Story Buddies FAQ
What is a Story Buddy?
A Story Buddy is someone who helps someone to tell their story. This someone could be a family member, a carer or just a friend. A Story Buddy does not need to possess special skills in order to help another individual to tell their story, but simply have a willingness to support someone they know. This project is mainly aimed at helping vulnerable individuals in the community who may not otherwise be able to participate.
Who can be classified as a ‘vulnerable person’?
A vulnerable person can be someone who is most in need of support. For example, an individual with mental health problems, an elderly person with limited access to technology, or someone who has disabilities. This platform effectively aims to give these individuals a platform and a voice to share their experiences.
How can I get involved?
The first step to becoming a Story Buddy is to get in touch with someone who you think might have an interesting story to tell. This story could be about anything, such as social action e.g. volunteering or community work for example. Or, with the current climate, these stories could be related to lockdown or even personal journeys related to migration, or more broadly, stories related to overcoming adversities.
Once you’ve chosen an individual to buddy up with, you’ll be able to access a variety of online assets and engagement videos to learn more about storytelling methods and introductory guides to using editing software and other technical information.
Can I make my own story?
Yes. The first stage to the Story Buddy project is to learn the best storytelling approaches for a story of your own, with the aim to use this knowledge to help train another person to tell a story.
There will be a variety of online assets available for you to learn about each storytelling method, so eventually you can be equipped with the skills and knowledge to be a mentor and pass this information on to another person.
What if I can’t meet up with my buddy?
If you can’t meet up with your buddy, for example because you live in opposite ends of the country, or even simply due to the current Covid-19 crisis, you can still take part all the same. With all the support and training you’ll need to support your ‘buddy’ accessible online, it will be easy to share these resources with your ‘buddy’ either via email or Zoom, for example.
Storytelling method example:
If your ‘buddy’ has decided that a written method would be the best storytelling approach to tell their story, then this will be fairly straightforward for your ‘buddy’ to access the materials, alongside your support, to complete their story independently (to some extent). Your role in this process would be to answer any questions your buddy may have and steer them in the right direction in terms of the delivery of their story, such as story structure and choice of language perhaps.
Does it have to be a video?
No. There are a variety of different storytelling methods which your ‘buddy’ could adopt for their story, such as animation, a written story (fictional/factual stories or poems), in the form of comics or storyboards, or even a digital approach through combining spoken word with images.
I want to get involved but don’t know someone who may have a story to tell?
Real Time will seek to utilise its excellent working relationships with organisations in Reading which work with vulnerable adults and young people, such as the Open Mind group which aims to support individuals with mental health issues. These connections will be valuable for finding a potential buddy if needs be.
It is also important to note that a ‘buddy’ does not have to be vulnerable, such as with a disability, for you to be able to support their storytelling. You can reach out to individuals who you think might have a story to tell regardless of their needs. As long as their story can be told through the methods stated above and you possess a willingness to support this individual to tell their story, this is the perfect recipe.
Why is storytelling a good approach?
Storytelling allows individuals to make sense of their lived experiences and be mindful of themselves and others around them. Storytelling also offers individuals the opportunity to support individuals in similar situations, allowing people to realise that they’re not alone and that they have a purpose. Storytelling can also provide structure to an individual’s life during exceptionally challenging times, therefore helping them to deal with any adversities head on.
I’ve helped an individual tell their story; where can this story be distributed?
StoryAp is a free portal designed by Real Time and European partners in Italy, Poland, Sweden, Romania and France which offers individuals up to the age of 30 the opportunity to share their stories related to social and personal change.
Through this portal, if your buddy wishes to do so, they can also submit their story made through the ‘Story Buddies’ project and will represent the archive of stories created by Real Time.
How can I submit a story for StoryAp?
The most efficient way to submit a story would be to either send in your ‘buddies’ story on their behalf (or your buddy can do so) to: firstname.lastname@example.org and then Real Time will upload their story to the Real Time StoryAp page. Once Real Time have submitted this story and it has been authorised by StoryAp, this story will appear in the Real Time archive for anyone to view.
Is it compulsory for a ‘buddy’ to send in their Story Buddy story to StoryAp?
No. This second stage to the Emerging Stories project is optional. It is important to note that once a story is uploaded to StoryAp, this will be accessible to anyone who visits Real Time’s StoryAp page. We recognise that this may make some participants feel uncomfortable, particularly if the nature of an individual’s story shares lots of personal information.
Real Time will ensure rigorous safeguarding, privacy, copyright and ethical use policies are in place in order to carefully monitor and protect all participants who wish to take part.
What other projects could ‘Story Buddy’ stories be shared with?
Silo Cinema. Silo Cinema is an online cinema night which ran throughout lockdown that offered individuals the opportunity to be creative in the form of short films whilst in isolation at home. Suitable stories which could be shown in future Silo Cinema’s (initially made for the ‘Story Buddies’ project) could be documentary style videos, animations or even video diaries.
However, similarly to StoryAp, it is important that the individual who wishes to share their story for the purpose of Silo Cinema is aware that their work will be watched by an audience of individuals outside of Real Time’s team.
Social media: How can my story be shared on social media to help market the Story Buddy project?
Once your story is complete and you are happy to upload it to StoryAp or Reading Culture Live, we would like to share your storytelling experiences and final story on our social media pages.
In order to do this, all we ask from you is a few thumbnail pictures from your video, or a handful of quotes (if it is a written piece) to give a glimpse of what your story entails, and then a few sentences regarding feedback. Within this feedback we would love to know how you found the storytelling process, such as any challenges you faced, what you enjoyed most about making your story and how you knew which medium (written, digital, video) was most appropriate to tell your story, as well as why you think this story could benefit/help others.
What if I encounter any problems along the way/my ‘buddy’ encounters a problem which I am not equipped to deal with?
Real Time will be available to be in contact with weekdays, either over email or via Zoom.
How much of my time do I need to commit to being a Story Buddy?
The amount of time you commit to being a Story Buddy is dependent on the storytelling technique the individual you are helping to tell their story chooses. For example, if a video storytelling technique suits your individual’s story best, this will require more of your time in terms of your support and guidance than perhaps a written story will take (as this will require more independent work from the individual you are helping).
If you’d like to volunteer as a Story Buddy or know someone who might benefit from having a Story Buddy, contact us at: email@example.com
Supported using funding from the Great Places Scheme