Rainbow Family Tree

tell your story - change the world!

Workshop Blog - Session One

Hi all! Welcome!

It's just possible that I'm as nervous here as I would be if I were standing at the front of a tutorial room doing the intro session... doesn't feel that different (I've just made a long list of things I must remember to say!!).

However, because we're working in a written medium, I'm going to endeavour to keep it short, simple and sweet!

This is session one of ten that will take place over the next five weeks. Whilst members of the Digital Storytelling workshop will be actually CREATING stories, the rest of you (mentors, facilitators, researchers, designers etc) are invited to actively participate... I'm hoping you'll all make an effort to get to know one another, just as you would if we were all in the same room. To help this happen - please join whatever groups you're interested in and 'friend' as many interesting people as possible. From time to time I'll be posting questions and activities 'tailored' for each groups interests, in an effort to lure you into forum discussions. If you've got something you want to talk about please feel free to start your own thread.

Right! Enough housekeeping!

Firstly, have you downloaded the overview manual? DO IT NOW!
'How do I make a Digital Story' RFT_overview_manual.pdf

Have you watched some of the other stories on the site? They'll give you an idea of what you've gotten yourself in for : ) PLEASE, PLEASE post comments to tell the storytellers what you thought, how their tale made you feel, whether there are people you'd like to share their story with... many of them are here in the RFT space as mentors but don't forget they are just starting on the journey of sharing their story with the world, so they're keen to hear from you!

You may also like to have a look at digital stories on some of the sites in the 'interesting links' forum... and if you find some favourites let us know!

Session One Activity

Tell a story about your name... how did you get it? Did you get hassled at school because of it? Have you made your own modifications?

Ultimately the point is: like our identity (gender, sexual, metaphysical etc) we don't normally have a lot of control over how we are labelled... however, we can choose how we'll live with our names, just as we choose how we'll define ourselves...

If doing this gets you thinking more about identity you might want to post some thoughts on the 'GLBTQIA' forum...

You might also like to add a few sentences on why you're here... what you're hoping to get out of the whole 'Rainbow Family Tree' experience ; )

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It's interesting, the surnames we choose to gift our children. My partner and I decided our children would have her surname - Galea-Du Chesne is too much of a mouthful (imagine the SPELLING all your life!) and as Louise is not legally recognised here in Qld (same there in SA I think), I thought it was an important point to make about her central role in our family. I was sad to lose my surname but her name sounds good too!
Sorry, I posted here by accident, I'm not part of the next digidoc group. Maybe later in time. Lovely to read about you all though!!
Hey Claire! You don't have to be part of the storytellers group to participate in activities - feel free to get involved in discussions and offer feedback on stories ; ) Hope you WILL think about making a story sometime!
I would love to make a story at some point.
I'll repost what I deleted from above.

My name is Claire Ellen Boland. I was born Claire Jane Boland. When I was about 13 years old my mum told me about my naming me. She said "before you were born we had decided you would be Claire Ellen if you were a girl, but on the delivery table I had a though 'Oh No, you can't be Claire Ellen, because your cousin is Mary Ellen' so we changed it to Jane". Jane is my mothers name. She asked me if I would like to be Claire Ellen and I did. So we changed it with a Statuary Declaration. (What I didn't tell her at her time was I didn't like 'Jane' because it was her name and she annoyed me, I was happy to get rid of the 'Jane' part)
At school I received a few nick names that annoyed me, but the most creative by far came from one boy who liked to lengthen my name, Claire Bare Kick-your-ass Boland. It became something I could laugh at after a bit, but only when he said it.

There's another whole story about my surname and choices for the future but that may have to be told then, in the future.

I'm here because I'm part of Sonja's Family - The Faerie Family, I love being a faerie in the family.
Also I do want to change the world, and I can do it, one piece at a time, and already through viewing the digidocs on here I have gained another tool to do so. (Thanks Kate in That's so Gay - your words have refueled me.)
hi, is there are restriction on who can post when? And are there time limits on the digital stories themselves?
Sorry, that was a bit off the topic 'eh.
My names are Bronwen Anne McClelland. Not too much to tell. My mum always liked Bronwen as a name and knew she'd name a daughter that. And no we don't even have a Welsh connection. Despite it being occasionally annoying to have to spell out (e, not y) every time, I have always liked being a bit "different" in my spelling. Meaning is a bit more tricky - especially when as a teenager the topic of name meanings came up and I had to admit to bearing a name meaning "white breast". hmmmm... I always felt as though Anne was the most boring and common middle name ever. At least it had the "e" that's so important (or so Anne of Green Gables taught me). I like McClelland because it speaks to the Scottish heritage that is on both sides of my family. The only problem with it is how difficult it is for people from other cultures to say (all those "l"s!) While Melina and I did contemplate the idea of one or both of us changing our names when we got together, I realised that this has been me for too long, I don't want to change my label now.
On another topic (again!) I have been interested in digital stories for a long time - since I first wrote a set of them for my practically illiterate refugee teenage students using Powerpoint in about 2000. I have used movie maker more recently to create narratives together with my classes, or to help them tell stories. I am excited about the idea of telling a snippet from my own life - and am starting to play with images/ideas in my head for the story I want to tell.... Not sure about how much time I realistically have to put into it though...
well i just rang my Mum and asked her and she said she cant remember where she got my name from - that she thinks she heard it when teaching one day and liked it! Anyway, when i was young i never met another Damien - it wasnt until i was a young adult that i met one, and even he was spelt with an 'a'. The only other Damie/an i knew of when younger was in The Omen, which didnt bother me as i liked the movies anyway! Over more recent years i have met more Damien's, but i think i still feel a sense of originality from childhood in my name.

I have always liked my name - i certainly am glad it was that name mum heard at teaching and not something else. As other people have said in relation to being teased about their name, it was nice to have one thing about me that i wasnt teased for. Sometimes people have called me 'Dame' but i dont really like that (though one friend still does). My sister calls me Dami which i dont mind. A few people in my life have called me Riggles (my last name is Riggs) which i dont mind, though like 'Dame', i dont like being called Riggsy (recently some religious right wing homophobe wrote a blog rant about my testimony to the NSW Inquiry on same-sex adoption, and in that he referred to me as Riggsy, which i found more offensive than his homophobic rant!!!).

As for why i am here, like last time i think primarily and honestly i am here for Sonja. But, like last time, i have a story to tell and this is a good opportunity to tell it. I think the problem with being motivated to do something to support someone else's project means that all the fine detail stuff can be too much (today i had a freak out about having to do regular stuff on the forums etc - i am more of a bang it all together in one go type of person), but i also remind myself that having a document that records our family as it is now is important, and thus i am just as motivated to do something for my family, and to be part of the bigger picture that is being produced here (which i am very excited about).
My name is Amelia Jade Redman-Hutchinson. When i was born i passed away but then brought back to life. While i was in another world (whether that be heaven, i am unsure of) the nurse asked my mum what i will be called. My mum said "Amelia". My mum had never heard the name before in her life, it just sorta slipped out. I never really had trouble at school, i only had many wierd and wacky nik names. My current nik names are Millie, Mills, and Redman so feel free to call me any of those. I go by just the surname Redman. The name Hutchinson comes from my father, but because i no longer see him and do not have any contact with him then i just take the name Redman. When i turn 18 im hopeing to change it just to Redman, for many reasons, one is because Redman-Hutchinson doesnt fit on bank cards.

I am here to do some digital story telling, i got refered to Sonja by a 'group leader' from a group that i attend every fortnight. i am lookin forward to makin something! :)
For some reason I love name stories and their meanings. I never used to like my name as a kid - Riki Melaina - and at one stage changed my middle name from Melaina to Bruce, my poppa's middle name (I was raised by my grandparents for numerous years and am very close to them). Needless to say, it didn't last too long. At one stage I also wanted to change my first name from Riki to Jesse, as that was the other name my mum was considering for me and as a kid I was often called Riki Tikki Tarvi because of a children's story my primary school librarian read one day. In hindsight, I think I simply wasn't comfortable in my own skin and wanting to change my name was perhaps an indication of that.

My full name is Riki Melaina Owens-Bennett. I was named Riki after Rikki Lee Jones, whom my mum was listening to when she was pregnant with me. Mum liked the name Melaina, but I can never remember where she heard/found it... I was actually born as Owens, which is my dad's surname. When I was six my parents split up and I automatically took on my mum's surname, Bennett, which I retained for most of my childhood and teenage years much to my dad's disdain. In year 12 I went on student exchange overseas and needed to get my passport, and knew there might be some confusion and complication over what my actual surname was so I changed it to a hyphenated name of both my parents. I didn't want to choose one, as that was what I had been pressured to do as a child and teenager. I am now proud to say that I'm the only Owens-Bennett I know of :)

I didn't really get hassled about my name at school apart from the storybook thing. These days I go by a number of nicknames, most of them unrelated to my actual name... The main problem I have is people assuming I'm male when they see my first name.

As I've gotten older and become more comfortable with who I am, I've appreciated my name more and more, realising how unique it actually is. Even Riki itself isn't a common name and especially the spelling is rare - I've known only one other girl with the same spelling. As for my middle name, I often don't tell people what it is... Not sure why exactly but I consider it to be quite precious to me. Most people are surprised when I tell them my middle name because it's so 'pretty' and I'm definitely more of a tomboy :)

The surname thing is an interesting one. My partner and I plan on getting married in the near future and I've often wondered what we should do with our surnames, if anything. Do we leave them as is or create our own? Before I came out I had always been adamant that when I married I wouldn't take on the male's surname - the young feminist coming out in me back then. Now, I don't know anymore... then the question of when/if we have children - what surname do we give them?
It's interesting hearing from people with hyphenated surnames - it was a bit of a big decision to "let go" of my surname when I had children, but I always imagine it would be so clunky having a hyphenated surname that I didn't want to do that to our kids. It was an easier decision for me though, as my partner is a woman so giveng the children her name didn't feel like a patriarchal erasure of my role in their creation! It sounds like people with hyphenated surnames don't mind...but I would like to know what you decide to do when it's time to pass on a name.


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