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Storytelling & Community-Driven Development. How Communities Can Use the Power of Stories in Planning and Problem-solving January 25, 2005 Madelyn Blair • Pelerei, Inc. . Purpose

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storytelling community driven development

Storytelling & Community-Driven Development

How Communities Can Use the Power of Stories in Planning and Problem-solving

January 25, 2005

Madelyn Blair • Pelerei, Inc.



To show how story can be used to help a community develop by learning what they already know and are to apply it to the task at hand.

To speak to the type of story that will energize the community rather than simply inform it.

Pelerei, Inc.


“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy of life is when we are afraid of the light.” - Plato

Pelerei, Inc.

language social constructionism
Language & Social Constructionism
  • We are born into language before we are born into life.
  • We must find the unsaid of our unique existence in the already said.
  • Our identity exists within language and only comes alive in stories.

Pelerei, Inc.

living stories
Living Stories
  • Think of a time when you saw a new way to do your work and it was so compelling that you tried it yourself.
  • At your table, tell a 3 minute story about this time.
  • Rules
    • Listen to the other stories as they are told. Don’t comment during or at the end of the story.
    • After a moment, offer a name for the story that was just told.
    • If you are the teller, select or create a title for your story.

Pelerei, Inc.

tashkent 2000 islam and the foundations of civil society
Tashkent, 2000 - Islam and the Foundations of Civil Society
  • Seminar for 30 scholars conducted by the Center for Narrative Studies
  • Purpose
    • Introduce them to a narrative method of searching their own collective memory.
    • Discover where and how people had kept their voices alive in the face of oppression.

Pelerei, Inc.

lessons stories and the individual
Lessons: Stories and the Individual
  • The quest for personal identity is a story of stories.
  • Our identities come alive through telling and retelling our stories.

Pelerei, Inc.

lessons stories of the community
Lessons: Stories of the Community
  • Stories are told and retold in response to real community needs, desires, dreams, and nightmares.
  • Stories are what the community needs to know it knows (and what it is trying to forget it knows.)
  • Stories can die out, and they can be silenced.

Pelerei, Inc.

lessons stories and culture
Lessons: Stories and Culture
  • Stories and their exchange create our relationship reality.
  • The genre of the stories told generates culture and vice versa.

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open or closed
Open or closed?
  • Locked pattern of interpretation or reality?
  • Tradition or another possibility?
  • Self-fulfilling or self-energizing?

Pelerei, Inc.

bourella and finding social energy
Bourella and Finding Social Energy
  • “A vivid imagination compels the whole body to obey it.” Aristotle

Pelerei, Inc.

why appreciative inquiry works
Why Appreciative Inquiry works
  • It builds relationships enabling people to be known in relationship, rather than role.
  • It creates an opportunity for people to be heard.
  • It generates opportunities for people to dream, and to share their dreams.
  • It crates an environment in which people are able to choose how they contribute.
  • It gives people both discretion and support to act.
  • It encourages and enables people to be positive.

Pelerei, Inc.

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” Meg Wheatley

Pelerei, Inc.

story narrative more
Exploring the Story: Narrative Techniques to enhance Appreciative Inquiry

Introduction to Organizational Storytelling

Storytelling Outside Organizations

Storytelling Inside Organizations

The Washington Story: how national story is constructed and deconstructed

Feb 10-11, May 18-19, Washington; March 22-23, London

May 17 & June 23, Washington

April 22, SmithsonianInstitute

April 23, George Mason University

April 24, Washington

Story & Narrative - More

Pelerei, Inc.

Madelyn Blair


Thank you

Pelerei, Inc.