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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


The Washington Story: Exploring the stories and myths of our country, taking advantage of place....

April 24th 2013
Includes an afternoon walking tour of city's monuments

Program Description
This day, "Stories Written in Marble"  will open in the morning at the Bethesda Writers Center with maps, photos, and a sharing of memories, personal and cultural, of the major monuments of Washington. We will get inside the mind of the designers, L'Enfant and Washington and Jefferson as they transformed their vision of a City worthy of a New Republic, into bricks and mortar. We will start to dissect the whole narrative geography that the city enshrines.

We will learn from the indigenous tribes like the Australian aboriginals and their sense of a story as a map, (Chatwin) and inform ourselves of a narrative mindset that we will test in the afternoon when we go on excursion to Arlington and the Lincoln and Vietnam memorials. These sites will be our case studies of how each memorial is the site of the contest between memory and forgetting and the site of contesting stories-the civil war as a war to free the slaves or mend the Union, Vietnam as the unjust war and yet fought by heroes? We will discuss these sites on location in the afternoon and come back to a final discussion over wine and cheese of what we have learned.

This is a workshop that can only be given in Washington, DC, the capital of our nation and the place where our stories materialize into action and monument.

Washington is a privileged place for stories because so much of the nation's history happened here and because the nation's capital is a monument to the memory of the presidents/government who founded and re-founded this republic.

Living here, we tend to take all this for granted but perhaps we need to attend to it more because each year, millions of our school kids tour the monuments and learn the official stories (like we did) of a Lincoln or a Kennedy or an FDR. They learn the myths of how Washington came to build his Capital and his Capitol. Funny that most of the good stories are about war and most of the stories are about men and white men at that. Examples abound from Lincoln's Second Inaugural, FDR's sentiments on war, and Jefferson's notion of religious freedom.

Isn't it time that we examined the role that Washington plays in validating the official epic of the nation? Are we ready to revisit each memorial and re-read each text to discover that they have enough power to subvert our easy orthodoxies of what the core stories of the nation are about?

Cost and Venue 

Limited space so register early