When Telling your Story is not Enough: Advancing Digital Storytelling Ethics

The use of digital storytelling in community development and research contexts bring up many new ethical issues such as confidentiality, anonymity, and consent. But what ethical issues arise in the sharing and witnessing of these stories? Participants will be invited to reflect on their experience to explore the role of witness and testimony, issues of representation, trauma, and the role of the facilitator in planning, facilitating, and sharing digital stories. Bridging theory with many years of applied and collaborative practice, we invite facilitators, coordinators, artists, and researchers to join us in exploring how we might put ethics into practice. The workshop will be tailored to individuals working with digital stories in both community development and research contexts.

Part I will include an introduction to digital storytelling ethics, with a focus on consent, anonymity, dissemination, and ownership. Part II will continue to build on these themes while also discussing issues of safety, the fetishization of trauma, and witness. Both workshops will discuss pragmatic ways of how coordinators and facilitators might structure projects to attend to ethical issues before, during, and after project stages.

WHEN: Part I – Thursday, October 15, 6:00 – 9:00, Part II – Thursday, October 22, 6:00 – 9:00

WHERE: Room 2007D, 40 Willcocks St. (New College) University of Toronto
Toronto , ON M5S 1C6

Speakers Bios:


Hisayo Horie


Sarah Switzer

Hisayo Horie is a Toronto-based digital media artist, art-based educator, social justice trainer, and aspiring web developer. Hisayo is specialized in design, and facilitates multimedia interactive storytelling workshops, such as such as digital storytelling and video game. Hisayo has extensive experience working with newcomers and refugees, LGBTTIQ2S communities, people living with HIV/AIDS, and the folks from intersections of those communities.

Sarah Switzer is a local community educator, artist, and researcher living in Toronto. Her work straddles the fields of community arts, HIV/Harm Reduction, and community-based research. Equity, accessibility, creativity, and collaboration are pivotal to this work. Sarah’s experience with digital storytelling is tied to her previous experience coordinating Empower, a youth-led arts-based HIV prevention for youth and by youth, in which digital storytelling played a central role. She is currently a doctoral student in the faculty of Environmental Studies at York University and is a doctoral fellow with GAAP.

This workshop is hosted by Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention (New College, University of Toronto)