Tell Your Chicago Story!

Participate in a Digital Storytelling Project Sponsored by Marillac St. Vincent Family Services and DePaul University


Do you have a personal story about coming to Chicago or living through a changing Chicago? Are you interested to explore, document, or share this story? Do you enjoy writing? Are you curious to learn more about making digital videos? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, consider joining the Marillac St. Vincent “Chicago Stories” digital storytelling project!

We are partnering with DePaul professor Lisa Dush’s Digital Storytelling class in October and November to offer this opportunity to 6–10 program participants at Marillac St. Vincent Family Services.

If you join us, you will be matched with one or two DePaul students, who will, with Prof. Dush’s guidance, help you to write, audio-record, and illustrate your personal story with personal and historical photographs. By the end of the project, you and your student team will create a 2-4 minute digital video that tells your Chicago story, in your words.

Watch a digital story that tells a “Boston Story”!

Digital storytelling is an intensive process, and will require at least ten hours of your time between early October and mid-November. As a community arts practice, digital storytelling is also participatory, and you can take the lead on as much of the process as you would like. If you want to learn video editing, for example, your student collaborators will teach you! But if you just want to tell the story and have the students do all of the production work, that is fine, too.

Project Timeline and Participant Responsibilities

The following activities are part of the digital storytelling process:

  • Tu Oct. 15, 9:45-11:30: Participate in an “Introduction to Digital Storytelling” meeting with the DePaul students and the other Marillac St. Vincent digital storytellers, at the St. Vincent DePaul Center.
  • Th Oct. 24, 9:45-11:00: Attend a meeting (at the DePaul Center or on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus, TBD) with DePaul History Professor Amy Tyson, to discuss Chicago museums and historical collections that might provide inspiration or visual or audio material for your story.
  • W Oct. 17–M Oct. 28: Write and revise a 350-450-word story “script” that describes your personal experience of coming to Chicago or living through a changing Chicago. Your student collaborators and the MSV staff can help you with this process, which we anticipate will require about 5 hours of your time. Writing and revising your story will likely require at least one face-to-face meeting, though much of it can also be completed by email.
  • Tu Oct. 22–Th Oct. 31: Gather personal and archival photographs that illustrate your story. The students can scan your old print photographs, and if your story engages with Chicago’s history, you can also direct your student collaborators to find archival photographs, or work with them to explore Chicago’s archival collections. This process will likely require 1-3 hours of your time, depending upon how involved you wish to be in finding photographs.
  • By F Nov. 1: Audio record your script. Come to the St. Vincent DePaul Center or the DePaul campus to do a reading of your script, which your student collaborators will audio record and edit. This process will take about 30 minutes.
  • F Nov. 1–Th Nov. 14: Create a video of your digital story, which combines your recorded script with photographs. Your student collaborators can do this work, or if you are interested, they will teach you basic video editing and assist you as you create a rough cut. If you do not care to edit the video, this process will require only an hour or so of your time. If you wish to learn editing and do the editing yourself, you should budget 5-10 hours.
  • Th Nov. 14, 9:45-11:15 [alternate date, 11/19]: Attend a one-hour celebratory showing event with the other storytellers and the DePaul students, at which all of the stories are shown.

Benefits of Participating

This project will be a creative way to preserve and share your memories. If you wish, the DePaul team will post your finished video online (at either a private or public link), allowing you to easily share your story with friends and family.

You will also have the opportunity to learn about writing, storytelling, and digital media editing. The students will use basic video editing software called WeVideo, and they will be glad to help you to learn this software, if you are interested.

Finally, all Marillac St. Vincent participants will receive a $75 stipend, to offset costs associated with participating in the project.