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What’s ya Story The making of a digital storytelling mobile app with Aboriginal young people
Report authors: Fran Edmonds, Christel Rachinger, Gursharan Singh, Richard Chenhall,
Michael Arnold, Poppy de Souza and Susan Lowish.
Re͔͈͗ͥ ̨̺ͥͥϩ̢ ̥̥̿ύ̦ͥ͛ Βύ ̩͈ͥ͗Β̢̦ ͥhe making of a digital storytelling mobile app with Aboriginal young people
Authors: Fran Edmonds, Christel Rachinger, Gursharan Singh, Richard Chenhall, Michael Arnold, Poppy de Souza and Susan Lowish.
The operation of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network is made possible by
funding provided by the Commonwealth of Australia under section 593 of the Telecommunications
Act 1997. This funding is recovered from charges on telecommunications carriers.
The University of Melbourne
Telephone: 03 90359707
Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
Telephone: 02 9288 4000
TTY: 02 9281 5322
Cover image: Dixon Patten, 2014
This work is copyright, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. You
are free to cite, copy, communicate and adapt this work, so long as you attribute the authors and
the ̩University of Melbourne, supported by a grant from the Australian Communications Consumer
!ϛ̨͈ͥ́ ̐ϩͥΌ̷͈̪̣͗ To view a copy of this license, visit
This work can be cited as: Edmonds, F., Rachinger, C., Singh, G., Chenhall, R., Arnold, M., de Souza,
̢̣̠ ͈̉Ό̨̥̠͛ ̩̣ Ϯηϭϰ̠ ̥̥̿ύ̦ͥ͛ Βύ ̩͈ͥ͗Β̢̦ ̥ͥϩ ̀ύ̷̨̛́ ͈ϳ ύ ϥ̨̨̛ͥύ̺ ͈͛ͥ͗Βͥϩ̨̛̺̺́ ͈̀Ϛ̨̺ϩ ύ͔͔ Ό̨̥ͥ !Ϛ̨̨̛͈͗́ύ̺
young people, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney.
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au www.accan.org.au http://www.unimelb.edu.au
!cknowledgements The research presented in this report was funded by the ACCAN Grants Scheme. The research team,
which included the authors of this report, wish to thank ACCAN for their support.
University of Melbourne researchers wish to thank the Aboriginal young people and their mentors
from the Korin Gamadji Institute, at the Richmond Australian Rules Football Club, who remained
committed and insightful throughout the project and whose contributions have provided the main
findings in this report. The participants were Jake, Jess, Nakia, Danae and Liam, with their mentors
Alex Splitt and Neville Jetta. Luke Murray, the Indigenous Community Engagement Coordinator at
Korin Gamadji Institute, was supportive and committed to the project from the beginning and was
vital to its success.
The research was conducted in collaboration with researchers and technicians at the Institute for a
Broadband Enabled Society, University of Melbourne. Their involvement in the project was essential
to the development of the mobile application, as were the facilities and technological resources
provided by the Institute. Dr Julien Ridoux, Ken Clarke and Dr Chamil Jayasundara provided
technological advice to the Masters of IT intern, Gursharan Singh, whose skills in creating the app in
collaboration with the KGI participants was central to the project.
̯̥ϩ !͛ͥ͗ύ̨̺ύ́ �ϩ́ͥ͗ϩ ϳ͈͗ ̥ͥϩ ̨̛͈̏́ Ϻ̀ύ̛ϩ ̛ϩ́ϩ͈̺͗͛Β ͈ϳϳϩ͗ϩϥ ̥ͥϩ̨͗ ϳ̨̺̀̀ύ̷ϩ͗ ̨̾́ϛϩ̦́ͥ͛ ̨ͥ̀ϩ ύ́ϥ
their education space to provide young people and researchers with the opportunity to learn more
about filmmaking and digital storytelling.
The Reference Group for the project, of whom there are many, are thanked for their generosity in
contributing their time to meetings, as well as offering feedback via emails and phone calls.
Particularly, Kimba Thompson from Sista Girl Productions, Peter Waples-Crow from the Victorian
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Lyndon Ormond-Parker from the University
of Melbourne, Nerissa Broben from the Koorie Heritage Trust and Jim Rimmer from VicHealth.
̯̥ϩ ̛͗ύ̨͔̥ϛ ϥϩ̨̛͛́ϩ̠͗ D̨Ά͈ ̢ύͥͥϩ̠́ ̨͔͈͗ϥϩϥ ͔͔͈͛͗ͥ ̛̥͈̥͈ͥ͗ͥ ̥ͥϩ ̴͔͈͗ϩϛ̦ͥ͛ ͔̺ύ̨̛́́́ ͔̥ύ͛ϩ ύ́ϥ
during the workshop. His graphic designs on the cover of this report and those on various websites
related to the project are greatly appreciated.
