Special Interest Group (SIG) Pre-Conference Workshops

SIG Pre-Conference Workshops are an opportunity to start your conference early with significant programs that reflect the focus of each SIG. These workshops, keynotes, discussions, concerts, and excursions allow you to jumpstart your conference and connect with others who share your interests.



Register for the SIG Preconferences on the Registration page.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017 – 8:30 am-5:30 pm


Youth, Educators and Storytellers Alliance (YES!) and
Storytelling in Higher Education (SHE) Pre-Conference


Sharing Stories in a Socially Just Educational Environment



8:30 AM – Registration Opens


9:00 AM – Keynote (YES and SHE together)
Make It Matter, Make It Fun: Narrative Play in the Classroom
with Janice Del Negro
This three-hour intensive workshop on telling stories in the classroom includes why storytelling matters, selecting the right stories for the right ages, and how to tell an effective tale. Workshop includes demonstrations, discussion, and exercises on participatory storytelling, changing points of view, and language games. Participants will leave with two stories to tell and resource handouts.


12:00 p.m. – Lunch - a civilized meal


1:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Option One: Active Workshop (YES)
The Power of Story & Theater for Social Justice: Creating Awareness and Change

with Jasmin Cardenas
This interactive workshop is based on the work of Brazilian director & visionary Augusto Boal, founder of The Theater of the Oppressed. Participants will leave with games, exercises, and critical dialogue tools to bring back to their classrooms and communities. Participants are encouraged to think of situations where they have been oppressed by a greater force and to come to the workshop dressed comfortably. This workshop is ideal for Educators, Storytellers, Artists, Organizers, and anyone else interested in sparking dialogue with the community or a specific group of constituents regarding a current injustice. Right now, it is especially urgent to amplify the many voices in our classrooms & communities.   


1:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Option Two: SHE Discussion
How do we use and promote storytelling in our classes and on campus?

with Diane Ketelle and Sarah Beth Nelson
This facilitated conversation will provide a time to share classroom storytelling pedagogy and collect new ideas. Bring your experiences and be ready to engage in an active conversation!


4:15 p.m. – Business Meeting and Evaluation


4:45 p.m.  – Story And Game Swap

Bring your favorite short story or game to share with the group. What do you love to lead or tell, and why? Each person who wants to share will have 5-7 minutes to share the story/game, followed by 3 minutes to share other applications of the game or follow-up ideas for the story. Please only bring things that others can reproduce (nothing under copyright or so complicated that it will take longer than a minute or two to explain).


For more info contact YES! co-chairs Jane Stenson at stenson.stories@gmail.com or Katie Knutson at stories2teach@gmail.com, or SHE chair Diane Ketelle at dketelle@mills.edu



Wednesday, June 28, 7:30 PM


HSA Concert

$10 Admission
Featuring storytellers from Kansas City and across the nation, sharing stories of social justice and empowerment.



Thursday, June 29, 8:30 am-12 noon


Healing Story Alliance (HSA) Pre-Conference 
Share Your Story, Change Your Life 


Our Kansas City team (educators/social workers/storytellers) spent the last year putting into practice the Story XChange model presented by Lani Peterson at the 2016 HSA Pre-conference. Lani described working with community members to challenge stereotypes by sharing their stories of feeling marginalized by perceived differences. Learn how this model was implemented this year, hear about their challenges and successes, and listen to the potent stories created in these workshops. Attendees will participate in workshop exercises and have time to discuss the insights gleaned by Jamie Mayo, Joyce Slater, Andrea Ellis, Tracy Vacca, Carol Webster, and Nikki McCann. These community leaders will share their lively and engaging work with a variety of groups for evolving larger stories that encompass the complexity of differing experiences, cultures, and communities. Handouts provided.  Scholarships available – for more info contact Allison@dancingleaves.com.



Thursday, June 29, 8:30-11:30 am


Storytelling in Organization (SIO) SIG
Humor That Works
With Andrew Tarvin, World's First Humor Engineer


“Humor that Works” explores the question of how to use humor to get better results and have more fun.  Andrew Tarvin is a former project manager at Procter & Gamble and has worked as a comedian internationally. He teaches that the current way of working in corporate America isn't working. More than ever, employees are stressed out, disengaged, and unsatisfied with their jobs. But it doesn't have to be this way. Humor can help employees and leaders become more productive, less stressed, and happier at work. This session will help participants learn how to leverage stories, jokes, visuals, and observations to live and work happier. Learn more about Andrew at Humorthatworks.com.

For more information on this session, contact Pete Griffin, SIO Pre-Conference Coordinator,  tongasstrails@gmail.com.


Thursday, June 29, 9:00 am-12 noon


Producers and Organizers (PRO) SIG
We are the Ones We have Been Looking For


An "Open Space" session where PRO SIG members and the producer/organizer curious can bring their pressing questions about the art and craft of producing festivals/series/community building, funding and marketing, volunteers, burnout, etc. and using the collective wisdom and experience in the room we will identify brilliant answers, frequent roadblocks, and best practices. And as always, good coffee and high quality snacks will be served to reward you for your participation. For more info contact Loren Niemi at niemi@aol.com.