Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World


Federation of European Storytelling Conference August 2010

Location: Reading University Campus, Reading UK

Participants: 60 beautiful and talented storytellers and producers, teachers and volunteers from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, England, Ireland, Canada, Jordan, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Scotland, Greece, The Netherlands (did I forget any??)

What happened??

It was the annual FEST conference to gather together...what happened? We played, we sang, we drank, we broke bread together.  People met old friends and made new ones. We watched documentaries told from inspiring storytelling angles....we gathered and shared our wisdom.

It was my second Conference and a phenomenal experience. I wasn't sure that anything could beat Lausanne's Conference last year, but this one matched it and at times improved on it.

There was a lot of shared wisdom, some great development on multilingual and bilingual telling...great spontaneous storytelling and experimental lab work which produced some BEAUTIFUL collaborations on storytellers getting together for an hour and producing something new (galopa, galopa galopa!)

Canada and Jordan were our international observers, thanks to them for making the trip! (Serina, Eric and Dale!)

We met many new faces that didn't make it to Lausanne and were so glad to see that the word had spread.

I would love to hear more of what other people experienced....weigh in your opinions! and please post your photos!!

more soon

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks, Clare.

An excerpt from my blog on follows:

The Federation of European Storytelling conference in Reading was a very thought-provoking and enjoyable meeting of a diversity of minds dedicated to the promotion of the art of storytelling in a variety of contexts around Europe.

Clare Murphy and Ragnhild Mørch presented many of the sessions on behalf of the steering group. Very competently, too.

The conference included several demonstrations of multilingual storytelling, including Clare and Ragnhild and one other telling the tale of sun and moon and sea in English, Norwegian and Spanish. (This is not the same as the Greenlandic tale of Sun and moon that I tell.) The combination of languages made for a layered, jazzy musical effect. Similarly, Troels Kirk Ejsing presented a fugue in which the story of the Runaway pancake was told in Danish, Norwegian and German. The combination of voices in this case created an operatic effect. This was initially a little comical, as the story is hardly sublime, but the eventual effect was quite sublime nevertheless.

The fundamental approach is described as ‘co-telling’, which is close to tandem telling, but using two or more different languages, with some overlap of key phrases in each of the different languages, to ensure that speakers of any given language will be able to follow. I must ask Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh to try this approach to some stories in Irish and English with me. We might even take it in turns to tell in either language.

At the pub on the first evening, I was gradually drawn into conversation with Mick Gowar, a lecturer at the Cambridge School of Art who repeatedly reveals a detailed knowledge of various aspects of Irish history and contemporary politics, only to modestly dismiss it each time I note it. Mick is currently seeking funding for a storytelling archive project, and so is keenly interested in stories I might offer. He asks whether I have a signature story, and of course I have several: Rane in the taiga, Sun and moon, Point two twenty-two, and the Arabian Nights in tandem with Adam Wilson.

Somehow, Mick has an idea that Countess Markievicz carried a Mauser, but it takes a trip to the web to remind me that my source suggested she used a Parabellum. And I now know that there is such a thing as a Mauser Parabellum. Si vis pacem, they say, para bellum.

On the second evening, I met David Ambrose, who is involved with Ben Haggarty in the Beyond the border festival. He was very interested in the Narrative Arts Association, and particularly the question of how storytelling might take market share from other arts such as comedy clubs. For starters, I suggest, Adam and I are running a city-centre storytelling club that charges an admission fee and is striving to develop a stable of skilled storytellers who can muscle into the night-life market. Modest as the effort may be, David seems to buy it, offering his storytelling club in Cardiff as an example of something similar.

I missed the last afternoon at the conference to fly back to Dublin in time for Milk and Cookies After Dark.
thanks Clare.
For the countries just a thought to add Switzerland...
I come from Vevey, Switzerland.
Of course!

I wrote a second blog on this Nathalie so hopefully i remembered Switzerland there. It was all a blur afterwards so I knew I would forget things. My apologies.

Beir bua
great afternoon to you.
[Apologies if this is the wrong place to write...] I wish I could have attended FEST at Reading but I was telling tales on the high seas.. Yes, really! I'd like to get involved somewhen, as I'm keen to observe and support multi lingual 'telling (eg dust off my French and German). Above all I yearn to support storytelling for audiences of adults, as intelligent entertainment. A big ask, it seems, certainly in the UK, so I want to connect with people who are doing it, developing it, honouring ancient traditions in new ways, creatively combining with other/modern artforms, creating completely new work etc etc etc. I will watch the FEST group and will respond to contacts ( eventually!) Kind regards to all.
Hello Chloe

thanks for this! with your interests stated in that way I cannot encourage you enough to come to FEST! It will fill up your creative well, introduce you to a world of others interested in such things, and general inspire you to new heights!

June 8-11th are the dates or therabouts,




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