The Art of Storytelling – An ART-icle

Storytelling is a universal human tradition that is present in almost every culture around the world – it is an art form that spans history, culture and mediums. Stories are used to entertain, educate and even heal with many more benefits including the power to connect and foster empathy and understanding among large and small communities. Typically story telling is an oral and/or a written tradition however in present times we are offered many different versions of story telling mediums through movies, tv, video games and social media.

As kids, many of us are read to as it is a crucial part of cognitive development, as well as improving and learning language. Reading with kids can help to form the very beginnings of comprehension, creativity, critical thinking and provides time and material to build a bond with those we read with.

As we grow older stories are used to teach us about the world around us – they are used to share history, personal experiences and offer windows into past lives and events. Folktales, legends and myths continue to this day to be important in sharing cultural learning, traditions and values and the essence of many can be found in popular culture today. They continue their legacies into the future.

An interesting part of these age-old stories is that they often morph to suit the time and place they are told as well as provide opportunities to engage others and challenge the norm – a great example of this is the somewhat current exploration of the origin of the villain or stories that are told from the antagonist’s perspective.

Stories that originate from other perspectives and experiences that are not familiar to ourselves encourage us to connect with the human parts of ourselves and others – it gives us the opportunity to appreciate diversity and communicates on a deep level.

Storytelling is often used as a therapeutic tool as well – by telling a story we can often explore and stretch our imaginations and creativity. It can allow us to express emotions, challenge our beliefs or expectations, and gain greater insight and sense of understanding.

Being a story teller is a natural part of our lives and by being a listener we can gain a greater understanding of our fellow humans by helping to keep the story traditions alive.

Looking to share your story or listen to others?
Check out these local Storytelling Groups:

Vancouver Public Library Indigenous Storyteller in Residence Les George

Storytellers of Canada

The Flame

Chinatown Storytelling Centre

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