Human life is conducted through story, which comes naturally to us. Sharing stories is arguably the most important way we have of communicating with others about who we are and what we believe; about what we are doing and have done; about our hopes and fears; about what we value and what we don't. We learn about and make sense of our lives by telling the stories that we live; and we learn about other lives by listening to the stories told by others. Sometimes, under the influence of the culture in which we are immersed, we live our lives in ways that try to create the stories we want to be able to tell about them.
Members of many professions, including medicine, nursing, teaching, the law, psychotherapy and counseling, spend a great deal of their time listening to and communicating through stories. Story is a powerful tool for teachers, because it is a good way of enabling students and other learners to integrate what they are learning with what they already know, and of placing what is learned in a context that makes it easy to recall. Story plays an important role in academic disciplines like philosophy, theology, anthropology, archaeology, history as well as literature. Narrative methods for the collection of data are increasingly used in research in the social sciences and humanities, where the value of getting to know people in a more intimate and less distant way – almost as if we are getting to know them from the inside, begins to be viewed as having some value. Some academics have begun to realise the value of storytelling as a model for academic writing.
Most of us have lots of experience of relating to other lives through narrative forms, including the nursery stories we encounter as children; the books we read and the movies we watch. When we are moved by a play or a film or by a novel, we are moved because we begin imaginatively to live the lives of the characters that inhabit them. If we are lucky we will encounter as we grow up, fictional stories that stay with us like old friends, throughout our lives that we will revisit again and again as a way coming to terms with and responding to experiences in our own lives.
Storytelling: global reflections on narrative, will provide a space in which stories about story can be told, and in which the use of stories in the widest possible range of aspects of human life, can be reported. Abstracts are invited for individual contributions and for symposia of three closely related papers. They may address any aspect of story or narrative, including, for example:
Story as a pedagogical tool in academic disciplines such as history; anthropology, psychology, theology, cultural theory, medicine, law, philosophy, education, and archaeology.
Narrative and the gathering of stories of lived experience, as a research approach in any area of academic, professional and public life.
The place of story and storytelling in the practice of journalism; PR advertising; conflict resolution; architecture; religion; tourism, politics and the law, and in clinical contexts such as medicine, psychotherapy, nursing and counselling.
Finally abstracts may feature storytelling in any aspect of culture, including music (from opera to heavy metal, folk and sacred music); fine art; theatre; literature; cinema and digital storytelling.