CFP: Reflecting on Story's Place in our Lives / The Storytelling Project

full name / name of organization: 

Reflecting on Story's Place in our Lives
The Storytelling Project

Thursday 3rd September – Saturday 5th September 2015
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Presentations:
Earlier meetings of the 'Storytelling: global reflections on narrative' project have brought together participants with both personal and professional interests in the unique role that storytelling plays throughout our lives – in shaping us as people and in allowing us to shape our societies, our cultures and our day to day activities. We have been challenged by philosophers, literary theorists, artists, psychologists, film makers, historians, teachers, psychotherapists, nurses and many others, into reflecting on the place that story plays in our lives and the ways in which we consciously and unconsciously employ it. We have also been engaged, entertained and challenged by traditional storytellers from Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the Philippines, India and elsewhere as well as by theatrical and musical performances, digital stories, films and performance art.

For our 8th global meeting we invite participants to continue to reflect on and celebrate story in challenging ways, and especially welcome abstracts from those who bring together reflections from both professional and personal perspectives.

Human life is conducted through story, because the telling of stories comes naturally to us. Almost every time we speak we engage in storytelling, and sharing stories is arguably the most important way we have of communicating with others about who we are and what we believe; about what we are doing and have done; about our hopes and fears; about what we value and what we don't. We make sense of our lives by telling the stories that we live; and we learn about other lives by listening to the stories told by others. Sometimes, under the influence of the culture in which we are immersed, we live our lives in ways that try to create the stories we want to be able to tell about them.

The importance of the stories we tell and the stories we hear is recognized in every culture. The work of many professions, including medicine, nursing, teaching, the law, psychotherapy and counselling, involves a great deal of time listening to and communicating through stories.

Story is a powerful tool for teachers, because by telling stories they can help students to integrate what they are learning with what they already know, by placing what they learn in a context that makes it easy to recall. Story also plays an important role in academic disciplines like philosophy, theology, anthropology, archaeology and history as well as literature. Narrative methods for the collection of data are increasingly used in research in the social sciences and humanities, where the value of getting to know people in a more intimate and less distant way – almost as if we are getting to know them from the inside, is increasingly valued, and academics in many disciplines have begun to realise the value of storytelling as a model for academic writing.

Most of us have lots of experience of relating to other lives through narrative forms, including the stories we encounter as children, the books we read and the TV programmes we watch – the dramas; the documentaries, and for those who will own up to viewing them, the 'reality' TV shows. When we are moved by a play, a movie or a novel, we are moved because we begin imaginatively to live the lives of the characters that inhabit them. If we are lucky we will encounter as we grow up, fictional stories that stay with us like old friends, that we will revisit again and again throughout our lives, as a way of coming to terms with and responding to the things we experience.

Reflecting on Story's Place in our Lives, the 8th global meeting of the Storytelling project, provides a space in which stories about story can be told, and in which the use of stories in the widest possible range of aspects of human life, can be reported. Abstracts are invited for individual contributions and for symposia of three closely related papers. They may address any aspect of story or narrative, including, for example:

– Story as a pedagogical tool in academic disciplines such as history; anthropology, psychology, theology, cultural theory, medicine, law, philosophy, education, and archaeology.

– Narrative and the gathering of stories of lived experience, as a research approach in any area of academic, professional and public life.

– The place of story and storytelling in the practice of journalism; PR advertising; conflict resolution; architecture; religion; tourism, politics and the law, and in clinical contexts such as medicine, psychotherapy, nursing and counseling.

– Finally abstracts may feature storytelling in any aspect of culture, including music (from opera to heavy metal, folk and sacred music); fine art; theatre; literature; cinema and digital storytelling.

Alongside traditional conference papers, earlier conferences in the Storytelling: global reflections on narrative project have included a huge range of presentations, including traditional storytelling; the screening of award winning films; theatrical performances (including cabaret) and workshops aimed at engaging participants in active learning about story and its possibilities in, for example, research and therapy. This has enriched our conversations greatly, and so participants are encouraged to propose presentations of all kinds.

What to Send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 5th June 2015. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 7th August 2015. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: STORY8 Proposal Submission.

Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs:
Gavin J Fairbairn and Susan Fairbairn:
Rob Fisher:

The conference is part of the Persons series of ongoing research and publications projects conferences, run within the Probing the Boundaries domain which aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore innovative and challenging routes of intellectual and academic exploration. All papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.