How Can Storytelling Save the World? My Doodle guide for a forthcoming talk.
I’m planning a speaking engagement, and this morning doodled my thoughts. The theme is How Can Storytelling Save the World?
The world is in crisis, the environment, extreme weather systems, health, climate change, authoritarianism, capitalism run amok, and cost of living. Where ever you are these and other ills prevail and it’s easy to fill impotent.
It gets reported upon providing perhaps much needed information, but that information can be transient. What’s the next calamity that will pull you away from acting. But it’s not news job to make you act. That’s an independent choice, but share information. Back in the 1960s a pioneering news man Robert Drew had an issue with news that impeded engagement.
Back in 2006/2007 I gave a keynote in Denmark and Norway ( see here) about emerging storytelling forms, and platforms, and how to create stories of diversity that have impact.
It was picked up by the kind team and people at Apple, Google, various etc. I had the theory and practice, but did not wrap it around a super structure as one.
Now I can, and more peering into the future oddly enough it links directly to my background in science. I graduated in Applied Chemistry. Unlike Chemistry (theory) Applied Chemistry was about finding practical solutions to problems.
Could this thinking be applied to Storytelling? By storytelling a broad canvas that takes in a spectrum of forms. I’ve worked in many of them. In News, Newsnight and Channel 4. In advertising, with Jon Staton ex-head of TV at Saachi and Saachi. In Docs/ features for Lennox Lewis and at Channel One. In Dotcoms I was based in Soho and worked as the editor for amongst others Justgiving.com…
Yes is the answer, and it could envelope difficult to story tell subjects. Applied Storytelling is what the AKO institute in London is examining, and what the London Institute is doing — and they’re game changers.
In my case Applied Storytelling falls into three areas, but not limited: Cinema Journalism — the next iteration of storytelling with facts. I did a PhD in this and found incredible practitioners.
Storytellers-as-engineers, these are storytellers that build artefacts. This summer we launched the StoryLab, where we brought mentors students and professional designers together. The results were just wow.
Then Diversity. I’m working with a number of groups and recently an international org in Denmark. The diversity model requires disrupting. The systems in place aren’t making the necessary dents. A more strategic thinking circulates around persistence, and storytelling that moves people to understand the issues.
In the last two years, I helped launch a journal in diversity between two universities, wrote about BLM and language for the European Human Rights Law review and the British Library.
But for Applied Storytelling to be effective requires a more cohesive alliance and new relationship between academia and Industry to answer the question, will things have exacerbated, or will we have found solutions? How can we be better than before? How Can Storytelling Save the World?
It’s a multi-collaboration thing. You can follow deeper thoughts here on www.viewmagazine.tv and twitter @viewmagazine