National Storytelling Conference
2016 Conference Workshops


All workshops are 90 minutes and included with a full conference registration. 

All are subject to change, based on unforeseen circumstances. 


Getting Personal: A Performance & Panel from the Second Renaissance
Panel TBA
An exciting movement in personal narrative has been exploding across the landscape of the national storytelling scene, fostering new tellers, cultivating enthusiastic audiences, and creating inclusive community. In this hybrid session, a performance by storytellers born of this movement will be followed by an engaging panel featuring tellers and producers from all over the country. Where did this come from? Where is it going? How is it different/the same as what has come before? Explore with us.

Marketing: Expanding Your Reach
Panel TBA, with host, Robert Barrientos
Looking for that next storytelling job? What do you need to bring to the table to land it? Get marketing insights and tips from individuals who book storytellers and arts performers. Learn what they are looking for and how to get their attention. Panelists will include representatives from the libraries, performing arts, and story event producers. Robert Barrientos, facilitator.


How to Deliver Arts Programs in Senior Living Communities
Glenda Bonin
Creative aging: Learn to work confidently with seniors who manifest a wide range of abilities and needs.


Be Loud, Be Loud, But Not Too Loud!
Simon Brooks
Learn how to set up different microphones, and PA systems with ease and confidence. You will be heard clearly and loudly, but not too loudly!
Writing Your Employees into the Change Story

Jennie Bucciero & Joanne Loce
Nearly 70% of all organizational change efforts fail. Learn how to foster a more impactful connection with employees by applying techniques of storytelling and visualization.


Romanticism to Reinvention: How to Fix Your Stalled Career
Sean Buvala
Reboot!  Every writer, freelancer or storyteller’s career hits a stall eventually.  Gain an energized plan for your work and add fresh skills for your new world of next-level marketing.


The Accredited Storyteller”: How Academia is Professionalizing the Art of Storytelling
Lashon Daley, with Dr. Joseph Sobol, Dr. Jessica Senehi, & Onawumi Jean Moss
Join a panel discussion about how accreditation of the storyteller has affected the function of the oral tradition, the performance of stories at festivals, and the need to define oneself as a “certified” storyteller.   


Embody Your Story!
Diane Edgecomb
Get rid of stiffness and return playfulness to your storytelling by using a delightful, body-based approach. Find surprising moments, new insights and organic rhythms to enrich your work.


How to Tell a Story: A Beginning Workshop
Elizabeth Ellis  
You aren’t a beginning storyteller; you’ve been telling daily since you discovered the gift of language.  Assess your current skills, and build on them to become more accomplished at this powerful art.  Focus on finding or forming tales, learning and sharing them effectively.  For those who think they have no story, one will be provided.


Voice as Instrument: Rhythm, Pattern, Metaphor, and Musicality in Storytelling
Heather Forest
Explore the natural rhythms of language, simple song making, and the creative potential of the voice.  Include song and rhythm in story composition, sharpen character/narrator voicing, and use musical elements to engage audience participation.


Fulbright Scholarships for Artists, Writers and Storytellers
Priscilla Howe
Is a Fulbright for you? Yes! You don’t need a PhD. The Fulbright is the US flagship exchange program. Learn about the proposal process, how and when to apply, what makes a compelling project, and more.


How to Catch the Big Commissions
Maureen Korte
Wonder how others get the big commission pieces? Make a complete plan to create bigger programs, work with non-profits to write grants, market your presentations, and experience the financial rewards.


Story-Crafting: Perfecting Your Skills
Doug Lipman
Illuminate storytelling skills that, until now, we haven’t had names for, but have learned unconsciously and haphazardly. Through your first “story adjustment slider,” learn how to recognize, perfect, and apply Hidden Skills, and how to teach them to others.


Hear Our Voices: Build Understanding across Differences
Cindy Rivka Marshall
Encourage respect of human differences. Learn about sharing personal stories with an appreciative listening model that will create awareness and a safe space. See how it can be applied to address diversity and identity issues such as race, religion, class, sexual preference, gender, disability, or ethnicity.


Storytelling Goes to Prison!
Michael D. McCarty
Inmates who participate in California Arts Council’s Arts-In-Corrects programs are less likely to be involved in violence, and those who get out are more likely to stay out.  Learn about the amazing impact of delivering workshops from someone who has taught in seven prisons.


The Quest for the Perfect Historical Story
Jaye McLaughlin & Fred Peters
Our quest took us to Washington D.C. and New York City while researching 1910, when two boys rode their horses 1500 miles.  Learn the research tools that made our mission successful and about the NSN Member Grant process.


Preserving Life Stories in the Digital Age
Jason Merkoski
Technology can now help us preserve and share our stories so they’re never forgotten.  A storyteller and co-creator of the Kindle will demonstrate the evolution of technological advancements and address their implications on the art of storytelling.


Your Calling, Livelihood and Life
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Laura Packer
Transform your love of stories into a more abundant career and life through Transformative Language Arts (TLA): storytelling, writing, drama, music, and other word-based arts for social and personal change.


Middle School Language Arts Education and Storytelling
Jennifer Munro
Enhance middle-school students’ oral presentation skills and teach important life-preparation values. Discover practical applications  of the hero’s journey motif from Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero with a Thousand Faces.


Story in Organizational Mission, Brand and Culture
Loren Niemi & Laura Packer
Explore the ways story can be identified, shaped, and told for internal and external audiences including Board and staff, volunteers, clients/customers, funders, policy makers, and the media.  Practical and proven techniques.

The Culturally Relevant Classroom

Susan O’Halloran
How do you engage students from diverse backgrounds speaking multiple languages to help them feel valued so they can learn? Explore how to connect the Common Core with students’ family and community cultures and the wider social context in which they live by telling stories.


Homeless Youth Tell Stories
Celine O’Malley
Chico Tellabration! ™ has been a sell-out show two years in a row while showcasing homeless youth alongside local tellers. Learn strategies for a successful program  that brings a balanced audience of young and old and spotlights social justice issues.


Community Storytelling: Our Stories, Our Community
Lilli Pang
Learn a core approach to working with people in communities—youth at risk, in hospitals, with refugees, indigenous communities, in primary schools, etc. Bring openness and imagination—storytelling with communities is fun.


Language Learning and Storytelling:  A Perfect Match
Regina Ress
Engage in a wide variety of hands-on activities that support a creative, communicative, language-learning classroom.  Practice skills for successful listening, speaking, reading, writing, and grammar use while having fun!


“Professor Pickle’s Humor Kourse”
Mike Speller
The Professor will tickle your brain with effective methods and madness to make your stories’ humor stink, uh, stick! Participation is not required, it’s mandatory. Bring one joke (and any material needing a dose of humor).


Managing Stage Fright
Melissa Stan
Use the nervous energy to your advantage in a performance. Through physical and vocal warm-ups, breathing techniques, and group exercises, learn how to take the fright out of being in the spotlight!


Collecting and Telling Family Stories
Carolyn Stearns
An old photo, Grandma’s secret recipe, military service stories, growing up stories—each has a place in a repertoire of family stories. Develop a family story from a short synopsis to a tellable tale.


StoryLab: The Science Behind the Magic
Ed Stivender
Learn the Five Foolproof Rules of Storytelling. Explore the storytelling event with scientific tools of discernment. Experience improvisational exercises to expand your style and repertoire. Clarify issues like censorship and bombing on stage.


The Esteemed Emcee
Greg Weiss
Practice the role of the emcee. Identify and hone the skills specific to different situations. Become known by producers and event organizers as an emcee who does it right.