Digital life story work

Using technology to help young people make sense of their experiences

Written by Simon P Hammond and Neil J Cooper
Price: £15.95
Publisher: BAAF
Publication date: 2013
ISBN: 978 1 907585 678
Digital life story work front cover
About the book

This innovative guide brings the benefits of life story work – traditionally undertaken with younger children – to young people and adolescents. Digital life story work charts new territory through the use of computers, free software, smartphones and camcorders in a range of contemporary and exciting ways.

With an intensely practical approach, the guide takes the reader through the process of using digital technologies for this important and valuable work. It outlines a series of fun and engaging projects on which the practitioner and young person can work together, including photo collages, making soundtracks, creating cartoons, and filming guided walks. Clear step-by-step instructions are provided, with information and advice for those unfamiliar with the technology.

Digital life story work also considers:

  • why life story work is so important and what can be achieved;
  • how to work successfully with young people, including negotiating expectations, setting boundaries and managing risks;
  • points to consider when setting up and undertaking a project;
  • how to prepare and edit visual and audio material to produce something the young person can be proud of.

While the products created by this technology may be videos or photo collages, rather than traditional life story books, the therapeutic process of building a relationship with a supportive adult while reflecting on their lives will be immensely important for the young person’s self-esteem and identity. Digital life story work is perfect for all those working with or looking after young people who cannot live with their birth families, including social workers, residential workers, therapists, counsellors, foster carers and adopters.

The authors

Dr Simon P Hammond is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of East Anglia. He developed the idea of creating adolescent specific digital life story work approaches in 2005 when he was a residential worker in Sheffield. Dr Neil J Cooper is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of East Anglia.


‘By building upon established approaches and incorporating digital technologies, this imaginative and timely guide offers new ways to help vulnerable adolescents articulate what is most important to them in their life stories.’

Emeritus Professor June Thoburn CBE 

‘This ground-breaking publication engages with young people in ways which can help them build a more resilient identity.’

Jonathan Stanley, NCERCC