Call us 01954 202 158   |  Email us patientvoices@pilgrimprojects.co.uk

Many years ago, Pip left face-to-face teaching preferring to teach at a distance because she was very shy and hated talking to more than two or three people at a time.

However, it became clear very soon after founding the Patient Voices Programme, that people wanted to know about it. And we were committed to doing the best for the patients and carers whose stories we had been honoured to hear. So, with much trepidation and many sleepless nights, Pip began speaking to groups and at conferences.

Since those first nerve-wracking presentations in 2004 and 2005, Pip has spoken in lecture theatres and conference halls from London and Leeds to Calgary and Vancouver, from New Hampshire, Pittsburgh and Denver to Athens and Ankara, from Obidos in Portugal to Oslo in Norway, from Hong Kong to Dar es Salaam. Tony has joined in and, as the more naturally gregarious of us, has also impressed and inspired audiences nationally and internationally.

As the world’s leading practitioners in digital storytelling in healthcare, we are frequently invited to speak at conferences on themes ranging from reflection and innovation through patient involvement and engagement to creativity communication and the future of medical education.

Whether people remember anything of what we say, they certainly remember the stories we show. One colleague has referred to the phenomenon that he noticed after showing one of the Patient Voices digital stories as ‘the pin drop effect’ – that silence that occurs as audiences wipe their eyes and try to absorb the multi-faceted layers of meaning in a story.

It was a great honour to be invited to Hong Kong to give the keynote address at the 2011 North West Cluster Annual Quality conference, ‘Towards better communication: Affective, Effective, Reflective’ and particularly rewarding to discover that stories made in the west had a very similar impact on audiences in the east.

We are particularly delighted to have been invited to present keynote addresses at the last four international digital storytelling conferences: these have taken place in Portugal, Norway, Turkey and Greece. This has presented the rather unusual challenge of speaking to an audience who are familiar with our work and have heard us speak before, so it was very heartening to hear from one delegate, after the most recent conference in Athens:

‘You always manage to find something new to say to inspire us.’

These presentations have often led to other invitations to speak at other conferences, such as the Culture Shock conference in Newcastle in 2011, a conference designed to celebrate the influence of digital storytelling on museum work. The connections between health and history are not difficult to make. One comment on that presentation included:

‘I so much appreciated the thoughtful – almost meditative – quality of your talk.’

Our aim in such presentations is always to provide a platform for other’s stories to be heard while also ensuring that the talk fits with the overall aim of the conference. The 2014 International Digital Storytelling Conference in Athens was entitled ‘Digital storytelling in times of crisis’. Our approach was to consider health and healthcare not only as the personal crises evidenced by the stories we hear, but to consider that healthcare itself is in crisis. We were able to use three examples from our work to present crises at Ward level, organisational level and global level, inviting people to reflect on how the stories we hear may help us to address the issues facing us individually, locally, nationally and globally.

 

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