Stories of hope and healing

In an era of advancing medical technology, we sometimes forget the healing power of stories.

For three decades parents and families of premature babies born through Brisbane Mater Hospital’s Neonatology Unit have lined the unit’s walls with storyboards celebrating these lives and offering hope to the families that have followed. Those families have in turn added their chapters of inspiration to this ongoing public narrative.

As with all stories carried beyond the oral tradition, keeping records can be problematic. At the same time that the physical storyboards began deteriorating and the unit’s wall space grew short, PlaceStories creators, Feral Arts, stumbled across this potent site of community storytelling.

PlaceStories is a user-friendly software system designed by Feral Arts to assist communities to create and publish their own stories.

Feral Arts’ current project, Story Telling in the Public Interest, recognises stories as valuable, often untapped community assets, and the building blocks of culture, identity and knowledge.

The process has now shifted into a new phase with families using the Place Stories software to create and digitally publish the stories themselves. According to Sarah and Norm, new ways of storytelling are already beginning to emerge.

As a new Australia Council Community Partnership’s key producer, Feral Arts has been able to develop Place Stories from what was ‘an interesting digital storytelling project’, into a ‘unique long-term arts and health partnership’.

They now have support from the Mater to develop the project further, and to start projects in other parts of the hospital.

Image: Sarah Moynihan and Norm Horton. Photo: Courtesy Feral Arts 


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