Embodying the Revolution: Storytelling and Performance for Social Resilience

(Creative)


Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Brittney Harris (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)

Jessica Femiani (SUNY Oneonta)

"Let Me Tell You a Story..." These words hold power, as each of us has a unique story influenced by our experiences. Narrative-based storytelling has the ability to captivate and transport audiences, evoking strong emotions and reactions. Storytelling and performance are intertwined. The stage provides a platform for artists to explore their narratives, including questions about morals, society, and spirituality. For artists of color, the stage can amplify the narratives of communities that have been oppressed, undermined, or underserved, allowing the listener to connect with the story on a deeper level and to remember it long after it has been told.

Whether as a self-reflective tool or autoethnographic tool, which includes using journals, looking at archival records - whether institutional or personal, interviewing one's own self, and using writing to generate a self-cultural understanding—using artistic expression as a form of activism clarified for me how performance can educate people about their attitude and mindset towards current conditions and work towards change.

The chapter on 'Shifting Contexts in Personal Narrative Performance' in The SAGE Handbook of Performance Studies highlights the significance of performing personal narrative, stating, "it is an act of reclaiming and expressing oneself through the body and voice. The personal aspect of the narrative brings it to life, and the narrative gives voice to personal experiences. Moreover, the embodiment of personal narrative has the power to select or suppress human experiences, thus giving voice and body to certain identities" (Langellier, 1998, pp.207).

This session seeks proposals highlighting the performing arts' pivotal role in promoting social justice and civil, environmental, and human rights to foster civic engagement, dialogue, and community problem-solving through narrative-based storytelling and collective sharing. Presenters may choose to perform/read live or share recordings of their performative narrative-based storytelling works addressing their intended impact and outcomes.

This creative session highlights the performing arts' pivotal role in promoting social justice and civil, environmental, and human rights to foster civic engagement, dialogue, and community problem-solving through narrative-based storytelling and collective sharing. Presenters may choose to perform/read live or share recordings of their performative narrative-based storytelling works addressing their intended impact and outcomes.