About the Project
In 2013, the Immigration History Research Center launched the Immigrant Stories project to collect contemporary migration stories through digital storytelling and preserve them in the IHRC Archives. Immigrant Stories grew out of recent IHRC research projects which used digital humanities tools to expand access to the Archives and to preserve "born digital" historic materials.
Immigrant Stories teaches participants to make a digital story about a personal or family migration experience. We chose digital storytelling as our methodology because it allows participants to determine both the form and content of their stories. We encourage participants to recount a story that they feel comfortable sharing publicly and would like preserved for future generations. Participants write their own story, record an audio voiceover, and select images (such as personal photos, family documents, and original music) to create a brief video.
We define "immigrant" broadly. Our collection contains stories from first-generation immigrants and refugees- that is, people born outside the country where they currently live)- as well as stories created by their children and grandchildren. Immigrant Stories have been created by international students, international adoptees, and people who do not feel that their stories fit a particular (or just one) category. There is not one way to tell an immigrant story because there is no single story that represents all immigrants and their histories.
Anyone can make and share their story using our video-making website. No specialized technical knowledge is required. The website incorporates our existing digital storytelling training and a video editing program, eliminating the need for outside software. Using this free tool only requires a computer or mobile device connected to the internet.
We also provide free Immigrant Stories Curriculum. 1) Making Immigrant Stories: Educators can use our guides to help others make their own digital stories in public workshops or classes for high school students, college students, and English language learners. 2) Teaching Immigration with the Immigrant Stories Project: We have collaborated with the Advocates for Human Rights to create lessons about immigration for grade 8-adult learners.
The IHRC Archives will preserve these digital stories and ensure that they will be publicly accessible for future generations. Our digital stories are also discoverable through the Minnesota Digital Library and the Digital Public Library of America. Through these online libraries, the public can explore the Immigrant Stories collection alongside the collections of many libraries, archives, and museums. All Immigrant Stories are also shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite Our Digital Stories
Researchers and educators may cite Immigrant Stories according to any citation style provided they include the following information: “Story subject's full name,” Name of editor (if applicable), Immigrant Stories Collection, Immigration History Research Center & Archives, Story creation date, <Digital story URL>.
"Liang Xiong," Justin Schell, ed., Immigrant Stories Collection, Immigration History Research Center & Archives, Spring 2013, <Digital story URL.>
"William Nyang'un," Immigrant Stories Collection, Immigration History Research Center & Archives, 2015, <Digital story URL.>