Share a Story - Change the World
Please find the notes below of a recent Conference on the future of storytelling in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England below...
Rosy Dawn or False Glow: The Future of Storytelling in Ireland, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Now is the moment to step forward, with the world spinning as it is, the idea of cultural currency has become a potent one. Storytelling is connected to identity, development, belonging and healing.
Storytelling in Scotland.
o In Scotland the idea of storytelling as a tool to promote literacy is quite widely accepted, through nurture groups and other programmes.
o The NHS is promoting storytelling through the gathering and publishing of tales and personal stories.
o Storytelling still maintains a lower profile than something like Scottish Opera, how can we raise it up to that level?
GROWING STORYTELLERS by Liz Weir
o How to organise the business of storytelling
o Physical training; breath and vocal training
o Repertoire and development
o Know your limits, don’t say yes to everything!
o Child Protection Training
o Learn the fundamentals and then ask “What am I best at?”
o “Story Repair Workshops”, Story groups of storytellers to work on stories
o How do we measure or assess the quality of storytelling
During recession we must focus on strategic development, areas like:
Individual artistic support
GROWING AUDIENCES by Adrian Johnson
Venues / Marketing / Audience development
Nobody knows what we do, so it is time to VISIBLY VALUE THE VOCAL ARTS!
1. Storytelling Laureate position was created to beat the drum and raise the profile of storytelling on an international level.
2. Storytelling competitions (story slams etc) can be used to create connections and grow new audiences.
3. Catchphrases are helpful in spreading the word
“If you can’t tell it you can’t spell it!” said by one UK politician.
4. While we are in a recession we must stay aware that the lottery money is going to increase and therefore pools of money are still available.
How do we start raising the profile?
o Bring the art of storytelling into the public profile through television reality shows or competitions.
o Be aware of where the social focus is. E.g. Hip nós is a blend of sean nós singing and hip hop (Dublin).
Marketing Approaches to building audiences
1. Word of Mouth
2. Targeted email
3. Categorise your event
4. Be persistent and consistent
5. Approach e communications analytically
6. Target your audience for your event
7. Perople have to know what they’re coming to. What will it feel
like to be there; storytelling events often don’t’ tell/inform people of what
they’re coming to.
8. Themed events might build more audience more quickly.
9. Do your own audience analysis, keep up to date records of your demographic
10. Plan your PR strategy as an individual or as an organisation
11. Build partnerships with Arts Council / Funders to avail of the support
12. How to pitch it: it’s a lifestyle thing, it’s a social thing
13. University email lists
14. Promoting your event at another event (t shirts, flyers etc)
16. Cultural Economics ; remember that culture is a form of currency. #
17. Clear Message + Target = Success
18. Offering beginners classes in storytelling always sells out, meets a niche market of beginners
19. Offer your funders more, give them branding on the event, give them your time etc
Anecdotal evidence versus proof
There needs to be an academic gathering of evidence that supports the idea of how storytelling works, how it promotes literacy, why
it develops the human psyche, how it fills the gaps that currently exist in the
How do we take what’s already being done (nurture groups etc) and develop that into an international focus on storytelling?
1. National storytelling month / year
Get governments and educational organisations behind this, charities too. Market it worldwide
and this would allow a huge market for development not just of the profile of
storytelling but of the possible work that could be achieved.
Get analytical or statistical information based on the work that is already being done in schools.
Get demographic sheets for every school visit to keep record of who is
being reached and what the after effects are.
3. Archive of best practise
Resource for other storytellers and future storytelling work. Spark the Imagination monitored a term of storytelling so
statistics are available on this. T3 at the Verbal Arts Centre also has some information
Much reminiscence work that has been done with communities is not appreciated, it sits in an archive and never gets looked at
again once the project is finished.
Storytelling is a live art, perhaps the archives should be live too? As
in ongoing community activities?
Or perhaps a visual display put in a prominent place after the project happens would be useful.
Community development + the role of the storyteller.
The storyteller becomes the animateur, the voice that animates the community by feeding back positive stories about itself. This art
of positive reflection allows the community to change its perspective and to
grow in new directions that would not have been possible before.
Storytelling develops understanding and it is this understanding that creates change. We have no idea of the reach of our work, a story told now can ripple forward and make a change in 70 years.
“If you don’t know the trees you might be lost in the forest, if you don’t know the stories you might be lost in life”
Storytelling is the vocal art.
We are living in a moment of change and opportunity.
It is an art of the people, for the people and by the people.
Storytelling allows the owning identity, claiming value of self, culture and community
Are we offering the routes for development of new tellers
Stay aware of the social focus…what is popular is usually well funded
Are we using the media properly?
Preview your event: Tell people it is going to happen
View your event: Remind people it’s about to happen
Review your event: tell people that is happened and what it was like.