About Doing Things with Stories
It matters not only how we tell the stories and what our stories are about, but also who we tell them with. Stories bear witness to the lives that we live in, and offer us alternatives, of hope and resilience, to practice possible futures. Doing Things with Stories (DTwS) is a global initiative and an invitation for passionate change-makers to collectively imagine a better future by way of stories.
Introduction: Global Participation Intensive
Once upon a time, a team of researchers started talking to a large range of change makers to identify what they see would be the biggest problems of the future. They were surprised to hear, again and again, that the biggest challenge that many communities face, is about their capacity to tell stories in the face of crises. There were 3 learnings here:
- Stories are often offered as a response to crises, because stories help us re-frame the crisis. Stories shape what we focus on, and thus open up possibilities of who we are in that state of crisis. Lately, though, it seems as if our stories are mere illustrations of the crises and instead of shaping the crisis, we follow it.
- Stories are powerful because they build our worlds. But this also means that stories can be used by those in power to create worlds that are violent and exclusionary. Stories can be shields, but they can also be weapons. With the weaponization of stories – like we see in the case of misinformation, for instance – we have to find new values that can shape our stories, and in the process, who we are and how we connect with each other.
- Stories are collectives. They might be told by an individual, but they are shared experiences. Stories need to bring people together and orient them towards hopeful action. Unfortunately, the current default of story telling seems to be a rehearsal of gloom, doom, and despair, which leads to people disengaging from the crises.
Doing Things with Stories begins with these challenges. It introduces the framework of ‘ Narrative Change and Collective Action’ to orient ourselves to tell new kinds of stories, and in the telling, find new forms of telling them, so that we can build communities of practice that are oriented towards hope.
Watch Isabel Crabtree-Condor, one of the principle investigators of this project, who has edited two books on ‘ Narrative Power and Collective Change’ talk to us about why we need to think about narratives.
Episodes and Narrative Change Residents
In this Global Participation Intensive, we are inviting you to think with our Narrative Change Residents on how we can do things with stories to orient us towards hope, collectivity, and action. In 5 different episodes, drawing from expertise and practice from around the world, you will get to engage with reflections, conversations, and case-studies to learn and be inspired to do new things, fun things, exciting things, critical things, with stories.
Each of these episodes has exclusive content that looks at the ways in which these experts engage from their own locations, approaches, and practices, to make narrative change possible. The episodes come with their own formats, prompts, exercises, tasks, and conversations, broken down into smallvideos, audios, and texts, for you to engage with and learn from.
The episodes reflect the learning journey that we all have been collectively on, and are meant to be raw, conversational, invitation for you to step in as a narrative change practitioner. Each episode is accompanied by small editorial scripts that help you dig for deeper answers, learning objectives that can guide you into the discussions, and a concrete task that helps you prepare for the doing things with stories playoff.
DOING THINGS WITH STORIES: PLAYOFF
The Doing Things with Stories Playoff is an invitation to all narrative change makers to tell us stories that illustrate and educate us on the central questions in the Global Intensive. It launches on the 25th August, and accepts submissions of stories oriented towards hope and collective action through narrative change practice. We encourage people who want to participate in the playoff to engage with the content of the global intensive to craft their submission and orient it to the key questions of the playoff. 25 submissions will be selected by a jury made of the residents, and offered cash prizes of 250 Euros, along with a publication in a Doing Things with Stories book, published by ArtEZ Press. Join us in this mentored open contest, and create and submit your entry to email@example.com before 2 October 2022, to share with us how to do things with stories. If you're interested, you are welcome to simply sign up here so you can stay updated on the launch of each episode as well as further details about the contest.
LAUNCH: DOING THINGS WITH STORIES PLAYOFF
We have officially launched the Doing Things with Stories Playoff. We hope the episodes have offered inspiration and guidance for writing your own stories. We are excited to receive your entries. Below are few submission guidelines to pay keen attention to. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
What can I submit?
You can submit a written entry, only in English, not more than 2,500 words, with additional images (not more than 5) that you own the copy-right to.
What do you mean by a story?
You are open to interpret this idea. We are waiting to be surprised. The story can be fictional, non-fiction, a case-study, a narrative, a report, a poem, a play, an interview, a conversation, or any other format that you think captures the idea of narrative change and collective action, and anchored in embedded, embodied, and lived experiences.
Can I send something I have already published?
No. This invitation is for originally written material only.
What are the criteria for the story of narrative change?
We have worked with our Global Narrative residents to create learning tutorials for the elements of narrative change practice. Have a look at their interactive, insightful, and inspiring videos, as they help understand what the different elements should be in telling the story of narrative change practice. Please bear in mind that the story needs to particularly be oriented towards hope and collective action.
How many stories can I submit?
We are limiting the submissions to one story per person.
What if I write in collaboration?
Collaborative submissions are allowed. But there is still only one story per person. So if you are writing as a group of three, you can either submit one individual story, or one story as a part of the collective.
What happens after I submit my story?
The jury, composed of some of the Global Narrative residents, will read and select the entries that best demonstrate the diversity, multiplicity, creativity, and action for narrative change. The selected stories will be awarded a cash-prize and be featured in an online publication and amplified on our narrative change platforms. Please note, the cash-prize is all-inclusive (so any incurred taxes or fees from the recipient's end are to be taken care of by the prize recipient). And the prize is per entry not per author (so if three people are writing a story, the cash-prize will still be the same for the story, and will be given only to the corresponding author.
Is there anything I need to pay attention to, while writing this story?
Be yourself. Represent a community. Send us insights into how narrative change can be both operationalised and creates impact. Do not limit yourself to the idea of what a story is. It can be a fully drawn fictional rendering of an event but it can also be a personal essay, or an interview with somebody from the movement. We are open to both, the idea of what is a story and what they can represent.
How do I send my submission?
Please send your story in both Word and Pdf formats to email@example.com before 23:59 CET on 2nd October 2022. Please make sure to include the following information at the end of your stories:
- Your full name, and email address,
- Your country/region of residence,
- Your organisation if applicable,
- A brief explanation for what you do and how your practice is relevant to narrative change.
- And the following text 'I hereby declare that this entry is my original and unpublished work, and I own the rights for all the material that I'm submitting. (entries without this declaration text will not be accepted by the contest)
ANNOUNCEMENT!!! 'ASK ME' LIVE (ONLINE) Q&A SESSION ON 20TH SEPTEMBER 16:00 CEST
We are delighted to engage with you, our narrative change actors, in a live Q&A session with us. In order to better answer your questions and help you prepare for the submission to the DTwS Playoff, we are glad to share with you that a 'Ask me' (online) session is being organised for 16:00 CEST on 20th September (Tue) 2022. Our DTwS principal investigator Nishant Shah and one of the brilliant DTwS residents Diana Ocholla will be leading the session and welcoming you over the cloud! The session is free admission. If you would like to join, please simply let us know here (https://forms.office.com/r/63kN3VAz9W), and we will send you the link to the online 'Ask me' session by email. Save the date, get your questions ready, join us and have fun!
Each episode addresses one central question, and offers learning and action points for you to tell the story of your own practice, through a narrative change framework. Here is what is in store for you: