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Nimue is here now!

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Very happy that we took this leap in the dark! Nimue our Teardrop Trailer was delivered last month and she is beautiful as you can see!

Nimue 060214

I know the build wasn’t straightforward for the artisan company who made her for us. Retro Teardrop Trailers are based in Penzance and this part of the world caught the brunt of the bad weather we had this winter. So even once she was complete, for a while it looked like we wouldn’t get her out of Cornwall! Luckily, Chris and Sue took advantage of one of the few sunny days and made a dash for it! So she has arrived in good time to get her fitted out for the festival season.

 Our first outing will be for the Easter weekend to one of our favourite campsites where we can try everything out in a familiar environment. So Moving the Tale will be launched in an intimate festival-like setting amongst friends and like-minded strangers. Moving the Tale is a story and dance collaboration with Movement Warriors.

We will then take Moving the Tale on the road in earnest for the Elderflowerfields Festival in May. I am hoping there will be more bookings but certainly I will be blogging about our experiences here!

What’s Your Story?

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Yesterday we hosted the 3rd annual Storytelling Competition for schools in Heathfield, Whitton and West Twickenham. It was a truly inspiring event featuring 59 very young storytellers from 9 schools. Some of the children were as young as six and they were all engaging, charming storytellers.

As a professional storyteller I was included initially 3 years ago Read More →

Scientists as storytellers

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I was half listening to Richard Dawkins some time ago on the BBC, whilst doing 3 other things of course! This set me off to thinking what a remarkable storyteller he is and how so many of the most accessible scientists also share this skill. Whilst I am sure that there are plenty of evolutionary theorists out there, who I will never be able to understand but whose work is of incredible value, it is rarely these people who shape current thinking or who have the power to shape our future. Being able to get your message across is probably Dawkins most valuable skill, even if he does manage to offend a large proportion of conservative Christians in the process! Those who are offended understand very clearly what he is trying to say.

So is it just a matter of presentation skills? Surely we can all learn those if we want to? I believe it is far more than that. “Discovery in science often results from unexpected leap of imagination” (Robinson 2011). This is the kind of thinking that is fundamentally creative and often happens in moments of flow. Anyone who is so passionate about what they are doing that they can think in a way which leaves their intellectual abilities indistinguishable from feelings and intuition enters a that state of flow. It may only be for a moment but that moment is enough for a truly original thought to occur. However, without the ability to articulate the significance of that thought it may remain unshared or published, peer-reviewed and filed but not accessible. There are many geniuses and original thinkers out there but unless their stories get shared their ideas do not get our attention.

I’m no spokesperson for Richard Dawkins, the point is he doesn’t need one. However, he did set me wondering how much more accessible science would be in our everyday lives if we didn’t separate science from creativity, storytelling from reality.

Out of Our Minds, Ken Robinson 2011. Capstone Publishing Ltd.

The Creative Process

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Following up the comments I made on how often our creativity is played down and not acknowledged I found this clip from Ira Glass, the American public radio broadcaster:

Ira Glass on Creativity and Storytelling

Right-click or ctrl-click this link to download

In many ways this echoes Ken Robinson’s thoughts on how we are not shown how to be creative. If it doesn’t come easily, then we must be no good so we give up. Though I will confess that I love Glass’ idea that if you have good taste you will persevere. I’ve been persevering for years so my taste must be blooming excellent!

Can storytelling function as a way into the creative process? The beauty of traditional oral storytelling is that the stories themselves help in the teaching. The very act of telling each story helps us learn no matter how often we repeat a tale. The people who listen to your re-tellings probably teach you more than anyone else.

Limor Shiponi has created both a 2D image and a 3D visualisation of this process in action in her latest blog post My Lumpini Park storytelling revelation. I did try visualising the 3 rotating spheres she has conjured up and this is extraordinarily difficult but I do understand the kind of magic she refers to at the intersection of these spheres. This is where the story, the teller and the audience come together to create a unique moment.

It comes as no surprise that the inspiration for Limor’s visualisation should come from witnessing the Eastern practice of tai chi, which is a very special kind of mindful behaviour. Maybe this is where the key to our creativity lies.