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Victor, Idaho Conversation about Storytelling

Page history last edited by Digital Explorations 13 years, 11 months ago

Here are notes from our conversation about planning a storytelling project for Envision Victor:


*Storytelling Exercise

Although we did not get a chance to do this exercise this time, we will try it out when I return in a month.



The full instructions:


1. List  5 ways you feel connected to Victor

            5 places in Victor that mean a lot to you

            5 adjectives that you would need to use to describe your relationship to this place and its people

            5 5 verbs that help you to describe how you interact with this community


2.  You have five minutes to write a personal story about your relationship to Victor, using at least one item from each of the categories above.


1/3 of the group will situate their story in the past

1/3 in the present

1/3 in the future


3.  Starting with the past stories, we will read them aloud one by one without comment, from past to present to future.


4.  Discussion:  What did you notice?  How did you feel listening?  Sharing?  What surprised you?  What did you learn?  What questions do you now have about storytelling?


* Overview of Storytelling and How it Can Help Victor to Meet its Envision Victor Goals and Objectives



--History of Community Storytelling

Few examples exist of rural land-use planning incorporating storytelling within their eforts to increase community participation and to  identify and analyze the values of the community.   I have started a  list of research projects and examples that might be useful--most of these have to do with place and community.  We will continue to build this list.


--Storytelling as Honoring the Past, Understanding the Present, and Planning for the Future

We discussed the need to celebrate "the Victor of before" through gathering stories that exist through previous efforts and inviting people with connections to Victor's rich past to add their stories.  We also emphasized the need not to get caught in the past, however--to see it as the foundation of the now, but to focus efforts on what is to come and how the entire community has a responsibilty for its future.


--Storytelling to enhance bonds and bridges, a sense of belonging to the community

( see Peter Block's excellent book, Community: The Structure of Belonging,  for a more in depth discussion of the implications of belonging.



We discussed the impact of

--Individuals telling their stories as they wish, without a direct audience, how this choice is effective for people who do not wish to enagge in other, more social storytelling activities, but who have stories to share about why they live in Victor and their vision for Victor's future.  Orton Family Foundation's Community Almanac is an excellent place for people to publish such stories to the community and to the world (we will discuss privacy and sensitivity issues in the first training).  Other possible sharing venues include the newspaper, bulletin boards, drop-off boxes, etc.  Careful planning of the how and the what of individual storytelling is essential.


--OO One-on-One Interviews allow for greater focus (the interviewer can ask for clarification, can guide the direction of the storytelling, etc.) and a sense of intimacy ("Someone hears me; I have a voice and someone cares to ask and to listen.")  An excellent way to get at values.  Intensely time consuming (full-day training, time to reach many people, time involved in editing and publishing stories).


--Group storytelling: story circles, both small (within neighborhoods or informal groups) invite participation and bridging and bonding.  As much listening as sharing goes on, and people begin to understand and trust one another.  It is possible to harvest values with the group and to invite further engagement in the process. Four-hour training of story facilitators.  Moderately time consuming: planning and running of events.


--Community-wide events invite integration with other, popular city events such as the Fourth of July fesitivities.  Story booths, visual storytelling, story tours such as Murmur or Artmobs, theater productions, "film night," etc.  These events can create energy and excitement as they are woven into the fabric of the city's cultural life.  Time needed varies greatly depending on the media, etc. 


* The Realities



We talked about the need for careful, realistic planning of the project.


* Next Steps



1.  Mapping the city:

A.  TIME: What events and opportunities already exist?  How might storytelling be woven into them?  What pressing realities are facing the group in terms of land-use planning efforts?

B. STORY HOLDERS:  Mapping the networks in town, looking for the hubs and messengers within groups, the people who can cross borders and engage their groups.  Who holds stories we need to hear?  What stories already exist--can we use them? How can we be authentically inclusive?

C.  STORY CATCHERS:  Who will be trained to do what?


2.  Storytelling Timeline:

Try to sketch how the storytelling fits in with and serves the other strands of Envision Victor, and how it will move past the project.  How do you want to kick off the storytelling?  Will you plan waves?  Will you incorporate all three kinds of storytelling?  How will youth be involved?  Will you work in no-tech, low-tech and/or hi-tech?



bgblogging@gmail.com  Please do contact me with any questions and/or comments.

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