Latitudes Storytelling Festival: Part 2 with Guest Blogger Lori-Ann Livingston

In the previous guest blog of Latitudes Storytelling Festival founder Lori-Ann Livingston, Lori-Ann answered questions about the benefits of storytelling, why the festival was founded, and what she hoped to accomplish with the festival.

In today’s guest blog, we learn about the use of computer technology at the festival.


1. How do you incorporate computer technology with your festival?

This is something we’ve started exploring in the last couple of years, with our partnership with Dwight Storring, a digital storyteller and photographer. Dwight’s workshops help individuals craft their stories in such a way that the story is foremost. The story audio is recorded, matched with some personal images, edited on the computer, and somehow, miraculously, a story emerges with poignancy, advocacy, reflection and personal insight.

Our Made in Kitchener project, which Dwight also initiated, uses QR codes on stickers on the sidewalks — once the code is scanned, it takes you to a series of stories about several locations around downtown Kitchener; former factories, union halls, churches, etc.
We’ve also had bloggers and app developers and filmmakers on our stages to tell their stories, and the connections they make through stories. And for awhile, we had a story geocache, which is a bit like a treasure hunt using clues and a GPS to find the cache. In ours, people who found it could leave a story, or take one of ours. I think our cache is no longer around, though. It’s gone to find its own story . . .

I’d like to add, though, that technology takes a back seat to the story. It’s a means to an end.


2. Do you find the use of the latest technology to be controversial? Some people are very traditional; what would you say to them about that?

Yes, there are many storytellers in this area; they are traditional tellers with amazing repertoires and performance experience, and without them, there would be no storytelling in this area. Many are purists, who would feel the festival has got it kind of wrong. I sort of feel like I’m a bit of an upstart, though. I have no storytelling experience — I think of myself as a story writer — and yet, with the help of a lot of people, and the hard work of a few, we have this unusual storytelling festival that embraces technology and the arts as tools or means to tell stories. It doesn’t quite fit with tradition. I wouldn’t say it’s controversial, maybe; at least that’s not the sense I get. Traditional storytellers are artists, too; don’t get me wrong. Their craft requires the same creativity and discipline and joy that artists thrive upon. I guess I’m just looking at story a bit differently. It’s not better, it’s not worse, and there is a place for everyone around the storytelling circle, I think.


3. How can parents bring storytelling into their home?

Made in Kitchener

Latitudes and Longitudes Storytelling Project

(Click on “Garret’s trip to Ireland” for a good example of how children can become involved.)


Thank you to Lori-Ann Livingston for sharing her insights about Latitudes Storytelling Festival. This year’s festival is to be held on June 22-June 23. We hope to see you there.


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