchards, cattle and sheep. The names of many families who selected holdings in those early years are still present in the valley today. More recently, families moved to Strathewen because of its natural beauty and close-knit community which centered around the historic local hall (c.1902) and school (c.1917).

But on the 7th of February 2009, Black Saturday, Strathewen was devastated. Fires travelling for three hours from Kilmore East approached the town without any official warning. The ensuing loss of life, property and environment was unimaginable. 27 of Strathewen’s 200 residents were killed and most of the houses in the area were destroyed, as was the school, the fire station and community hall. Everyone in the town experienced loss and trauma of some form. For the next three years, filmmaker and resident Celeste Geer documented her community rebuilding their lives. Then The Wind Changed was selected for prestigious international festivals and screened on the ABC. But only some of the stories could be told.

The town formed a community led renewal association and sought to capture learnings of their journey to recovery through a multi-modal, multi-voiced storytelling process. This process reflects the multi-faceted stages of the recovery and renewal journey. In addition the community sought to have the stories emerging from the research archived in a single site for future reference and dissemination.

Martin Potter, leading the Big Stories team worked with Celeste Geer and made Strathewen their residency during Autumn 2012. Local people in the area were given the opportunity to create their own stories by participating in digital storytelling workshops run by the Big Stories team as well as photo essays and oral history recordings. Stories were created with community collaboration and premiered in Strathewen on completion. The works are now held in archive by Strathewen council, and lodged in permanent archive at the National Film and Sound Archive. Stories are owned by the community and licensed to the Big Stories project and are publically accessible online at www.bigstories.com.au

The Big Stories project in Strathewen examined the potential and limitations of storytelling for victims of trauma – specifically bushfire. Attention is focused on the experience of victims and survivors of the Black Saturday bushfires telling stories of loss, recovery and renewal with a view to create a multi-vocal archive of communal experiences that can serve a multitude of purposes including as memorial, as therapeutic experience and as powerful first person case studies that can inform agencies involved in future events. The intent of this community-led storytelling process was to establish a collective solidarity, wider acknowledgment of their experience by both recovery agencies and wider society and to provide what they feel is a diverse, ‘truthful’ (legitimate) and inclusive account of stories emerging from the experience of the Black Saturday fires.

The mixed methods employed include facilitated digital storytelling workshops, participatory photography programs and filmmaker created stories. These methods have been refined through the Big Stories project since 2008 and emerged from a wide range of participatory documentary storytelling and photography practices.

Key story threads that emerged explore the event of the bushfire and the immediate aftermath, the town’s self led recovery, creative healing projects such as the Knitted Chook project and the Letterbox project, the recovery of the environment, resident support and friendships, the role of volunteers, memorials and commemoration and the processes of rebuilding. The stories of recovery can be a useful reference for others impacted by future natural disasters.

The generosity of donors to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund made this project possible.

Research Statement

Research Background There is a disconnect between communities that have experienced trauma and agencies engaged in trauma recovery (e.g. Jackson, 2002; Mamon et.al. 2017). Building on the previous work of filmmaker Celeste Geer and her award-winning documentary Then the Wind Changed, this research investigates community-based engagement in trauma recovery through participatory storytelling as a means to develop strategies for bridging this divide.
Research Contribution Big Stories, Small Towns, Strathewen, is a transmedia documentary project focusing on community stories of loss, recovery and renewal following a bushfire trauma. Martin Potter worked in residence with local filmmaker Celeste Geer to create a working model of community storytelling. Participatory video and photography workshops were conducted for Strathewen community members and a series of online documentaries, photo essays and oral history recordings were produced. This created a multi-vocal archive of communal experiences for use as a memorial, as therapeutic experience, and as a series of powerful first person case studies to inform agencies working with communities recovering from trauma. It also documents the town's self-led recovery and process of rebuilding.
Research Significance This research received $50,000 funding from the Victoria Bushfire Renewal Association, and was overseen by the Strathewen Community Renewal Association. The impact of this research is demonstrated by its inclusion in the training programs of the Strathewen Bushfire Relief Company, the Red Cross National Disaster Recovery Team, and the Australian Emergency Management Institute. The stories are held in permanent archive by the Strathewen Council and the National Film and Sound Archive. They serve as a valuable future reference for others impacted by natural disaster, and for agencies seeking to provide support to communities following trauma.
Item ID: 52105
Item Type: Other
Keywords: transmedia, documentary, digital storytelling, oral history, black saturday, bushfire, recovery, renewal, community media, participatory documentary, participatory media, transmedia documentary
Related URLs:
Additional Information:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that the following works may contain images and voices of people who have died.

Citations in the Research Statement:

The Politics of Storytelling. Variations on a Theme by Hannah Arendt by Michael Jackson, 2002; 2nd edition, 2013, Museum Tusculanum Press, Copenhagen. pp.322.

Using Storytelling to Heal Trauma and Bridge the Cultural Divide Between Veterans and Civilians by Daria Mamon, Elise C. McDonald, Jennifer F. Lambert & Amy Y. Cameron in Journal of Loss and Trauma Vol. 22, Iss. 8, 2017)

Funders: Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2018 02:07
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190205 Interactive Media @ 40%
20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2001 Communication and Media Studies > 200103 International and Development Communication @ 30%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1607 Social Work > 160702 Counselling, Welfare and Community Services @ 30%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 30%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950204 The Media @ 30%
89 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 8904 Media Services > 890403 Internet Broadcasting @ 40%
Downloads: Total: 157
Last 12 Months: 28
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page