Capturing the 'authentic voice' : challenges and opportunities for voice and self-representation in two ABC storytelling projects

Mackay, Sasha & Heck, Elizabeth (2013) Capturing the 'authentic voice' : challenges and opportunities for voice and self-representation in two ABC storytelling projects. In 5th International Digital Storytelling Conference, 8-10 May 2013, Ankara, Turkey. (Unpublished)


In recent years there has been a noticeable move by various public institutions, such as public service broadcasters and community media organisations, to capture and disseminate the voices and viewpoints of ‘ordinary people’ through inviting them to share stories about their lives. One of the foremost objectives of many such projects is to provide under-represented individuals and groups with an opportunity to express and represent themselves; as such, the capture and broadcast of ‘authentic voices’ is a central value. This paper discusses the notion of ‘authentic voice’, and questions the framing role of public media organisations in storytelling projects that aim to provide individuals with space for self-expression and self-representation. It considers the ways in which tensions arise on multiple levels when individuals are asked to express and represent themselves within projects and spaces that are managed by institutions.

This paper begins by discussing the challenges and opportunities that arise within storytelling projects that are facilitated by public institutions and community media arts organisations, and that aim to amplify the voices of “ordinary people” (Thumim, 2009). It examines ways in which ‘voice’ is facilitated, curated, broadcast and distributed within such projects, particularly questioning the ways in which project facilitation and the curation of stories for public broadcast can both help and hinder the amplification of ‘authentic voice’. Furthermore, we seek to discuss how ‘authentic voice’ is defined, and what is involved in the process of amplification.

The paper moves on to discuss a case study in order to demonstrate some of the tensions that are evident within a storytelling project that is managed by a public institution – Australia’s national broadcaster – and the ways these tensions impact upon the capture and broadcast of an ‘authentic voice’ for project participants. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) ‘Heywire’ project is a storytelling competition and website that aims to ‘give voice’ to 16-22 year olds who live in rural, regional and remote parts of Australia. Looking at tensions that exist on organisational, political and philosophical levels within the Heywire project reveals a number of conflicts of interest and objectives between the institution and project participants. This leads us to question whether institutionally-managed storytelling projects can effectively support individuals to have an ‘authentic voice’, and whether struggles of aims and objectives diminish the personal benefits that people may derive from expressing and representing themselves within such projects.

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ID Code: 64844
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200) > Film Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified (190299)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > OTHER STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190999) > Studies in the Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified (199999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Please consult the authors
Deposited On: 27 Nov 2013 23:35
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2013 23:36

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