Crumbfest in Edinburgh

image by NPS photoI told the story of The True Meaning of Crumbfest last night at the Scottish Storytelling Centre‘s Christmas Storytelling Cafe.  It is a profound story about how a young mouse by the name of Eckhart discovers what Christmas is all about.  An environmental and animal-friendly take on the season by Prince Edward Islander David Weale.

I heard Marta Singh tell this story in Ottawa a couple of years ago and I just had to learn it.  The book has become one of my standard holiday gifts for young children, though adults tend to fall in love with it too.  The story was well received by the entirely adult crowd here in Edinburgh.  One man who heard it told me that he would re-think his escalating conflict with the three generations of mice who had moved into his house.  The power of story  ; )

The full text of The True Meaning of Crumbfest is available for free on the Prince Edward Island Government Website:  Island Christmas

On-line activist storytelling: www.Neveragain.no

globeI recently found out about this on-line project at a workshop given by Donald Smith (Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre). Donald had recently returned from a conference on creative clusters in Glasgow, where he had presented in the same session as Bjorn Enes, the editor of Neveragain.no. Unfortunately for us anglophones, the site is almost entirely in Norwegian, so let me explain it briefly.

Neveragain.no was set up by Bjorn Enes as a means of sharing stories between aging anti-nazi World War II veterans and Norwegian youth.  A number of professionally filmed video recordings of veterans telling the stories of their experiences are available on the site.  Creatively, the site also allows viewers to post their own related stories.  The project is currently being expanded to cover experiences in other countries.  The hope is that preserving and sharing these oral histories will help to prevent such atrocities from occuring again.

Tea, the Storytelling Festival, and the Birth of a Website

teaI was explaining what I was doing over here in Scotland to some storytellers and storylisteners over tea at the Netherbow Theatre Cafe during the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, when someone asked me what I was going to do with my research.  I’m sorry to say that the question stumped me.  I hadn’t really thought about what would come out of my research other than two years in bonny Scotland and a foundation for an academic research program.  Neither of these answers seemed appropriate to the non-academic context of the festival.

I mumbled something about producing a report on the uses of storytelling in environmental interpretation, but my heart wasn’t in it.  The conversation moved on to other topics, but the question stuck with me.

I believe that the stories we tell about who we are, about the places we dwell in and about what it is to live a good life are crucial to our future on planet Earth.  The stories that dominate our world today tell us that we are nothing more than consumers and that this planet is nothing more than a bucket of resources.  It is becoming increasingly obvious that these stories have no future.  If we are to move towards sustainable futures, then we need alternative stories.

It’s been a month since I was asked that question and I still lack an adequate answer.  Ultimately, I want my research to contribute to the re-storying of ourselves and our societies that is so desperately needed.  I’m just not quite sure how to do this.  In the meantime, I’ve set up this website so that I can share information about the people and projects I encounter that are contributing to the re-storying of our selves and the Earth.