On Monday 10 February, Giulia Cortellesi (TOY) participated in the kick-off event of the Storytellers Project in Empoli, Italy.
The Storytellers Project is a concept for a new library service connecting a community of senior readers to children and their families for remote reading aloud sessions. Children use the Storybell robot at home to connect with seniors willing to read. The Storybell robot transmits their reading live allowing them to speak as if they were on the phone.
TOY is a partner of the project, responsible for training the implementers on the pedagogy of intergenerational learning and its dynamics, and for evaluating the impact of the pilot from the perspectives of the children, carers and older adults involved.
The Storyteller Project began as a self-initiated side project of interaction designer Laura Boffi, who has recently received financial support from the EU project Designscapes. Laura already visited TOY in the Netherlands to do somer initial fieldwork and co-creation to further develop the concept.
The project is now in the prototyping phase, in which 5 Storybells are being produced and will be tested by 5 families with young childen under 8 and 10 senior readers in Empoli, an Italian town near Florence. Besides TOY, the project counts on the collaboration of the Public Library of Empoli, responsible for recruiting families and senior readers; an actress who is responsible for training senior readers in reading aloud skills, and an organisation specilised in children’s literature.
During this first visit, Giulia Cortellesi organised a workshop for the project partners and met with the families and the senior readers. They had a fun story session, reading a book about a child who couldn’t find anybody to read a story to him and his grandmother came to the rescue bringing him to the library for a story reading session.
The prototyping phase for the Storytellers project will last until end of May 2020, after which an evaluation report will be available.