̯̥ϩ ͗ϩ͔͈̦͗ͥ͛ ύ̥͈ͥ͗͛ ύ̺͈͛ ̥ͥύ̷́ !͈͛͛ϛ̨ύͥϩ ̢͈͗ϳϩ͈͛͛͗ ̩ϛ͈ͥͥ ̏ϛ̨̤͗ϩ ϳ͈͗̀ ̥ͥϩ ̩ϛ̥͈͈̺ ͈ϳ �̺ͥ͗ϩ ύ́ϥ
Communication, University of Melbourne, for his academic mentoring throughout the project and
commitment to collaborative research. Dr Angus Frith from the Melbourne Law School is also
thanked for editing and proof reading sections of this report.
Executive Summary In 2013-2014, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) provided funding
for a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Melbourne to collaborate with
young Aboriginal participants (aged between 15 and 26) and their mentors from the Korin Gamadji
Institute (KGI) at Richmond Football Club, Victoria. This collaboration led to the development and
design of a prototype digital storytelling mobile application̠ ͈͗ ̥ύ͔͔̦̠ to be used by Aboriginal young
people: the What͛s ya Story app (the WYS app).
The project worked with Aboriginal young people aged between 15 and 26 years of age from the
Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI). This is described in more detail later in this report. The majority of the
Aboriginal population in Victoria is aged 25 and under; they are among the highest users of mobile
phones, actively engaging in social media and other online platforms (Department of Education and
Early Childhood Development (DEECD) 2010). With the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, Aboriginal
youth throughout Australia are increasingly using digital technologies, especially mobile devices and
the internet, to produce and tell their stories in ways determined by them (Kral 2010, Edmonds,
Rachinger et al. 2012). Currently, the What͛s ya Story app prototype (the WYS app) developed
through this project provides a base for ongoing research concerning the uptake and management
of digital technology by Aboriginal young people. The app project forms part of the larger Australian
Research Council Linkage Project (ARC LP), ̥�͗ϩύͥϩ Β͈͗ ̩͈ͥ͗Β̢ Aboriginal young people in Victoria
and Digital Storyͥϩ̨̛̺̺̦́ (2013-2016).
In this report we present the findings of the 2-day collaborative workshop that resulted in the
development of the WYS app prototype. In addition, we describe the aims of the project; the
methods adopted to achieve the research outcomes, including the workshop process; our research
findings; as well as our recommendations for future approaches to the development of the WYS app.
The research comprised two teams of researchers from the University of Melbourne who worked
together to create the first phase of the WYS app prototype: a humanities and social sciences team
from the Faculties of Arts and Medicine, and an information technology team from the Institute for a
Broadband Enabled Society (IBES). The researchers were encouraged in their endeavours by the
enthusiastic support of the young participants from KGI in the project. Their expertise and
knowledge in managing and manipulating digital technology for their own purposes was central to
̥ͥϩ ϥϩϩ̺͈͔̀ϩ́ͥ ͈ϳ ύ́ ̥ύ͔͔̦ ̥ͥύͥ ͗ϩ͔͈͛́ϥ͛ ͔͛ϩϛ̨ϳ̨ϛύ̺̺Β ͈ͥ ̥ͥϩ̨͗ ͗ϩ͖ϩ͛ͥ͛ ύ́ϥ ́ϩϩϥ̣͛
The report highlights the significance of adopting a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to
this research process, where many fields of expertise came together and were crucial to the overall
͛ϛϛϩ͛͛ ͈ϳ ̥ͥϩ ϳ̨͗͛ͥ ͔̥ύ͛ϩ ͈ϳ ̥ͥϩ ύ͔͔̦͛ ϥϩϩ̺͈͔̀ϩ̣́ͥ Further, this report also highlights the way
community-developed, culturally appropriate digital resources can support Aboriginal knowledge
and knowledge exchange. By working with the Aboriginal community to develop avenues, including
cultural protocols, that support Aboriginal control of Aboriginal knowledge in the digital age, it is
possible to foster strong identities, which is a significant contributor to wellbeing among the
Aboriginal community (Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) 2010).
While the WYS app prototype remains a work in progress, ultimately the project has enabled all
those involved to explore, complement and extend their understandings of digital literacy from
!Ϛ̨̨̛͈͗́ύ̺ Β̛͈́ ͔ϩ͈͔̺ϩ̦͛ ͔ϩ͔͗͛ϩϛ̨ͥϩ͛ ύ́ϥ ͈ͥ Ϛ̨̺ϥ ͈́ ̥ͥϩ͛ϩ ̨́ ΌύΒ͛ ̥ͥύͥ ̥ύ͗́ϩ͛͛ ύ́ϥ ϥϩϩ̺͈͔