Using digital storytelling to promote healthy relationships and sexual health among young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Australia: A structured scoping review

Stream: Presentations
Date: Sunday, 4 December 2016
Time: 3.45 pm – 5.30 pm


Introduction: Digital methods of self-expression and autobiography have become an important tool for those working in community development with young people and people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, due to the participatory opportunities they offer for supporting people to tell their own stories, identify their own needs, and develop strategies to overcome challenges. Methods: A structured scoping review, comprising a systematic literature search and consultations, was undertaken to describe the research available from Australia and comparable countries on supporting young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to engage with sexual and reproductive health promotion and care through the use of digital stories and related digital methods of autobiography and self-expression. A total of 28 papers were deemed eligible for inclusion. Findings: Four key themes were evident from the literature: i) digital stories as social activism; ii) digital stories as research intervention; iii) digital stories as complex terrain; iv) recommendations for good practice. Three gaps were also identified: i) digital stories on sexual health and relationships by culturally diverse young people in Australia; ii) ethical considerations of using digital storytellilng and related methods in sexual health fields; and iii) opportunities to employ digital methods of self-representation and autobiography to generate knowledge and build organisational capacity. Conclusion: Whilst it appears from the literature, and in discussions with professionals working in this area, that digital storytelling can be used to promote healthy relationships and sexual health among young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds, further research is still required in the Australian context.


Jessica Botfield (Presenter), UNSW Australia
Jessica Botfield is a Senior Research Officer at Family Planning NSW, focusing on sexual and reproductive health programmes and qualitative research and evaluation in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. Prior to this she worked as a Research Associate with the Health, Rights and Development team (@HEARDatUNSW) at the School of Social Sciences, UNSW Australia, with a focus on global health and development research. She is also a Registered Nurse with experience in sexual and reproductive healthcare.

Christy Newman, UNSW Australia
Christy Newman is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Social Research in Health, in UNSW Australia Arts and Social Sciences. With a background in health sociology and cultural studies, Christy has broad interests in expert and lived accounts, as well as social representations, of medicine ‘at the margins’. Her research explores five distinctive but intersecting domains: appreciating lived experiences of infectious disease; strengthening health workforce capacity to care for disadvantaged communities; enhancing wellbeing in the context of sexual diversity; understanding the place of sexual health in young adults’ lives; and analysing representations of health, illness and medicine.

Caroline Lenette, UNSW Australia
Caroline Lenette’s research focuses on refugee and asylum seeker mental health and wellbeing, forced migration and resettlement, and arts-based research in health, particularly visual ethnography and community music. She is currently working on an Australian Research Council funded project on settlement services for Women-at-Risk in Brisbane with colleagues from the Queensland University of Technology and a community-based settlement organisation. She also works with a multidisciplinary team at UNSW to look at how digital storytelling can improve the sexual health of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Kath Albury, UNSW Australia
Kath Albury’s work explores theoretical and applied understandings of mediated sexual self-representation, sexual sub-cultures and alternative sex practices, young people’s mediated sexual cultures, and the primary prevention of sexual violence. Her current research projects focus young people’s practices of digital self-representation, and the role of user-generated media (including social networking platforms) in young people’s formal and informal sexual learning.

Anthony Zwi, UNSW Australia
Anthony Zwi is Professor of Global health and Development at UNSW Australia. He is particularly interested in global health and development policy and their interface with equity, social justice and human rights. He seeks to promote mechanisms to facilitate evidence-informed health and development policy. Anthony and colleagues have worked on the ethics of research in conflict-affected settings, and the role of service providers and community members, including young people, in shaping and influencing responses to conflict and disasters. Anthony convenes a research and advocacy group focused on Health, Rights and Development (@HEARDatUNSW).