Multimodal short story: ‘These Memories Won’t Last’

Multimodal short story: ‘These Memories Won’t Last’

This week’s link is to a beautifully realised, interactive multimodal nonfiction short story.

These Memories Won’t Last’ by Stuart Campbell, who works under the name Sutu, is a short story that explores his grandfather’s dementia and its impact on the family. The story is accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, but perhaps the most interesting thing about this narrative is that it uses its method of storytelling to add layers of meaning. As you scroll through the images and read the panels, they vanish towards the top of the screen, gently fading from view. Reading this story, there is no scrolling back so we are at the mercy of our own memories as the cells dissolve. It’s a great touch to emphasise some of the key ideas that the narrative explores.

these memories won't last 3This story will work well as a stand-alone text to teach some of the skills of interpreting and writing about more complex graphic texts, or to complement the study of another related text, especially Maus. It would also be great additional material for the Context ‘Whose reality?’ or an introduction to the possibilities of visual narratives for Year 9 or 10 students. It might also inspire them to create some visual stories of their own.

Scroll down for a concise content breakdown that will help you to assess if this resource is right for your school context or class, and for a free downloadable PDF of guiding questions and activities.

Best wishes and happy teaching!

Sandra Duncanson
Senior Editor

The resource

‘These Memories Won’t Last’ by Stuart Campbell (Sutu)
Form: online interactive multimodal nonfiction short story
Length: students can scroll through at their own pace (approx. 10–15 minutes)
Author information: Sutu is an Australian illustrator, writer and multimedia artist.

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Download includes content for:

  • Year 12 Context: Whose reality?
  • Year 12 Text study: Maus
  • Year 11: Reading and creating texts (graphic narrative nonfiction)
  • Year 10:
    • Compare the purposes, text structures and language features of traditional and contemporary texts in different media (ACELA1566)
    • Understand how paragraphs and images can be arranged for different purposes … and stylistic effects (ACELA1567)
    • Evaluate the impact on audiences of different choices in the representation of still images (ACELA1572)
    • Analyse and explain how text structures, language features and visual features of texts, and the context in which texts are experienced may influence audience response (ACELT1641).
  • Year 9:
    • Understand how authors innovate with text structures and language for specific purposes and effects (ACALA 1553)
    • Experiment with the ways that language features, image and sound can be adapted in literary texts (ACELT1638)
    • Explore and explain the combinations of language and visual choices that authors make to present information (ACELY1745)
    • Create imaginative texts … that integrate visual, print and/or audio features (ACELT1746).

Suitability and relevance

Central ideas

  • explores the fragility of memory and the impact of dementia on an individual and their family and the lingering trauma of war experiences.

Content warnings: none

Additional elements: includes sound and integrated digital effects

Additional resources

  • Other work by the author: Neomad, created with Indigenous students in the Pilbara, Western Australia (includes a study guide and three different iPad stories)

Images from ‘These Memories Won’t Last’ have been reproduced in this blog post with permission from Stuart Campbell (Sutu).

Last updated: 5 February 2016
©Insight Publications 2016

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