Digital Storytelling

What is digital storytelling? What kinds of meaningful experiences can you create online? And what makes digital storytelling different from other forms of art and writing?

Following the relaunch of Voiceworks Online in October 2018, for the first time in 2019, Express Media presents Toolkits: Digital Storytelling. This online course teaches the forms, skills, and ethics of creating stories for the web and beyond. This program will combine theoretical approaches, practical exercises, and one-on-one mentorship to guide young writers through the development of their work.

Over a 12-week intensive, participants join the Wheeler Centre’s Senior Digital Editor, Jon Tjhia, to work through different considerations when working online – from using video and podcasting to coding, non-linear narratives and creative imagery. The limits of form are bound only by the imagination of participants.

Toolkits is first and foremost a practical initiative, and a large focus of this course will be on creating work that’s uniquely digital and couldn’t be published on the printed page. Young writers will be encouraged to create, write, workshop and edit their work throughout the course.

Participants also have the chance to learn from some of Australia’s most unique digital storytellers, with guest artists Kylie Boltin, Jessica Yu and more presenting live and online sessions for the next generation across the country.

Tuesday 20th August | Week 1A | Digital storytelling: Beginnings (and beyond)

What are we talking about when we say ‘digital storytelling’ – and why is it interesting to audiences and creators? In our first week, we’ll take a look at a wide range of examples, from coded, interactive storytelling to multimedia features and hybrid publications. How can we sandbox our projects? What are the strengths and weaknesses of some of the options for us as storytellers?

Tuesday 27th August | Week 1B

Feedback week

Tuesday 3rd September | Week 2A | Linear Narratives

How do linear storytelling forms allow us to communicate in visceral, rhythmic ways? How do you structure the various parts of a story – and designate their forms? And – what kinds of stories are best told in this way? We’ll work through examples, from stirring, imaginative works to those focused on enhancing the transfer of facts. Plus: How do you prepare, collect and organise your material? What kinds of tools will we need in order to achieve our desired outcomes – and what are some quick ways to experiment?

Tuesday 10th September | Week 2B

Feedback week

Tuesday 17th September | Week 3A | Tools and How To Use Them with Kylie Boltin

This week, guest artist Kylie Boltin will talk about what she’s learned as a journalist, producer, filmmaker and commissioning editor of online documentaries. She’ll discuss different forms, experiences and examples – including working with communities outside the media mainstream – and explain how, why and when she favours the various tools in her storytelling arsenal.

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Tuesday 24th September | Week 3B

Feedback week

Tuesday 1st October | Week 4A | Betanarratives with Jessica Zhan Mei Yu

This week, we’ll look at stories that don’t advance in a linear fashion; perhaps, they don’t advance at all, but instead soak and brood. What kind of planning and iteration goes into planning and building an interactive story; how do you keep track of the big picture and the details? How do you collaborate across disciplines?

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Tuesday 8th October | Week 4B

Feedback week

Tuesday 15th October | Week 5 | Collaborative storytelling with Daen Sansbury Smith

This week, we’re joined by storytelling facilitator, Daen Sansbury Smith from Sharing Stories, who ‘work with Indigenous communities to protect, maintain and grow language, stories and cultural heritage through digital technologies and vibrant artistic art forms for the benefit of all children today and future generations tomorrow.’ We’ll talk about collaboration, co-creation, inclusion and facilitation – and consider some exciting, broad ways to engage with storytellers and audiences.  

Join the conversation and livestream this Toolkits Live event.

Tuesday 22nd October | Week 5B

Feedback week

Tuesday 29th October | Week 6A | Pitch Perfect

For our final workshop – it’s time to discuss being edited, published and fed. How do digital storytellers pitch, share or get rewarded for their best work? We’ll be looking at where to pitch, how to pitch and how to explain your ideas. What does a productive relationship with an editor look like? How and where can you self-publish? And how can you bank these skills you’ve got, beyond digital publishing?

