Seven years ago we ran our first storytelling workshop as Wind&Bones. This first ever workshop was a multilingual event with asylum-seekers and refugees in Leicester, UK. It was a sheer, boisterous delight, held in a community hall in the centre of the city. We shared and wrote stories in multiple languages, whilst at the same time an exercise class was taking part in another corner of the hall, and lunch being served in yet another.
Since then, our understanding of storytelling and the power of storytelling has increased immeasurably. So we’re delighted that Wind&Bones’s Dr Will Buckingham has been commissioned to write a Liberal Arts and Sciences Strengthening Guide on storytelling for the Open Society University Network (OSUN).
OSUN is a global network of higher education institutions committed to the idea that the primary role of education is to support open societies. These are societies based on democratic practice, sustainability, addressing inequalities, a commitment to human rights and global justice, the promotion of global public health, and a commitment to the pivotal role played by the arts. Both Will and Hannah from Wind&Bones work for Parami University, a part of the OSUN network — Hannah in the Insitute of Continuing Education, and Will in the Institute of Undergraduate Studies.
The guide is called Storytelling in the Multilingual and Multicultural Classroom: Community, Communication, Confidence, and Connection, and will be available some time next year. The project will give us the opportunity to share the fruits of our experience and expertise from the past seven years with educators across the OSUN network. Over this time, we’ve developed and perfected some powerful methods for working on storytelling across differences of language and culture. We have run projects in Myanmar, Indonesia, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Scotland, England, Ireland and elsewhere, and we have met some astonishing, wonderful, and deeply committed storytellers, activists, writers, and champions of social justice. So we’re looking forward to drawing together some of our insights and know-how into a guide that will inspire others to use storytelling to bring about positive change.
Image: Title page illustration by Ethel Franklin Betts, The Orphant Annie Book, by James Whitcomb Riley, Indianapolis: Bobbs‐Merrill Co., 1908. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons