The Story Lab Project

We have recently started a brand new project within the frames of the ISSF: The Story Lab Project. It is a long-term, complex, artistic and educational program created for the benefit of storytelling culture, based on building and developing social relations through the exchange of existential experiences as well as the expression of individual and collective creativity.

 

Idea

Every memory, anecdote, family legend, the history of a person, of a building or district which is not told or is told ineptly, becomes lost forever. All those private narratives, personal fictions, passing impressions and objective recountings build the identity of a social group, they guarantee the authenticity of communication between people, generations and cultures. Without these stories our material culture tends to be precarious and – eventually – unproductive.
That is why we would like to “tell Wroclaw”, discover its secrets and its past, understand its present. We want to equip the city with the power of a unique, attractive story. We aim at implanting here the common need to narrate stories and to carefully listen to what the others want to tell. In the long run – we would like to build an authentic, exceptional myth of the town, of the neighbourhood, a legend of cities and villages.

How we will do it

We will create an editorial board, a data base factory which will become the center of the Wroclaw retrieval. People we will employ will be rummaging through the archives, collecting and recording the stories of the city inhabitants. We will start regular storytelling workshops during which professional storytellers (from Poland and from abroad) will share their knowledge of how to retain the forgotten art of a live story. We plan to establish a literary lab in which we’ll organize courses for those wishing to develop their writing skills. We will send well-prepared researchers to the city archives, talented reporters will visit those Wroclaw citizens who want to tell their story. There will be blogging competitions, The Story Telephone and The Story Box to which everyone will be allowed to put his or her narratives (in any form). We will build and moderate social sites devoted solely to the Wroclaw stories (Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter), as well as live communication channels (GG, GoogleTalk, Skype). We will organize regular audiovisual events to integrate local literary, artistic and film milieus. For primary and secondary schools we will plan new extra-mural activities from which stories (told from a child’s perspective) will be born.
The Story Laboratory Finale should build aesthetic supremacy: we want to create and make public the cultural deed which will strongly influence the audience. We plan to build a story which will be heard. The narrative co-authored by Wroclaw citizens shall become their collective, a live inheritance they will be proud of.
The narratives born in the Laboratory will also be accessible to the public and commercial media, published by us, but also downloaded (for free but in a controlled way) from our websites and from interactive Wroclaw maps (applications, for example QR-code) to one’s mobile phone or tablets. After we sign partnership agreements with schools, theatres, non-commercial publishers and NGO’s these institutions will gain free access to most of our publications. The material will be prepared without legal defects, with a possibility of assigning the rights without temporal and territorial limits, and available for free sharing in the public domain.
We plan to celebrate the culmination of the Lab’s works as a separate part of the International Short Story Festival (in the first week of October), during which we will present the most important activities of the Lab and the effects of workshops, educational projects, discussions and research. On the border of literature, film and visual arts we will create another regular event called „ADAPTATIONS”, which is to become a space to discuss the opening of literature to film, comics, theatre and music. We plan to show how efficient and multithreaded artistic inspiration can be made out of the tale.

The Wroclaw Story Lab is a pioneering project which is aimed to become a field of experiment on a greater scale. Our experience should become the base of the universal, long-term program of „retreaving the tale” reconstructing and redefing the social status of literature which – to a great extent – has lost the cultural link to existential needs of contemporary people, depriving itself of its most unique assets.

How to join

In June 2012 we will launch first open competitions. You can already suggests interesting subjects to the editorial team, write about people we should talk to, places worth describing. We also look forward to receiving literary, journalistic, graphic, film and photo material to be used in the lab works. Please send it to laboratorium@opowiesci.org . We will reply to every letter.