Emerging Horizons, Part Four. Derek’s Story: More Than Words





This fourth installment of the Emerging Horizons series explores Derek’s digital storytelling (DST) experience (please see the introductory editorial, Crafting Meaning, Cultivating Understanding, to access the documentary film on which the series is based). In contrast to other workshop participants, Derek’s primary goal for his digital story was to convey a specific, pre-determined meaningful moment from his cancer experience in a more compelling manner. Building from the image system Derek utilized in his digital story, and further contextualizing the events he describes, this interpretive article depicts the unique cancer survivorship experiences of Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer survivors and demonstrates the possibilities of DST to help AYAs release “bottled up” emotions before they become rancid (i.e., release suppressed or repressed emotions before they transform into diagnosed psychosocial co-morbidity). Finally, Derek’s experience demonstrates how the multi-modal nature of DST can enable AYAs to incite an emotional response from their audience that can in turn confirm and affirm the life lessons embedded in their cancer experience.

Author Biographies

Dr. Michael J Lang, University of Calgary

Dr. Mike Lang is a health researcher, filmmaker, and Level 3 facilitator with Common Language Digital Storytelling. He has directed and produced five feature-length documentaries and four web series about the human health experience, in addition to publishing academic research articles and facilitating the creation of over 800 digital stories with a diverse cross-section of patients, family caregivers, and healthcare professionals. Mike’s professional and research focus is on using digital storytelling and documentary filmmaking in education, advocacy, research, and a therapeutic capacity within healthcare and wellness contexts. Connect with him on all socials @mikelangstories or via www.mikelangstories.com or commonlanguagedst.org.

Dr. Catherine M Laing, University of Calgary, Faculty of Nursing

Catherine M Laing is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs. She was Michael's PhD supervisor and has conducted her own prior studies in the area of digital storytelling in oncology.