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DigitasLBi encourages migrant children to tell their stories

21 Feb 2018 14:46 | Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries

More and more Dutch primary school children are meeting refugee children, because these children are joining schools. It is important that migrant children can share their own stories with their Dutch classmates. To promote this communication, the global marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi asked students of the Master’s course in Digital Design to develop interactive apps.

Anne Frank’s story was seen as a source of inspiration. “Anne Frank came to Holland as a refugee”, explains Hanny van Hout, Creative Manager at DigitasLBi, a key partner of the Master of Science. “Her diary can inspire children to tell their own story.”

Through a child’s eyes

The prototypes of the interactive apps that the Master’s students developed in close cooperation with DigitasLBi were designed to be a useful aid to this storytelling. “In the project the students learned how to look at this theme through a child’s eyes, and to use that insight to develop an app that students could theoretically use”, explains Van Hout, who counts the Anne Frank Fonds amongst her clients.

DigitasLBi builds brands: creative work that involves campaigns, storytelling, e-commerce, engaging innovations and service design applications. User-centred design is an important aspect of the work, and it was central to the student assignment. “They learned how to combine their conversations with children together with other forms of user research, and to put the results to practical use.”

In the prototypes, stories are told via Anne Frank’s fountain pen, and migrant children are encouraged, through a variety of interactions, to describe their own experiences.

Great energy and enthusiasm

Van Hout very much enjoyed the collaboration with the Master’s students. “There was great energy, and the international group was very enthusiastic. They were all talented, with very different career backgrounds. One thing I noticed was that the digital designers didn’t know so much about the project process: how do you structure the process of putting a digital application together? They got into some difficulties there, because of the enormous speed of this project. Still, they developed some nice end products, despite their busy timetables.”

Will primary schools actually be using the apps that the students developed? “In the future, perhaps. For now this was mainly an interesting brief for the students”, says Van Hout. “We won’t be rolling the apps out in schools for the time being.”