Tuesday 5th November | Week 6B

Feedback week

Applications to Toolkits are free for Express Media members. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up here.

Express Media is committed to access, so if you would like to sign up and are experiencing financial hardship, please contact us via to be awarded one of our sponsored memberships.


The only other things you’ll need are motivation and internet connection, so don’t miss out on this exciting opportunity to refine your craft and be mentored by some of Australia’s best literary talent.

Applications have now closed 

Have a question? Need help with your application? Send an email to Express Media’s Creative Producer, Bethany Atkinson-Quinton at

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Jon-Tjhia-2017-credit-Tom-Ross-683x1024.jpg

Jon Tjhia is a radio maker, musician, artist and writer. He’s the co-founder of the podcast Paper Radio, the co-editor of the Australian Audio Guide, and the Wheeler Centre’s senior digital editor. Since 2010, Paper Radio’s stories have aired on radio stations around the anglosphere, been played at Manchester Literature Festival and danced to at the Barbican Centre, and profiled in the New Yorker and the Age. Jon’s Wheeler Centre projects include the podcasts Better Off Dead and the multi-award winning series The Messenger, large-scale interactive projects like #Discuss and 20 


Questions, and the digital publication Notes. Photo by Tom Ross


Kylie Boltin has written, directed and produced documentaries for TV and Online, and currently leads the slate of Interactive documentaries at SBS as commissioning editor. Her projects include the Webby nominated MissingThe true story of abducted school girl, Wendy Jane Pfeiffer and the Pitjantjara trackers who found her and the multi-award winning interactive graphic novel, The Boat.


In 2018, Kylie wrote and directed the world’s first live documentary for Instagram, She Called Me Red  which was nominated for a Walkley in the category of Innovation and won the Nikon-Walkley award for Best Feature or Photographic Essay. Kylie also produced the Walkley award winning interactive documentary: Cronulla Riots: The Day That Shook the Nation

A 2019 Our Watch Fellowship recipient, Kylie holds a PhD in Creative Media and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and has taught fiction and non-fiction writing at universities in Australia and social justice cinema in the film department at Dartmouth College, USA.


Photo credit: Noel McLaughlin

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Jessica Zhan Mei Yu is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne. In 2015, she was selected as one of Melbourne Writers Festival’s 30 under 30. She is the founding editor of Betanarratives. Her writing has been published in The Best Australian Poems, Overland, Australian Poetry Journal, Award Winning Australian Writing, The Saturday Paper and more. She received a 2016-7 Royal Over-Seas League Arts Travel Scholarship to complete a fellowship and present her work with Edinburgh Art Festival 2017. She has also received a Glenfern Fellowship and a Wheeler 


Centre Hot Desk Fellowship. Headshot by MeiMei Xu.

Daen Sansbury Smith of the Narungga (SA) and Trawoolwaway (TAS) nations is the Victorian Production Manager for SharingStories Foundation based in Melbourne. Daen has a background in audio engineering and content production, for many years he has participated in the creation and sharing of artistic content across a range of media nationally.

As SharingStories’ Victorian Production Manager, Daen has managed the relationship and production of content with several Victorian Aboriginal communities. He has additionally been involved in delivering Professional Development  workshops to teachers with a focus on how to respectfully utilise ATSI perspectives and resources in the classroom. Daen has worked and collaborated with language speakers and linguists to ensure that multiple stories recorded and interpreted as part of SharingStories Digital Storytelling Programs are available in their language of origin. He has trained in the use of Hype and iBook’s author and is responsible for collating community produced content in easily accessible, interactive, bilingual multi touch books. Additionally, Daen is skilled in audio editing and mixing and has worked as an audio facilitator on several SharingStories’ Digital Storytelling Programs with partner communities across Australia.



Toolkits: Digital Storytelling is generously supported by The Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

Toolkits: Live is presented by Express Media in partnership with Regional Arts Victoria as part of the Arts Connect Series funded by the Federal Government’s Regional Arts Fund.