Pre-Conference Sessions presented by
NSN Special Interest Groups


SIG Pre-Conference Workshops are an opportunity to start your conference early with significant programs that reflect the focus of each SIG.  Jumpstart your conference and connect with others who share your interests.


The YES! and HSA SIGs are offering a two-day social justice track, 7/20-7/21.


Register for the SIG Preconferences on the Registration page.



Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance!
Wednesday, July 20, 8:30am-5:00pm;
Youth Concert 5:45-6:45pm


Social Justice Up Close and Personal


Emily & Onam LansanaYES! kicks off the Pre-Conferences with a day devoted to storytelling and social justice. We will explore the 21st Century skills of critical literacy and social responsibility as we learn and play together.


9 a.m.:  Emily Lansana and her son Onam Lansana present the opening keynote Social Justice Up Close and Personal, an exploration of the transformative power of social justice in the narrative and literary forms.

Maria Asp11 a.m.:  Maria Asp follows with Critical Literacy & the Pedagogy of Neighborhood Bridges about and practice of using storytelling for social justice in schools where she partners with classroom teachers to use storytelling and theatre to teach critical literacy in inner-city public schools.


12:15 p.m.:  Lunch


1:30 p.m.:  Sample Neighborhood Bridges Session (for adults and youth)


3:45 p.m.:  Workshop choice: 1. Debrief for adults, or 2. Storytelling - Onam’s style!


4:45 p.m.:  Closing/Business Meeting


5:45 p.m. – 6:45:  Youth Storytelling Concert


Questions: Jane Stenson, or Katie Knutson,
SIG website:




Healing Story Alliance
Thursday, July 21, 8:30am-12noon
with Concert on Wednesday evening


Healing Story Alliance (HSA) ConcertWednesday, July 20 7:30 pm
Features performers engaged in storytelling for social justice and the empowerment of disenfranchised voices.

Story X Change©: Crucial Storytelling Exchanges for Social Change


Lani PetersonPsychologist/storyteller Lani Peterson facilitates storytelling trainings with people whose lives have been impacted by homelessness, poverty, racism, violence, sexual preference, and/or incarceration. Lani connects these storytellers, whose voices might otherwise go unheard, with communities of individuals from different backgrounds. They explore through mutual storytelling the history, context, and impact of the stories they carry about themselves and one another. As stereotypes are challenged, participants develop larger stories that more successfully express the complexity of differing experiences, culture, and community. This highly interactive session will introduce Story X Change© theory and provide hands on training with practical applications.


SIG website:




Producers & Organizers
Thursday, July 21, 9:00-12noon


Broeren & Whitehair


Building the Empire: Many Styles in Many Venues

Examine the value of multiple storytelling programs in one or more venues. Learn the how and why of this approach to making storytelling accessible to many audiences and tellers. Presented by two of the most skilled producers in the field: Allison Broeren (Minneapolis, MN) and Scott Whitehair (Chicago IL), who have successfully created and are programming multiple spoken word programs.


Questions: Loren Niemi,
SIG website:



Storytelling in Organizations
Thursday, July 21, 8:30-11:30 am


Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say
with Elizabeth Ellis

Elizabeth EllisIn the current culture of mistrust, nothing drains the life blood of an organization more quickly than the perception of being inauthentic or deceitful. That moves integrity from a moral issue to a matter of agency survival. Story will be told. Will it be rumor and conjecture? Or will story deepen understanding and evoke insight? Gain skills for your toolbox.


Questions: or
SIG website:



Environmental Storytelling Discussion Group
Thursday, July 21 9:00 am-12 noon


Meet in the Marriott lobby at 8:30am to walk or carpool the short distance to the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center where we will share and discuss ways to use storytellling in environmental education and advocacy.  And we’ll keep talking shop all weekend long! Lead by Fran Stallings and Jaye McLaughlin


Questions:  Fran Stallings,