Get Ready for Next Weekend's International Day for Sharing Life Stories

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The third annual International Day for Sharing Life Stories is a week from Sunday — on May 16. The day’s Web site notes that last year more than 200 organizations in 20 countries around the world held activities to celebrate the day, and to call attention to countless life story organizations and projects.

To be honest, I find the event’s Web site not well designed and frustratingly hard to navigate. The site makes the statement: “Through hundreds of reports, audios, and videos that were posted on the website, we saw many practical examples of how life story expands the process of democratization and transformation of culture,” but I cannot find these “hundreds of reports, audios, and videos.” It also refers to a mysterious blog where this year’s events will be posted, but I can’t find it. Perhaps one has to be a member of the site to find that information.

Among the types of activities that have been part of the past two events and are encouraged for this year are:

  • Story Circles in schools, community centers, homes, and churches
  • Public open-microphone performances of stories
  • Exhibitions of stories in public venues as image, text, and audio-visual materials
  • Celebratory events to honor local storytellers, practitioners and organizations
  • Open houses for organizations with a life-story sharing component
  • Online simultaneous gatherings, postings, and story exchanges
  • Print, radio and television broadcast programming on life stories, and documentaries that feature oral histories and story exchanges

The event is a collaboration between the International Network of Museums of the Person (Brazil, Portugal, USA and Canada) and the Center for Digital Storytelling (USA, Canada, Denmark, South Africa), the founder and director of which, Joe Lambert, said of International Day for Sharing Life Stories:

The interest and excitement in life story work continues to grow. Everywhere our organization has traveled in the last year, China, Guatemala, Korea, and India, from the frozen tundra of the Canadian Arctic to the tropical forests of the Congo, we are seeing greater and greater interest in our methods of practice. We are also witnessing the development of new methods of capturing and sharing stories, and new approaches to using the stories to promote social change and democracy. Despite the struggle of working through this period of the international financial crisis, people are coming to see that listening to each others’ life stories is central to the development of cohesive societies.

Organizers note that the day is “an opportunity for you and your organization to meet to share stories with others from around the world.”

Will you be participating in International Day for Sharing Life Stories, and if so, how?

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Dr. Kathy Hansen

Kathy Hansen, PhD, is a leading proponent of deploying storytelling for career advancement. She is an author and instructor, in addition to being a career guru. More...

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