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Introduction: Living Stories

Special Session: Ethics in Narrative Practice and Design Coaching

Exploring the Story: Narrative Technique to Enhance Appreciative Inquiry

The Washington Story: The case of how national story is constructed and deconstructed


Becoming Storywise
An Narrative Ethic to Renew Public Culture

Read about the issues that we will tackle at this special One Day Workshop
April 2
3rd 2013
Bethesda Writers Center

ou will come away with a clear set of Narrative Ethical Principles and you will know how to apply them

We live in a sea of stories and at times, we feel we are drowning.  Every day, we face an onslaught from government and media, business or fashion, the military and retailers. In our current day, can we endure any more coverage of the Presidential election? We are targeted as consumers by these centers of selling power. They know that we will buy their products, drive their cars, wear their fashions, vote for their candidate, support their army, and accept their taxes if first, we buy their stories. Steve Denning, author of “The Secret Language of Leadership” says that the “story economy” amounts to more than 20% of GDP!And though that sounds amazing, it stands to reason. Just add up the billions of dollars companies  spend on PR and advertizing or think of their budget for testing the market, working out what stories will best capture us to consume their product. And let’s face it- we are eager consumers.

It’s the post-modern identity. It is not what we believe so much as what we buy that identifies us. And we buy the stories without even realizing that their story is part of the product they are producing. Too often, we are being played as suckers.They know our game, our buying patterns, whether we are Nike or Raebok, and they can track even our Google searches. And what do we know about them? They know us and they know we don’t really know them. Our ignorance is their advantage and their opportunity. And let’s think of where they have exploited it.We bought their story that we need to go to war. We bought their story that fraudulent companies like Enron were-inventing the energy business. (they were-it was pure invention). We bought their story about our innocence and our exceptionalism, that told us that we don’t torture and our military don’t lie. We embraced their story that we can get an interest free loan for amounts we have no hope or repaying. That story was bankrupt long before we went broke!

When the stories fall apart for lack of some grain of truth, what then? Or when we have to live with the consequences of stories we bought that unashamedly exploited our trust and exposed our greed or our na´vetÚ, what can we do?  We can belatedly hold Congressional Hearings and we can call the media on their cravenness, but how does our “story of protest” get heard above the inexorable din of the “The Dominant Story.”  At the end of the day, we are just as prone to the next assault from this relentless Empire of Story. How can we possibly withstand it? 

We can. We must! If democracy is to survive. But we have some work to do. To reverse the unjust balance of narrative power, we have to get smarter.  And we have to face up to the painful question- How can they be so story-smart and we be so story-stupid?   

CLICK HERE for more details on our Spring Workshop program. The Center for Narrative Studies is delighted to offer one and two day workshops on narrative practice. Both of these offerings are part of a program representing a rare opportunity for exchange and exploration of the latest narrative methods that are increasingly being used in organizations to accelerate change and renewal.We live in a sea of stories – from the media, politics, religion, education, and among our families and colleagues. Living amidst this wealth does not mean that we understand how these stories work. No one can live legitimately within one story. The stories we tell define our culture. This program explores our ethical responsibility around the stories we choose to tell.Discover for yourself how stories shape us and how to shape the stories. The Center for Narrative Studies in partnership with the Taos Institute announces its program 'Becoming a Narrative Practitioner'. This program explores how story works and how to work with stories. The work of Appreciative Inquiry begins in stories – the narratives of people’s lives. Those stories contain the ingredients that shape the exploration.Developed independently, the Center’s approach mirrors much of the philosophy that has guided Appreciative Inquiry (AI) for so long and offers another avenue of understanding social constructionism at work and how AI and narrative work together. The workshop is designed to include those with no background in AI.

About the facilitators
Paul Costello is the Executive Director of the Center and a pioneer in narrative theory and practice. In addition to writing and teaching, Paul directed the Washington-Ireland Program, a large-scale Northern Ireland peace project from 1998-2008.

Dr. Madelyn Blair co-leads the Narrative Practitioner program and was an early proponent of Appreciative Inquiry and one of the contributing authors of Lessons from the Field. She brings real world, management experience from IBM to the World Bank.For more information on the course content contact Paul Costello at paul@storywise.com or call 240 476 1123