I’m very excited to be the Knowledge Centre’s first Amplify Impact guest host of 2019! I’m very passionate about storytelling and I’m lucky to have been working in this field for over 10 years. I have witnessed first-hand the power of stories and how personal narratives can be harnessed for positive social change and I’m excited to hear how others are using stories in their work, and how I can help inspire you to use stories effectively and ethically to help promote the work you’re doing.
The “You’ve Got a Story, Now What Do You Do With It?” webinar has been posted!
Based on the webinar, I recently had a couple of questions sent to me via email, from Jessica, so I’d like to share those here:
- Where do the stories [shared in the webinar] come from? Is it that you already have a group of willing participants that you guide or do you actively seek people out who might have a story?
A: The stories come from people who agree to take our workshops. At StoryCentre Canada, we do two types of workshops: “Public workshops” where people pay for the 3-day workshop and come make any story they want to make (we have one coming up in May, if anyone is interested - get in touch with me!); but most of what we do are what we call “custom” workshops, where we work with a host-organization who will recruit participants through their own communities and networks (this is different depending on the host-organization). The organizations we’re working with will have different purposes for wanting to collect stories, which will also determine who they ask to be a storyteller. But everyone who participates knows that they’re being asked to share a personal story and how their story will ultimately be used. At StoryCentre, the way we practice is with the idea that storytellers own their stories; we’d rather have them make the story they feel they want or need to, and then decide afterwards if they’ll choose to share that story. And then there are different levels of sharing (all of which would be outlined in consent / release form(s)): in classroom settings, conferences, lectures, or other in-person events, which can easily be monitored and controlled; or online, which is much more public and harder to control.
- Does your workshop provide guidance on how to help those who have shared their stories maintain ownership over them, if they have been shared publicly?
A: We do have conversations at our workshops about this, to an extent. Again, some workshops will require a much more in-depth discussion than others, and it also depends on the host-organization, how the stories will be shared, the topic or theme of the stories, etc. Even if a storyteller has given consent for their story to be shared online, they still own their story and can, at any time, change their mind. And as soon as we are contacted we immediately remove the story from any online site we’ve posted it. Of course, it is very difficult to know where else the story may have ended up, beyond our own posts, which we would have no control over. And again, we definitely have discussions with storytellers about the implications of making stories public, especially online. Most of the time though, we find that people want to share their stories and have often made their stories in hopes that other people see it, for a variety of reasons, such as to educate people on, or bring awareness to, an issue.