Exploring opportunities and challenges at the Storytelling Network Development Day

The 2016 Storytelling Network Development Day took place at Old Churches House in Dunblane last Saturday 27 February, bringing together a range of speakers and storytellers to explore the key opportunities and challenges facing the artform in Scotland today.

The day’s events included a series of open discussions and guided workshops, ranging from advice on Project Funding and Collaboration through to how to market yourself as a self-supporting freelance artist. Participants also shared practical advice, experiences, debate and support exploring the approaches underpinning storytelling as an active, dynamic community of practice in today’s culture.

Speakers included special guest Peter Chand (pictured), one of Europe’s most renowned storytellers, who opened the development day with an excellent introductory talk entitled ‘Behind the Material – Valuing Your Story’. This was followed by peer-led advice and discussion sessions focussing on topics such as funding projects and social media marketing. The importance of community, in particular, was highlighted, with Michael Williams saying “When you chat with people, you naturally open up networks that you can engage with and nurture.”

In the afternoon, Mark Sheridan from the University of the Highlands & Islands introduced the PREPARE (Participation, Resources, Ecology, Performance, Activism, Reflection and Ethics) paradigm, a range of characteristics and capacities required by participatory artists that was developed in Norway. Storyteller Amanda Edmiston, headteacher Lyndsay McNair and Clare Hoare from Creative Stirling then discussed partnerships with schools and local authorities, and Danny Boyle from BEMIS Scotland shared his expertise on working with communities and individuals of different faiths, nationalities and abilities.

Mairi McFadyen, the new Storytelling Network Co-ordinator at TRACS, said in summary of the day’s events: “We shared practical advice about working together, developing projects, getting the message out, working with schools and how to communicate what is valuable about storytelling to different audiences. It was a packed and inspiring day, but we left feeling that we need to remember what connects us all together: a love and passion for oral storytelling.”

Resources used throughout the day will be available soon. For more information on development opportunities for storytellers, please see the Workshops page.