Penny Lewis Stempel – Digital Storytelling Dev Worker

Penny Lewis-StempelMy work in community media started with radio when I worked at Cardiff Broadcasting Corporation as an outreach worker, training people within the community to make their own radio programmes which were then broadcast on CBC, a commercial radio station. From there I went on to work in video, film and television with Chapter Video Workshop, Chapter Film Workshop, the South Wales Women’s Film Group, Red Flannel Films, BBC Wales, and Channel 4 TV.

The common thread for me through all of these was a passion for empowering people and, crucially, making sure that people usually excluded from the media had the knowledge, tools and opportunity to make their views heard. During the Miners’ Strike 1984-5, for instance, Chapter Video Workshop worked  with miners to make campaign videos such as The Case for Coal, putting the strikers’ point of view, while the South Wales Women’s Film Group made videos with the miners’ wives (Something Else in the House). Red Flannel Films, a Channel 4 franchised workshop, had the brief to represent women in the South Wales Valleys.

Alongside this work, another of my passions is documenting and preserving hidden voices. I believe that the collecting of oral history is vital, not just for now but for future generations. Growing Together, the project that I am now working on with Valley and Vale Community Arts, is a one year intergenerational digital storytelling project. Its brief is to bring together young and older people in the Garw Valley, to train them to make digital stories and to record their memories on DVD.

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