Story Project Resources
Tips & Ideas
- What stories do you want to share? Identify the region, city, neighborhood, school, or other community group that has stories to tell.
- Get connected. Collaborate with local organizations to help identify students or other participants who might be interested in writing for your project.
- There's no place like home. Early in the project, give the students time to get to know each other, their space, and you. Ice breakers and other games are helpful at this time.
- Those who can't do, ask a teacher! If writing workshops are new ground for your organization, connect with local writing groups, workshops, education programs, or teachers that can help get your project off the ground.
- Build a sharing culture. Sharing stories about yourself can be hard. Give participants a chance to practice with "easier" topics. For example, have participants practice short "elevator pitches" that cover who they are, what they like to do, and what they want to accomplish one day. As the program continues, continue having conversations that encourage sharing.
- Mix it up. Try to include a mix of prose, poetry, and fiction in your exercises. Some participants will feel more comfortable with one particular style. Some participants may love it all! Encourage all participants to try something new, but let them express themselves in whatever way suits them.
- Lead by example. When completing writing exercises, join in. When the group is sharing what they've written, read your work, too. Group members will likely feel more comfortable when they know they aren't the only vulnerable ones in the room. Bonus: you might even spark some good conversations!
- Rome wasn't built in a day. Allow ample time for participants to write, edit, and write again. Make sure there is time to both handwrite and type work, as not all participants work in the same way or have access to the same resources.
- Get creative. Don't let barriers to publishing get in the way of helping your participants' voices be heard. If professionally bound hard copies are not an option, explore self-publishing, digital publishing, live readings, and more. The possibilities are endless!
Sample Writing Prompts on Community
- Tell a story about your favorite place growing up.
- If you met someone who was new to your community, where would you take them?
- What are three things you think your community has that no other communities do?
- If you could change anything about where you live, what would it be? What wouldn't you change?
- Who makes your life special? Would your community be the same without them?
Examples and Resources
- Louisville Story Program: http://louisvillestoryprogram.org/projects
- Minneapolis Multicultural Health Storytelling: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/health/toolkit/multicultural
- Mural Arts Philadelphia: https://www.muralarts.org/about/
- National Writing Project Resources: https://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/doc/resources.csp
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/4/20/
- Poets & Writers City Guides to Writing Communities: https://www.pw.org/city_guides
- American Academy of Poets Teacher Resources: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/resources-teachers
- International Center for Photography Teacher and Family Resources: https://www.icp.org/school/teacher-family-resources
- Museum of Contemporary Photography Teacher Resources: http://www.mocp.org/education/resources-for-educators.php