Making the Invisible Visible

Digital storytelling for neighbourhood social cohesion

Disability, age and other mobility constraints can confine people to their homes, leaving them with few opportunities to participate in local community activities. New technologies offer enormous opportunities for housebound people, allowing them to not only access information, but to also create and share content. In this project, researchers are exploring how housebound residents can contribute to their community's social and cultural life by sharing stories about their lives, created from digital photographs, text, audio and video. The digital stories will be shared on public displays situated in local settings such as libraries and neighbourhood houses.

The project team has established a partnership with a community-based health services organisation, Darebin Community Health, which provides occupational therapy services to housebound residents. Researchers have begun working with housebound clients of Darebin Community Health, to help them create digital stories.

Working in collaboration with Julien Ridoux, Chamil Jayasundara, and Ken Clarke from the IBES Lab, the project has developed an interactive public display which will be used to share the digital stories that participants create. Audience members can interact with the display using their own mobile phones or tablets and can write comments in response to particular stories. After moderation, these audience comments will appear on the display and will be shared with the housebound residents who created the stories. The project team has run preliminary in-house tests of the display and will conduct a demonstration in front of a university Interaction Design group in order to gain feedback about the design. In late 2014, the display will be implemented in field studies conducted in community settings in Darebin. The studies will collect data of audience participation and feedback, which will be used to further refine the display and to explore how audience members engaged with the digital stories.


  • Jenny Waycott - Computing and Information Systems
  • Hilary Davis - Computing and Information Systems
  • Deborah Warr - Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
  • Fran Edmonds - School of Culture and Communication
  • Shuo Zhou - IBES
  • Bridget Monro-Hobbs - City of Darebin
  • Gillian Damonze - City of Darebin


IBES Seed Funding 2013


June 2015