Publication Details

Dreher, T. 2012, 'A partial promise of voice: digital storytelling and the limit of listening', Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy: quarterly journal of media research and resources, vol. 142, pp. 157-166.


The continual rise of participatory, media offers increasing opportunities for nonprofessionals and marginalised communities to tell their stories. In the policy arena, Australia's Social Inclusion Agenda and international debates on indicators of well-being name 'voice' as a key capability for social inclusion and individual flourishing. In this article, I engage recent scholarship on 'listening' and 'voice that matters' to highlight the limits of the participatory media genre of digital storytelling and of the social inclusion category of 'voice'. The discussion is illustrated via examples from public launch events for 'mini-films' produced in digital storytelling projects facilitated by Information Cultural Exchange (ICE), a new media arts organisation working in Sydney's cosmopolitan western suburbs. While these public events ensure a process of 'voice', I argue for a greater commitment to political listening in media research, practice and policy, lest the promise of 'voice' remain only partially fulfilled.