Digital Storytelling for Anyone’s Child

Digital Storytelling for Anyone’s Child brings together a historian with a creative technologist and a charitable thinktank to experiment with new interfaces for cross-continental digital storytelling about the human costs of the global drugs war in Mexico.

What did the project involve? 

The researchers were interested in working together to develop and design a digital storytelling platform on the effects of the war on drugs in Latin America.

Building on the lessons from the Quipu Project (an interactive online documentary that recounts one of the darker moments in recent Peruvian history by having users listen and respond to recorded messages of its victims) in order to create an accessible and wide-reaching story linked to Transform’s Anyone’s Child campaign.

The project conducted research into the existing digital archive of testimonies relating to the impact of the war on drugs in Latin America, focusing on Mexico.

The researcher proceeded to work with the creative technologist behind the Quipu Project, Ewan Cass-Kavanagh, to design a digital platform that facilitates access to the archive of materials produced through this project and Transform’s previous research and works powerfully to bring the stories to a wide, international audience.

Following Transform’s intention, the project hopes that these stories will help people to realise that the war on drugs has failed, and that global citizens can use these powerful stories to put pressure on our political leaders to make change.

Who are the team and what do they bring?

  • Matthew Brown (Latin American Studies, University of Bristol) is a historian who works across the fields of languages and cultures leading interdisciplinary projects with applied findings to policy and shaping of public opinions. His previous projects include ‘Bringing Memories in from the Margins’ exploring marginalised communities in Colombia and ‘The Quipu Project’ a transmedia documentary, film, and archive about the unconsented sterilisations in 1990s Peru.
  • Ewan Cass-Kavanagh is a creative technologist working across the fields of interactive documentary and digital social innovation. He has provided consultancy for third sector and arts organisations, as well as working with marginalised groups such as UK’s homeless and Peru’s indigenous communities to capitalise on the benefits of the Internet despite being offline.
  • Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a charitable thinktank and the UK’s leading campaign group for drug policy reform. Transform is renown for its research and campaigning activity.

What were the results?

The team developed a multi-directional curated narrative across this archive, made available online through the Transform webpage, which provides an engaging, easy-to-understand audience experience. This short interactive documentary draws from the archive of testimonies, and from data and infographics produced by Transform. The ‘Anyone’s Child Mexico’ project has now launched.

Political Editor Cleo Roberts published a report on the project in BristoLatino.

You can also see some responses to the documentary from Open Democracyi-DocsVirgin and another response via Open Democracy.