Uncovering storiesPhoto: Storytelling – digging into memories

Last week I was co-facilitating a digital storytelling workshop in Berne. In the 3-days workshop seven storytellers created stories about an intercultural experience.

At the introduction of the workshop I promised: This will be a different kind of workshop, one in which we dedicate all our time to make stories, that is deeply reflective, and where we will work closely together.

What I meant was that we were about to start a highly engaging workshop.

Stories inspire other stories and put us into dialogue.

Darcy Alexandra

And so it happened. Once more I was deeply moved by the power of creating stories. Everybody was fully involved. The workshop room was filled with energy, with passion and curiosity. The storytellers worked hard on their stories. They created many versions, reworked their concepts and developed their messages through several loops. They were willing to share and seek feedback from others. Storytellers living nearby opened their cupboards where their photos of the last 20 years were stored; they flipped through memories in the search for the crucial moment, a face, or a place. Others rewrote their script completely. It was fascinating to see how the stories developed.

The engagement was almost touchable.

Why are storytelling workshops so engaging?

After the workshop I asked myself why the storytellers engage so differently in a storytelling workshop than in other learning processes? What is this “engagement-power” of storytelling?

I came up with five reasons:

  1. Storytelling is about us and our work. We are involved personally, as professionals and human beings. Our work, our experience, our voice, and our perspectives count.
  1. A good story touches our minds and our hearts, and activates all our senses. There is the written story, the spoken story and the visual story. Stories make us feel human. Stories move us, make us think, make us laugh, and bring us to tears.
  1. Sitting in the story circle makes us equal. The story-circle is an invitation to engage as storyteller and attentive listener. We give and take, we share and listen. The circle of storytellers provides us with the safe space to feel confident for sharing our story.
  1. Stories are purposeful. Stories create meaning and can bring healing too.
  1. Storytelling is a joint search and inquiry process. The storyteller needs the listener as much as the listener needs the storyteller. The group process is powerful and helps uncover the individual and personal stories.

Would you add more points to the “engagement-power” of storytelling? Which ones?

I love storytelling workshops because they are so highly engaging.

And you?

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