Storytelling is an art that has been around for thousands of years. Cultures around the world have used storytelling as a means of entertainment, preservation and transmission of knowledge from one generation to the other. However today, in most Western cultures, this beautiful form of art has almost been lost. With the exception of many of the Native American tribes, the only stories that are now shared unfortunately are those that are read to children. Even then, not many remember those stories anymore, because we “have them” in our books that most often never leave our bookshelves after they are read once or twice.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to take a class in Portland State’s Conflict Resolution program called Storytelling for Social Change. In the class, we explored the role this art plays in fostering social change. We further looked into our own experiences and tried to use our stories in order to better understand ourselves and our place in the world. Every one of us has a story, the question is, what can you do with it, and how do we use it as a means of personal transformation or even to positively influence other people.
I absolutely loved the class, and the professor was very passionate about what she taught; that was definitely a plus for me. I learned a great deal from the materials we used in class, but most importantly I learn how to appreciate a good story.