Monday, October 25, 2010

The ethics of storytelling - Introduction

crossposted from massmouth

Storytelling is a very powerful medium. Standing in front of an audience and creating a world for them merely from words and gestures can create a connection that reaches back through our ancestral memories. When we hear a well-told story we are persuaded, moved, remade.

Because of this power, and like any art, there are ethical considerations in storytelling. As storytelling becomes a more integrated and well-known art form, thanks to the efforts of massmouth, LANES, NSN and other advocacy groups and hard-working individuals, it’s worth thinking about how we tell, hire and hear stories within ethical boundaries. Over the next few posts I’ll explore my thoughts on the ethics of storytelling. These posts do not reflect the stance of any other organization; I hope they are a starting point for conversation.

I’m breaking these posts down into three realms of discussion – the ethics of the teller (obligations to audience, story/artform and other tellers); the ethics of the organizer (obligations to audience, teller and community); and the ethics of the audience (obligations to self, teller and the art form). I’m sure there are other ways to break this down, it’s just what makes sense to me. I'll post the ethics of the teller tomorrow and will then post the others weekly.

I hope these posts are a starting point for a conversation, I hope you find this of interest and worth discussing. I’d love to know what you think. 

(c) 2010 Laura S. Packer
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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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