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Date and time: Wednesday 3rd April 2019 12:30 - 1.30pm
Topic: Using digital storytelling to evaluate youth-led tactical urbanism: An experiment
Presenter: Dr Rebecca Duell, Impact and Innovation Coordinator, YMCA of Brisbane Social Impact
Venue: Community room at the Brisbane Square Library, 266 George St, Brisbane
Register online by: 1 April 2019

This is a free seminar organised by the QLD Regional Network Committee of the AES. Our monthly seminar series provides an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in Queensland and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators. Members are encouraged to bring along colleagues with an interest in the topic even if they are not yet members of the AES. Please forward onto your networks.

Seminar overview

Since late 2018, YMCA of Brisbane have been collaborating with Logan City Council on a CityStudio project. CityStudio originated in Canada and brings together local councils, school students, and community partners to design experimental, impermanent, low cost projects that address longer-term strategic plans. Such projects can also be framed as tactical urbanism – citizen-led or local government-led initiatives to redesign or renew urban public spaces (see

The YMCA-led CityStudio team consisted of a core group of five young people from the YMCA Vocational School in Kingston, which is a special assistance school for young people who have disengaged from mainstream education. The project brief was to revitalise an unused space within the weekly Global Food Markets in Woodridge. Over 10 weeks, the young people worked with a designer and other community partners to ideate and prototype a pop-up ‘Street Lounge’.

Digital Storytelling was chosen as a promising method for capturing and evaluating the student’s experiences of the project. Digital stories usually involve the narration of an individual’s personal story set to digital images. For this project, the team produced one story that all the young people contributed to. The resulting digital story represents a group meaning-making process about what happened during the project and its value to those involved. The qualitative approach of gathering and selecting narratives and images to build the story facilitated evaluative thinking in the young people and was useful for engaging them in a level of reflection and sharing that they often struggle with.

In keeping with the overall project theme of experimentation, the evaluator had not used digital storytelling for evaluation before. This seminar will cover what we did and what we learnt:

  • The process of story gathering and group reflection
  • The strengths and challenges of using digital storytelling for evaluating a project of this nature and how challenges were overcome
  • The final digital story with also be shown for discussion and feedback.

There will be time to discuss the use of digital media for evaluation more generally at the end of the seminar. If you have used digital storytelling or similar techniques for evaluation, please come and share your experiences for the benefit of the group.

Presenters background

Rebecca has over a decade of experience working in the not-for-profit sector, primarily in the area of youth development. She is also an experienced researcher and has a PhD in environmental sociology from Griffith University. Rebecca's PhD research explored how social justice could be better embedded into sustainability theory, and into the practice of food system re-localisation. Rebecca is a qualitative research specialist with an interest in participatory research and evaluation practice. Rebecca works for the YMCA of Brisbane, where she has established a methodology for internal evaluation and learning practice, co-leads the organisation’s evaluation capability building work, and conducts utilisation-focused program evaluations. She is a member of the YMCA’s National Social Impact Leadership Team and a member of the Queensland AES Regional Committee.


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