No Space for Stories at City School: Or, Dialogic Storytelling Fora
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This chapter tells the story of an informal storytelling club set up by the author, in an attempt to open up an ‘interstice’ within a secondary school—a space within which alternative kinds of communication could occur. After a challenging build-up period, the club did start to generate unusual conversations and meaningful creative contact between different ‘tribes’ of pupils. However, the severe restrictions on both staff and pupils’ time prevented the club from meeting regularly, or from implementing its performance ambitions. The episode is discussed in relation to Habermas’ claim that the impulse of authorities is to take over the ‘lifeworld’—people’s spaces, time and thinking—with an ‘instrumental rationality’ in the name of governance or market forces. A practical exercise asks readers to map how their own storytelling practice intervenes in the setting in which it takes place.
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