As Creative Digital Developer for the Storytelling & Health International Conference, my role is to visit the Storytelling Training projects that are running prior to the Conference in June.
In building a sense of community across the Storytelling Training projects, we have collectively named them 'Stories for Change'
I am developing a Stories for Change online support resource in the shape of a Facebook Group Page/Forum & a Website.
Yesterday I visited Cwmbrwla Day Centre for people who have Mental Health Support Needs where Prue Thimbleby has been training New Storytellers.
Then today, I have been visiting St.Paul's Centre in Port Talbot. Steve Killick and Nicola Grove are delivering Storytelling training to foster carers and also to foster care professionals.
The second part of my role is Evaluation.
Measuring the Arts with itself has been a long term string to my bow. Throughout my 30 year career as a Community based Artist, I have seen funding bodies ask more and more for evidence, for us to provide a measurement of our work. Thus, I have used my creativity to invent ways of measuring the arts with itself because it felt incongruent to be devising and delivering amazingly creative workshops, advocating new, outside the box ways of thinking ... and then resort to measuring said workshops, with uninspiring forms and tick boxes!
For instance, when I was contracted to Evaluate for Artsconnect across 7 Counties in South Wales, collating the views of 300 respondents, I composed & recorded an album of songs, based on respondent feedback regarding the 21 Year Vision for the Arts. The material was used in the actual Vision itself & the songs were played at the Conference launching the work.
One of the Evaluation methods we are using at Stories for Change is the creation of a Storytelling Cloak from a Doctor's Coat, empowering us to take back the control of our well being.
The coat will travel around all the groups ... is being tie dyed by asking each Storyteller trainee to tie their storytelling intention into the coat, with a piece of string. It will be dyed many different colours.
They are also writing their personal goals into the coat at the start. At the end of the course, they will write whether or not they achieved them.
Our Storytelling Cloak essentially tells our story as a project, it reflects our creative journey ... it facilitates evaluation from the outset of the project as an integral part of the learning, rather than tacked onto it, giving ownership very much to the trainees.
That's also why I do the Grid Exercise for the development of the website. By listening and taking on board the views of the trainees as to what they would like to see on the website, not only does this give us a baseline of their expectations, it sows the seeds to grow a community that has ownership from the outset of their own learning resource. They are responsible for creating the content they want to see.
Well, that's the plan ... I'll let you know how it goes ...
Why not follow our creative journey on twitter: @storiesforchange