Pre-Conference Sessions presented by
NSN Special Interest Groups

SIG Preconference sessions allow you to jumpstart your conference and connect with others who share your interests. Register for the SIG Preconferences on the Registration page.



Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance!


Wednesday, July 29 • 9:00am-8:30pm


Pursuing answers to:
Finding Our Identity—Yes We Will!
Whom Do We Serve and What Do We Do?


9:00 a.m. Mary Hamilton, storyteller and educator, will host a participatory workshop on storytelling and schools. She says, if we want to host storytelling workshops in schools, we must be clear about the types of storytelling skills students will learn and how we will help students develop those skills. Mary will share her extensive research on assessment or “information gathered to know where a student is in relation to a given standard.”


Noon – 1:30: Lunch will be followed by the YES! Business meeting.


1:30 – 3:00: Adults and Youth participating together will remind us of our mission in a 90-minute romp with Bill Harley. In “Talking Your Way to a Story” Bill will demonstrate one of the best ways to develop a story: by taking one small event and talking about it. A short overview of how stories are structured will be followed by prompts to start a story and make it entertaining and meaningful. 


3:15 – 4:30: Two workshops conclude our afternoon: Debbie Weston From will build on Bill Harley’s theme in a session for youth participants. Adults are invited to a panel discussion with individuals who work with youth in a variety of circumstances.


5:30 – 6:30: Youth Storytelling Concert.


6:30 – 8:30: Youth Pizza and Story Swap.


Questions: Jane Stenson at


Producers & Organizers

Thursday, July 30 • 9:00am-12:00noon

House Concerts


"Everything you need to know about House Concerts..." will be revealed at the Producers & Organizers pre-conference workshop. Robin Bady and Megan Hicks discuss the secrets of their success. Participants will receive a how-to workbook, plus an exclusive invitation to a "Hotel Room concert" demonstration.


Questions: Loren Niemi at


Storytelling in Organizations


Thursday, July 30, 9:00am-Noon


Gold or Lead


Annette SimmonsAuthor, storyteller, and trainer Annette Simmons will look at how storytelling has turned into an “industry” serving the purposes of marketers, lawyers, strategic planners, consultants, fundraisers, and researchers.


This workshop will offer a storytelling training model that helps participants to teach storytelling in a way that retains the balance of working on storytelling at the same time you allow storytelling to work on you.

Annette authored Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, and The Story Factor, voted one of the 100 most influential business books ever written.


Registration limit: 30 • Questions: Tom Sparough at



Healing Story Alliance


Wednesday, July 29, 7:30pm

HSA CONCERT features
Jamie Mayo, Joyce Slater, Laura Packer,
Milbre Burch, Lani Peterson and Laura Simms


Thursday, July 30, 8:30am-Noon


Changing Skins: When Artistic Practice Intentionally Intersects with Social Justice


Milbre BurchDr. Milbre Burch has spent over thirty yearsgathering folktales of transformation: stories of animal offspring, fox brides, serpent husbands, dragon siblings, scar-faced heroines, and cross-dressing heroes who all stand at the edge of becoming the true self. In 2009, she received a Huebner Award from NSN to begin work on staging "The Girl Who Became a Boy," an oral tradition tale employing a gender-bending motif that's at least 2500 years old. The resulting full-length work is Changing Skins, Burch's performed research on nonheteronormative folktales and folkways found all over the world, threading together three variants of "The Girl Who Became a Boy" with other gender-bending folktales, scientific data, snippets of personal observation and stories from the popular media. Listeners have said that the show has broadened their understanding of gender fluidity. Starting with a performance of Changing Skins, Burch will offer an in-depth session, exploring the intersection of artistic practice and social justice. After the show, she will lead participants through an interactive session, "deconstructing" the show's conception and development, and offering workshop activities intended to empower participants interested in exploring social justice issues through storytelling in their home communities

Dr. Milbre Burch will join other HSA members in our Wednesday night concert.


Concert – $10
Pre-conference – Early registration deadline – May 12th
Early registration: members & students – $50, nonmembers – $75 (admission and membership to HSA)
Later registration: members & students – $65 , nonmembers – $90 (admission and membership to HSA)


HSA Scholarships are available in exchange for assistance.
For more information, write