A workshop on “Storytelling as a Way of Bridging Cultural Divides” is being organised by Christa Knellwolf King, Associate Professor of English literature at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, and an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of York.
The theme of this interdisciplinary workshop is inspired by recent studies which have shown that fictional and factual narratives profoundly affect the minds of readers: they evoke empathy, stimulate reader identification, and forge relationships between readers, characters, and the cultural communities on which they are modelled. Stories are an absolutely crucial aspect of human experience, and the process of creating an active response can have many positive effects. Storytelling can be used to integrate oral memories of communities into the lived experience of the present; it can provide the basis for respectful relationships between local inhabitants and the visitors to heritage sites; and last but not least, it can provide a dialogue space in conflict zones. Here is a great opportunity for the humanities to design projects that “use” stories as a means of generating openness to otherness.
The workshop explores the many positive effects of engaging creatively with stories, told in written and oral form, and in film as well as other media. It invites its participants to create initiatives that apply the principles of experience design in order to engender understanding and respect for cultural differences, without attempting to control audience responses. A further aim of the workshop is to initiate an interdisciplinary research project between the UK and the Middle East. Contributions are invited from colleagues working in the fields of literature, film and media studies, linguistics, cultural heritage, tourism, history, translation, development studies, peace studies, and related disciplines.
Please email a proposal of 200-300 words to Christa Knellwolf King by 15 May 2018. Please also feel free to send comments and suggestions.
The workshop will take place on 6 June 2018, 9 – 2pm, at the Humanities Research Centre, University of York.