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Storytelling for Social Change

Instructors: Kathleen Haughey, VFC Executive Director & Ethnomusicologist; Mary Rizos, VFC Director of Education & Photographer

Storytelling is a powerful tool for the documentation of voices, memories and histories. It can also be a catalyst for activism and social change. In this workshop we will explore the ethics and techniques of oral history, ethnography, and storytelling as activist research methodologies. Attendees will be introduced to these three merging methodologies through a combination of short media pieces and discussions, will be invited to take a critical and analytical look at the history of documentary work, and will learn the basics of skills such as interviewing, story circle facilitation, and ethnographic observation. We will also cover the technical aspects of storytelling, providing an introduction to tools for minimal-resource and mobile audio recording.

This workshop is intended for anyone interested in developing collaborative documentary or storytelling skills, including students, community members, and staff members of organizations doing cultural, community and social-service work. In addition to developing attendees’ collaborative research abilities, the workshop seeks to expand participants’ listening skills—and by extension, interviewing skills—while also encouraging attendees to consider the challenges, possibilities, and ethics of representation. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of participants’ project ideas.

Storytelling for Social Change is a part of the Vermont Folklife Center’s Cultural Sustainability Institute workshop series.  Cultural Sustainability provides a framework for examining human experience in the present with an awareness of the past and a view toward the future.

The workshop will be held at the Vermont Folklife Center, 88 Main St, Middlebury, Vermont. The cost is $95 ($50 students). Attendance is limited to 14 participants and the registration deadline is October 11.


You may also register by calling (802) 388-4964, or by email: