Storytelling and education?
[NB: This post is widely based on original story GET STORIED: Storytelling and education, published “just in time” in English on the blog To Say Nothing About The Cat, written by my friend Carmine Rodi Falanga, my mate in many adventures of non-formal education, including of course this one – basically it is a “free translation” of his post 🙂 ].
Get Storied is an international training course on storytelling, based on techniques and methods of non-formal education, which I designed and built with my friends Carmine and Mafalda. The first edition was organized in late August 2015 at’Sermugnano hostel, near Orvieto, with the support of the European programme Erasmus +. A step by step activities report was built from posts in different social media platforms in this Storify resume.
The hostel is a place to which I am very much connected, due to the fact that it is run by friends, so friendly and familiar, and because there I participated for the first time in the Hero’s journey – I’m going to talk about it sooner or later with a specific post. In addition it sits in a tiny old town which is full of stories, built over an Etruscan necropolis – to say – and surrounded by so many provincial cities which are the trademark of a second-league Italy’ which, maybe for this very reason, I continue to be fond of.
Get Storied was an experiment for all of us, from many points of view. We had the privilege of working with friends, in the magical and homely atmosphere I was telling you about, but the program was however carried out for the first time, so a relentless question was hovering over our heads: would it work?
Or we’d be overwhelmed by our
hopeless nerdism unstoppable flow of ideas, unable to create a course with a consistency?
There was only one way to find out. Jump! 🙂
Until the last we changed and enhanced the initial program, choosing to base it on structure of the hero’s journey. If you think it’s an oddity, consider that at some point in design, the whole programme was set in a role playing game model D&D. I told you, following hopeless 🙂
In any case, in the end we did not want to follow a linear structure, as in the table above. We instead built a circular structure (under) with a flow that integrated activities, indicated by the drawings.
We really like the commercial and marketing rhetoric that surrounds storytelling in the last period. We see it for what it is, tell stories, that is the most ancient of human communities, and from this starting point we began: a story telling around the campfire was a perfect way to get to know us all and to create the perfect atmosphere to share in Group. It’ was a great night out, filled with provocative stories, fun, touching and full of inspiration, shared by 26 participants from 14 several European countries.
We had the sensation of being off on the right foot, but the real big score we did it the next day. From simply telling stories around the campfire, mankind soon developed the theater, that as far as we are concerned he lives fully in the category of storytelling – and we have invited the friend, actor and theater director Vania Castelfranchi for a workshop which aimed to strengthen the Group, introduce the topic of personal development and the creation of (right) character, through archetypal stories and theatrical masks of Commedia dell’Arte.
Vania is irresistible: so full of stories, passion, humanity was his laboratory, that swept the participants with a mountain of suggestions, causing a giant group hug spontaneous on the finish, and (in my story!) anglo-Jamaican resounding participant comment Tony: He is the Don Dada! – also for the whole week we continued to draw from the content shared during his speech, so much so that As Vania said (abbreviated as AVS – i.e.: Vania said) became the catchphrase of the course.
How do you keep bump after a business like this? We tried, the next day, reflecting with participants about who and what was for them a hero, and what are their favorites behavior patterns:
At this point, We have started a deep run “excavation” in the motivations and aspirations of participants, approaching storytelling and personal development with a reflection about how you started and developed the story of each, and maybe on what their Sacred Wound, the episode which gives the motivation to get up in the morning and share their stories with others. After that, we challenged the group to spend a night out, in the nature, to complete this reflection.
Following the tradition of the solitary walkers, We left the hostel in the afternoon with participants, to let them spend at least part of the night in the woods of the Valley.
Following the model of Hero’s journey, participants outnumbered the thresholds and took commitments with yourself. As they descended into the extra-ordinary world, everyone was looking for deeper reasons to get. For some, well just be alone for a few hours was a challenge. For other, the problem was the nature, with a chance to meet some animal. For still others, the biggest fear was to be afraid.
In fact, We went exploring one of the oldest and most universal stories of humanity: fear of the unknown. We honor all heroes who met themselves in that night out there, Perhaps for the first time. Many have decided to stay in the Woods all night, beyond the limit suggested by 5 hours. All were free to choose how to challenge themselves, and to build his own ceremony. One thing we were sure: the next day everyone would have had great stories to share. Storytelling has to come from experiences, not by chatter: even at this, We were and we are confident.
After all these experiences in fact, the stories are overbearing and outputs have claimed their space, opening up even more reflection on oneself, We have arranged with ancient systems yet highly topical, as the circle ritual of sharing developed by using the The Way of Council, or following the diagram and placements of Four Shields of Human Nature, that comes from the native American tradition.
Today some Italian brands talk about storytelling referring to food – We know everyone from time, that food is source and engine stories, and then our participants take turns participated in the kitchen (as well as to other work and care of the structure…) entering the behind the scenes of what for many of them is still an unattainable myth, namely that of Italian home cooking. Help our super chefs Angelo and Joanna and learning the stories and secrets was an exercise in storytelling out program, It has certainly left its mark!
From the very beginning we thought our program would offer a wide range of approaches to storytelling, taking a cue from the past, present and future of this activity. There always has been interested in balancing nature and technology, spiritual dimensions and elements more down-to-Earth, sacred and profane to put a formula note: After all, play with paradoxes and opposites is a fundamental ability of any good Narrator.
We then wanted to enter in the Gallery of the various forms of storytelling even a session on’invisible art comic books, I’ve personally given the high rate of
nerdism complex theorizing that always accompanies the topic 🙂
Of course could not miss even the cinema, of which the participants could deepen a portion less known and less considered, but equally fundamental, namely that of audio, Thanks to the intervention of Tullio Morganti, engineer in many Italian and international productions including the Pinocchio by Roberto Benigni. This lab has managed to recreate really the special atmosphere of the set in our place of business:
Another thing that makes humanity with stories you disassemble, Assembly, stir as socks. We brought our participants in the formula What If? for example, widespread in superhero comics: they were able to test their ability to be visionary and creative, playing with the plot and characters of famous films such as the Lion King, Dirty Dancing (that became Consensual Dancing…) or Fight Club – become much less aggressive, but no less terrible, Tea-room 🙂
The activities dedicated to the cinema could not end up with a movie Marathon. Now, picture the scene: a gang of hopeless nerd must choose which film project. The start list was about 10 titles, with violence we reduced to 4, but to get to 3 It was really tough – to say, We had to leave out Jumanji starring Robin Williams.
The underlying theme of films chosen to introduce the form of storytelling that we would have dedicated in the following days, so it was: video games and movies.
Get to the end of War Games, even after all these years, always gives me a thrill – the final sequence of the computer simulating all possible scenarios of global thermonuclear war is from Anthology of cinema, as well as the strategy developed by the car to get out of it, who really gave a boost to the end of the cold war:
The situation was ideal: wonderful weather, outdoor projection under the stars, blankets on the lawn… There was even the popcorn. Participants could choose freely until remain, and of course there was a hard core of fans who made the whole tirade. I… goes well, guess what, no?
As we said, We wanted to also talk about forms of storytelling considered perhaps more border patrol, like video games and games in General – they are actually part of the human experience of storytelling has always. We then focused on the processes of Gamification such presents them Jane McGonigal in his famous book Reality Is Broken.
We finally invited the participants to come forward and to involve the group with their own games, reflecting then along on the effect. Andreea for example brought the game of storytelling Dixit, based on picture cards full of charm – not by binding to a specific language, It is very widespread in international activities of non-formal education.
Our part, We held a sensational Games Night offering different game modes related to storytelling, starting from The Resistance, a board game of deception and negotiation.
We also wanted to show that Playstation and Xbox are not only instruments with which to practice to shoot in the head to enemies or to commit crimes, so we proposed the games in the series Guitar Hero with all the official controls (microphones, guitars, bass and drums toy), recreating on a loop all night some rock anthems of our teenage years away 🙂
Finally, a smaller group of onlookers and connoisseurs played the video game To the moon, independent Freedbird House Games, I’ve already spoken. It seemed important to show that in video games, exactly as in the cinema, There is a buzzing undergrowth of producers indie able to offer exciting storytelling experiences, touching and not at all for granted.
In short, it was a heady week, with a powerful transformative experience for all participants (chosen from about 300 candidates from across Europe – definitely, We should put in the pipeline further editions… are you interested in organizing one or participate? 😉 ) and a great team effort that reaffirmed at all once again the power of storytelling.
It Vania said (and not just him…) : not all those who wander are lost! 😉