Digital Research Storytelling Workshop

What is Digital Storytelling?

Digital storytelling is a growing approach to research creation and dissemination that emerged from feminist and disability culture as well as anti-colonial, anti-racist and Indigenous thought.     

Traditionally, digital stories are 2-to-5-minute creative micro documentaries highlighting how inequities and resistances are embedded in people’s lives. The affective dimension of digital stories lends to their impactful use as knowledge translation tools across disciplines and sectors.    

Our Approach

CDHI is building on the narrative, technical, creative and political tools of traditional digital storytelling methods to offer workshops tailored to researchers interested in sharing their research in an engaging and creative short video form at any stage of their research project. Digital research stories can be made at any stage of their research project—the project does not have to be done to be ready for story-making. Indeed digital research stories can be part of research creation and/or dissemination.  

No experience is necessary or needed to participate in our workshop. We will provide all the tools and hands-on support needed. 

Our Goal

Our goal is to increase the impact and relevance of researchers’ critical scholarship beyond scholarly domains and to move the needle on social justice issues. Digital research stories have the power to challenge epistemic ignorance and compel new understanding of power and in/equity on an affective level that sticks. Ideally, digital research stories move viewers to action. By connecting storytelling with social change in a collaborative research creation environment, digital research storytelling is an important practice of publicly engaged scholarship and a powerful method of creative knowledge mobilization. 

Past Workshops

May 2023: Four-Week Online Workshop, with one-day retreat

November 2023: Three-Day In-Person Workshop, with one-day retreat

May-June 2024: Four-Week In-Person Workshop

Testimonials from Participants

The [digital storytelling] retreat was a really profound experience. I realized how incredibly enjoyable and rewarding it is to fully visualize an art historical narrative. It made me realize my storytelling skills are quite strong and with the added power of these tools I am excited to experiment further. I only visualized 300 words and I was blown awayIt’s been a long time since I have felt that surge of real excitement, like discovering a whole new ability. I see this having a real impact on my outreach in particular but also how I conceive of narratives that are satisfying for an academic and general audience. The support was great, the instructors were very skilled at offering the right instruction at the right time. They were also very encouraging and excited about digital storytelling and that was uplifting and motivating. The format worked so well for me I can’t see scope for improvement, only to say the retreat model is an excellent one to support faculty because of demands on our time.

I felt that the workshop gave me creative expression. The research process in the sciences leans toward procedure so the workshop supported me in stopping out of procedure representation of research findings that can be…BORING 

I would say this workshop brought ‘creativity’ back into the research process. It took away monotony and allowed me to see my research differently. 

Very informative sessions led by 3 experienced, skillful & sensitive facilitators. They provided a great level of support during the workshop – general support as well as support tailored to individuals. 

I’m very satisfied with the level provided in this workshop. I never thought I would be able to quickly grasp the workflow and have a finished product on time. Feeling very supported, acknowledged, and excited to adopt the digital videos as an integral part of my research from now on. 


Julia Gruson-Wood is a Research Associate here at CDHI as well as the VP Office of Research & Innovation (UTSC) with a particular interest in research creation, publicly engaged scholarship, & knowledge mobilization. She is also an Adjunct Faculty Member with 2 programs at the University of Guelph:

  1. a community & arts-engaged PhD Program called Social Practice & Transformational Change;
  2. a multimedia storytelling hub called Re·Vision: The Centre for Art & Social Justice. 

Julia received her digital storytelling training from Re·Vision in 2016 & is a longtime Re·Vision-affiliated researcher, methodologist, facilitator, & participant. She has led & collaborated on multiple grant-funded digital storytelling projects with 2SLGBTQI+ parents, Autistic & neurodiversity self-advocates & with Indigenous communities across Turtle Island & Aotearoa. She has published several articles on critical digital storytelling in The Journal of Homosexuality, Sage Research Methods, International Studies of Inclusive Education, & International Journal of Inclusive Qualitative methods.  

Elspeth H. Brown is Professor of History, University of Toronto, where her research concerns modern queer and trans history; oral history; queer archives; public history; the history and theory of photography; and the history of US capitalism. She is also currently the Associate VP Research, University of Toronto Mississauga, and the Director for the University of Toronto’s  Critical Digital Humanities Initiative. Since 2014 she has been Director of the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory, a multi-year digital history and oral history public, digital humanities collaboration. She is the author of numerous books, articles, and public humanities projects, including “Trans Oral History as Trans Care” (with Myrl Beam, Oral History Review 2022) and “Archival Activism, Symbolic Annihilation, and the LGBTQ+ Community Archive” (Archivaria 2020). Book-length studies include Work! A Queer History of Modeling (Duke University Press, 2019); Feeling Photography (Duke, 2014, co-editor with Thy Phu); The Corporate Eye: Photography and the Rationalization of American Commercial Culture, 1884-1929 (Johns Hopkins, 2005). From 2014-2021, she served on the Board of The ArQuives: Canada’s LGBQT2+ Archive, most recently as Co-President.

Alisha Strangesis a queer, community-based, public humanities scholar and multi-modal artist. In January 2021, Stranges joined the LGBTQ Oral History Digital Collaboratory as the Project Manager and Co-Oral Historian for the Pussy Palace Oral History Project. As lead interviewer, Stranges collected 36 narrator accounts surrounding the September 2000 police raid of the Pussy Palace bathhouse events and is supervising a 5-member team in the preservation and creative activation of these interviews. Currently, Stranges also serves as the Collaboratory’s Research Manager, supporting Director Elspeth Brown in the planning, development, and execution of concurrent projects. Stranges holds an M.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Toronto, with a collaborative specialization in Sexual Diversity Studies (2020). Her master’s research project examines the therapeutic resonances of improvised rhythm tap dance for survivors of psychological trauma. Before entering the academy, Stranges received a Diploma in Theatre Performance from Humber College (2006) and spent a decade devising original plays within Toronto’s queer, independent theatre community. From 2010 to 2015, she returned annually to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre as a teaching-artist and co-facilitator for PrideCab, an intensive training program in collective creation and performance for queer, trans, and gender variant youth. In 2019, she launched the Qu(e)erying Religion anti-Archive Project, which blends elements of oral history with the art of whiteboard animation to document 10+ years of supportive programming for life-giving, queer spirituality at the University of Toronto. 

Workshop Images