The Burnaby Storytelling Project is one component of a broadly based public-awareness campaign, undertaken by the Burnaby Intercultural Planning Table (BIPT), to inform and educate Burnaby citizens about the value that immigrants and refugees bring to our community. The project trained 22 storytellers who went on to share their newcomer experiences at community events throughout the city. This cadre of storytellers, by sharing their personal stories in compelling and inspiring ways, brings a human face to the issues experienced by immigrants and refugees in Burnaby.
In the summer of 2014 Burnaby Public Library, working in partnership with the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, invited seven of these storytellers to participate in the Burnaby Digital Storytelling Project. Five of those stories are included below, and more will be added to this page soon. The project seeks to build on the Burnaby Storytelling Project and provides an opportunity for participants to share their stories in a non-traditional way, with a broader audience. The project was made possible with funding from NewToBC.
- My Very First Road Test, by Marcela Escalona
- The Little Blackfish Journey, by Narges Sonya Govahi
- A Farmer's Mother, by David Wonbae Lee
- My Story, by Diana Ng
- I Want to Fly, by Ada Wang
This short video tells Marcela's personal story of becoming a driver in Canada. It's told using paper cutouts depicting Marcela, her driving instructor, and their environment. Marcela says, "Like all immigrants, I have too many stories to tell. However, I find many of them are sad or nostalgic." She explained that life is already hard for an immigrant woman. For this project, she wanted to tell a positive story about her own experience, one with a happy outcome.
Sonya's story is told through a series of paintings she completed for this project. They depict the story's hero: the little blackfish, and the many sea creatures she encounters on her journey to freedom.
David's digital story is a retelling of a traditional Korean folktale. David choose this folktale because he wanted to tell a story that illustrates the importance of family, and of respecting and loving our parents. The story also echoes his own experience – David left behind his mother when he came to Canada to build a better life for his son, and his mother passed away two years later.
Diana lives in Surrey, a community that means a great deal to her and one where she has had a lasting impact. The experiences depicted in her digital story are ones that were pivotal for her, and marked the beginning of ending some negative circumstances in her life. The story is told using personal photos, inspired by Diana's love of nature.
Ada's digital story is inspired by her experience as an immigrant to Canada. Like many immigrants, she wanted to give her daughter a better life. The themes seen here were inspired by her daughter, who has always wanted to fly, and who loves birds. Ada chose to make all of the sound and drawings with her daughter, Yi. In Ada's words, the story is "special, a work of both of us."