Professional Storyteller

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2009 Storytelling (Un)Conference. West Coast. Let's Do This.

Given that the National Storytelling Network will not be holding a National Conference in 2009 in Los Angeles (or anywhere else, apparently)*...
let's go to Plan B:

we meet in Los Angeles anyway, without NSN.

Or San Diego. Or Oakland. Or Portland.

Who's in?

At this stage, it's a discussion. Add your thoughts, ideas, suggestions for location, format, time of year, length, etc.


* See Margaret Meyers and Jo Radner comments of July 21 and July 23 here.

Tags: conference, unconference

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hot dang I'm for this.......Portland is a wonderful city....and I do know that they have some architectual interest in that they have neighborhoods of storybook that look like Snow Whites home in the forest........the US went thru a phase of building homes as such after WW two...just a side note!....But Portland in the Fall would be fun........the great Inland Northwest has a beautiful fall....
oops. I posted a blog on this and missed this note from you.
Okay, I'll keep the comments open on this one.

"The Professional Storyteller's Conference"
August 2009
Phoenix AZ
(LA is way too expensive)

Multiple deep focused learning tracks and/or retreat
Breakout Storytelling
Emergent Concert

Small overall group <100 people
Total Group Gathering Sessions are future focused.
Advance Track and Beginner Track
New model for the structure.
Affordable hotels in the area.
I'll put the resources and contacts forward on this.
goode day Sean......the problem I have always had with traveling is balance volunteer storytelling with paid is a good idea...but when I have to travel across for my flight to and fro, room and board and do it for free....ARGH..The most I can go without too much strain is Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and North Dakota or BC. But, I sure do like to be paid for them.....I would love to get to some of these big events.......but my wallet whimpers.......I can balance some of my costs with working behind the scenes with stage prop painting...or working as a go between...volunteer hours in exchange for some of the cost......but to go from Idaho not cost effect for me unless I have a patron in a small Genie bottle.
Hi all,
I just posted a comment on this at the NSN forum. Sean, if you can do this affordably, it might work even though you're still a long high-priced flight away. The affordability, accessibility, & even the ecological benefits of teleconferences need factoring in to any national efforts at conferences.
Dear Tim:

Although the National Storytelling Network will not have a 2009 conference that they completely run (with some help from sponsors), there will still be the NSN presence at regional conferences. As the time, money, and energy normally given to a conference will be freed for other purposes, this means that partnerships can form among already self-sustaining events.

You may discover that 2009 brings many conferences supported by NSN--though not in the usual way that we have known for a couple decades.

Besides, I disagree in creating an event solely to fill the gap. Latch onto an already-scheduled event.

The Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance special interest group will think of their own partnerships with existing conferences. This gives us the "excuse" to follow-through on ideas we had already discussed in case the 2008 Conference didn't come about. We didn't have to tap into those ideas this year, though we also knew they were ideas to pursue.

Even upon a regular National Storytelling Conference again, the partnerships built in 2009 could enhance the "old way" of doing things.

Seeing the possibilities of NSN being a sponsor/partner of regional conferences rather than a leader of one conference is a refreshing and more bold of a move to get past the plateau we are now in of the American Storytelling Movement.

Hopefully this partnership idea will expand to more partnerships with performing art groups, corporations, and nonprofits.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Nah, decentralizing is probably the answer.

The opportunity exists now for the NSN to latch on and has for years. When will this latching happen? Is there some magic fairy dust that we need to use or magic words we need to say? How many times do we have to offer- is there like a magic number of times, like 333 or ????

So, would YES like to latch into the "Outside In Storytelling Marketing Camp" or the " Live" events?
Dear Sean:

In a movement that is steeped in nostalgia, sometimes the only way to bring about that "magic fairy dust" is to take away what has been tradition. That is what will happen by not having the 2009 Conference.

Obviously there has been talk before on this subject.

This movement has been placed in a corner. Now we decide if we accept our fate or if we are willing to claw our way to other opportunities. My feeling is that we will fight and we will see great things come about.

By having National Storytelling Network connected with regional conferences, this makes the organization more run by members.

Even on the level of the Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance, I nor can the YES! Board members attend all of these events. However, we do have around 170 members in many states. We will need to depend on our members to run these partnerships under the blessing of YES!. We would expect written reports with pictures on each partnership from--what you may call--our YES! ambassadors.

I will have more answer to your question after the next YES! Board conference call.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
I am willing to hear what we might be able to connect for the YES folks.
Tim's comments appeared also on the NSN forum (, and I'm posting below this the answer I wrote there --
Dear Tim,
> Plan B (and C and D and E) would be the right way to go, and NSN is
> hoping to work with members all over the country to invent new models
> of bringing storytelling gatherings and services to various places
> during the year -- including (and especially) to the West Coast.
> We'll be exploring ideas about this with members and story leaders at
> the Gatlinburg conference in a number of brainstorming forums and
> exchanges face to face, and on line through this forum and through the
> network of State Liaisons.
> Taking a year off from the huge production of a national conference
> lets us all be creative in inventing more flexible models.
> I encourage you to think "with NSN," not "without NSN." Why not
> mobilize more than 2000 storytellers in this creativity?

I love the idea of gatherings emphasizing the expertise of the YES! SIG, of all kinds of gatherings. I strongly suggest that we not fight over whose gatherings they are, and that we see ourselves all as storytellers involved in the same movement. There are too few of us to waste energy on internal squabbles! And we are smart and creative people, dedicated to an art form whose essence is COLLABORATION and sensitivity to others we deal with.

NSN offers a national organization -- a young one, learning by doing and in the process making some mistakes, but nonetheless a large movement ready to collaborate. Our decision about (non-)conference 2009 was not a negative one (let's NOT do something), but a positive one (let's see what flexible alternatives arise, and let's use NSN's network to foster them and learn what can happen).

We're members of NSN -- let's USE it, shape it, make it work for all of us. I hope everyone will join in the conversation about national events in 2009!

Jo Radner
I'm in
I say we do an unconference - based on the the very successful podcamp model.

1. All attendees must be treated equally. Everyone is a rockstar.
2. All content created must be released under a Creative Commons license:
3. All attendees must be allowed to participate. (subject to limitations of physical space, of course)
4. All sessions must obey the Law of 2 Feet - if you're not getting what you want out of the session, you can and should walk out and do something else. It's not like you have to get your money's worth!
5. The event must be storytelling focused.
6. The financials of the unconference must be fully disclosed in an open ledger, except for any donor/sponsor who wishes to remain anonymous.

This info come from...

Eric Wolf
I'm in, too, Eric -- ever since you told me about this model, I've been wanting to experience it in action. How about thinking about "unconferences" on both coasts in 2009, and also in the middle -- but in places that don't generally have major regional conferences, so that we could also extend storytelling gatherings further?

Let's talk about this in Gatlinburg, at the membership meeting and in the story leaders and state liaison meetings, to see how NSN can support the idea. We'll be gathering and discussing all sorts of "unconference" ideas for 2009 -- a great opportunity! -- and I think the membership will catch fire at them.

Would you bring some handout information about the podcamp model?

Jo Radner




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