A range of issues were clarified and explored through the discussion:
1. Digital stories versus participatory video
Most agreed that digital stories work well for one person’s account, while participatory video is better for conveying experiences common to a group of people.
2. Evidence of impact
There is some evidence from the field of education that such stories have an impact, but while there was little statistical proof in healthcare, there was much anecdotal evidence.
3. Application in the Global South
While the workshop process is transferable, there can be difficulties with computer access in uploading or downloading stories where connectivity is not so reliable. Offline campaigns (such as postcards) may be more successful in this case.
4. Unintended influence
The issue of one of the Patient Voices stories presenting a lack of adherence to medication was raised, with the concern that this may influence others. Pip Hardy suggested it is the facilitator’s role to listen to the patient and not steer them in any particular direction.
Smaller groups discussed several further questions:
1. Is the process or product more important?
It was important to ask who was telling a story and why, but the process was seen as important as the final story.
2. Where is digital storytelling appropriate?
It was agreed that digital storytelling is mostly for individuals rather than giving a community perspective.
3. Does digital storytelling influence change?
Storytelling is a powerful process for both the storyteller and the listener and may bring about both personal change and policy change. However, there is a tension between allowing a story to unfold organically and using digital storytelling in advocacy work.