Digital storytelling and city cultural organizations: An activity theory approach

This is an Adaptation, Information Management Technology (AIMTech) event taking place at Leeds University Business School on Monday 19 June 2017


This talk describes a case study investigation of a city-wide digital storytelling initiative, called “Love Your City, Share Your Stories” (LYCSYS), led by two libraries and one municipal cultural department in Hamilton, Canada. 

Data collection comprised one-on-one interviews, document review, and participant observations. Using Activity Theory as a conceptual lens, data were analyzed using grounded theory techniques. A variety of factors were found to shape digital storytelling outcomes. 

Congruencies– forces which promote stability and the carrying out of the digital storytelling activity – helped counterbalance contradictions that influenced change and the reshaping of the digital storytelling activity itself. 

Recommendations for practice emphasize the finding of a “sweet spot” in the development and implementation of a digital storytelling initiative led by city cultural organizations where congruencies mitigate any contradictions and tensions that may arise. 

Theoretical contributions are made concerning how contradictions and congruencies influence the liminality (i.e., state of ambiguity) surrounding intrapreneurial trajectory shifts in organizations. 

Importantly, the talk showcases how Activity Theory can serve as a useful conceptual framework by which to investigate digital entrepreneurship and digital innovation.

About the speaker

 Dr. Brian Detlor is Professor of Information Systems and Chair of the Information Systems Area at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada. 

He currently teaches courses in Project Management, eBusiness Strategy, and Qualitative Research Methods. His research has been published in several leading Information Systems / Information Science journals, such as the Journal of Management Information Systems, Information Systems Journal, Government Information Quarterly, and the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 

His research interests lie at the intersection of users, information, and information systems. His current research project investigates the use of digital storytelling by city cultural organizations. Future work pertains to the running of digital storytelling workshops in library makerspaces as a means to promote the digital literacy skills of disadvantaged community members.

Detailed background on this case study investigation is available as a working paper at: