Tell Me Another Story: Reframing Sustainability Narratives course
Teachers: Chris Nichols, Geoff Mead, Chris Seeley, and Arran Stibbe – University of Gloucestershire
‘Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories individuals and nations live by and tell themselves, and you change the individuals and nations’ Ben Okri
The stories that surround the issues of sustainability can be highly contested, political, idealistic or polarising. Participants on Tell Me Another Story will work together with the deep underlying assumptions, narratives and metaphors which shape our thinking for the future. Going beyond the politics of left and right and the language of progressives and conservatives, we’ll explore and experiment with the possibilities of reframing our current worldview into new, more generative stories.
‘Our goal is simple: we want our country to flourish. Our dilemma is simple: we have not yet told our people a story that sticks’ Barry Lopez
Throughout history, and in all cultures, people have turned to the imaginative possibilities of story at times of change, crisis, learning and celebration. Bringing a greater awareness of the stories that do, don’t and could get told and heard inside our organisations today can help us shape a better future. This awareness is crucial for people in leadership roles, change agents and those striving to reconstitute society in healthier ways. Stories shape the ways we think and help us define what is possible.
We are all born storytellers and listeners – nothing comes more naturally to us as human beings – so right from the start of this workshop, you will be telling each other your own stories, drawing on your own experience as well as on fictional and mythological themes.
Grounded in our lived experience, this workshop will offer storytelling and other creative activities to help us connect with and share what really matters to us about our work in the world. The workshop will be mainly experiential rather than theoretical (though theories of storytelling and narrative are also fascinating and we will explore them, too). We will also spend time identifying some of the stories that you want or need to tell in your organisational and working contexts, practising them and getting feedback.
During the course, you will:
- Explore the assumptions and ideas which sit beneath the stories we tell ourselves about sustainability and the industrial growth society;
- Experiment for yourself with re-framing the stories we tell ourselves and each other;
- Build storytelling skills for effective communication and influence;
- Come to understand more clearly the metaphors that deeply inform your practice and thinking.
‘Maybe there are only three kinds of stories: the stories we live, the stories we tell, and the higher stories that help our souls fly up towards the light.’ Ben Okri