What is a Story Circle?
A Story Circle is a community-organized event where people come together to share their experiences of Tropical Storm Irene.
Why Story Circles?
The Vermont Folklife Center believes that healing lies as much in the act of listening as it does in the act of telling one’s story. Story Circles are unique because they bring people together to bear witness to the experience of others.
Each Story Circle gathers community members with different perspectives to share. Just as each person experienced Tropical Storm Irene differently, each person will relate their story in their own unique way. A Story Circle is a “safe space” where participants respect the testimony of others. By sharing such diverse perspectives in a group setting, participants are given a window into the collective experience of the Tropical Storm, its aftermath and the community response.
As community-driven events that require little technical support, Story Circles create a permanent historical record that belongs to the community. Organizers do not have to be trained in audio recording to set up an event. A Story Circle can stand by itself or serve as the springboard for a larger community project.
How can the Vermont Folklife Center help?
The Vermont Folklife Center will provide mentorship in organizing Story Circles and will help to co-facilitate events. Staff will provide technical support by recording the session with professional audio recording equipment. Following the Story Circle, the VFC will provide all participants and the sponsoring organization with a copy of the recording on CD. A copy will also be maintained in the Vermont Folklife Center’s Irene Storytelling Project Archive.
Participants have full ownership of their stories, and can stipulate how they will be used (or not used) in the future when they sign a Release Form.
When and where are Story Circles being held?
To learn about Story Circles happening in your community, please visit the Irene Storytelling Project Story Circle Calendar.
For more details on Irene Storytelling Project Story Circles, please see our downloadable Story Circle Guide.