Storycatcher

Not long ago, I ran some training for WEA volunteers about catching each other’s stories. I wanted to give some initial training to volunteers about setting up a storyspace.

They asked lots of questions. What’s the difference between being a storycatcher and teller? Why would anyone come to a session called ‘Storycatching’ in the first place? How would you deal with  confidential issues which could come up when telling a story?

Quite a lot to get through then. One of the aspects of being a story catcher is to be more interested in the questions than the answers. Just as well then. It also means being a good listener, something else I picked on after attending the storytelling Festival at the Edge (FATE) at Much Wenlock one summer.

I introduced the idea of people telling a story and listening to it in silence and not commenting on it when it ended. You leave a pause before the next storyteller speaks. There is an urge to offer a comment, to say something. I offered the view that it was more powerful for the speaker to be listened to. He or she gains a better sense of who they are. This is not to say that all groups are serious. People can choose what to tell or read out aloud if they prefer. The subjects can be serious or fun or both. A group can decide on a theme or leave it open, see what comes up.

It may lead to people reading more, keeping their own journal, perhaps. It may lead to a literacy stragegy for adults.

We’re nearer the beginning of this journey, so we’ll see. It was a pleasure to work with such open-minded and curious people. By the way, each of us told a story and they were fascinating. That’s why people come to storyspaces.

Hope so!

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6 thoughts on “Storycatcher

  1. This sounds like it was a really interesting workshop. More people’s experiences should be turned into stories before they are lost forever; it is an important way of recording social history and also learning from it. Being willing to listen and share one’s experiences is essential.

    • Fact or fiction? It’s up to each person and to the group to a lesser extent to choose.

      Bernie

      Workers’ Educational Association – North West Region
      Regional office, Suite 405, Cotton Exchange, Bixteth Street,
      Liverpool L3 9JR

      Tel 0151 243 5351
      Fax 0151 243 5359
      Mobile 07824 472 278
      Web http://www.nw.wea.org.uk
      Find us on Facebook and Twitter

    • Hi, Elaine,

      I’d be happy to run a session (2hrs) for staff, tutors anyone interested really…

      I camped on the outskirts of MW on a farmer’s field. Do you know about Festival at the Edge, the international storytelling festival, which meets there every year. It’s great!

      Bernie

      Workers’ Educational Association – North West Region
      Regional office, Suite 405, Cotton Exchange, Bixteth Street,
      Liverpool L3 9JR

      Tel 0151 243 5351
      Fax 0151 243 5359
      Mobile 07824 472 278
      Web http://www.nw.wea.org.uk
      Find us on Facebook and Twitter

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