StoryLab Symposium 2018

The ubiquitous nature of story means that we are all actually storytellers, employing various narrative forms depending on context and expressive tools. The computer game, the poem, the annual accounts, the documentary film, the mathematical formula, the archeological exhibition, the healthy eating leaflet, the classroom lecture, the legal document and the conversation are a few examples of the numerous narrative forms which all have the one quality in common: they are engaging us in wider themes and issues through story. It would therefore seem to make sense to develop some kind of transdisciplinary forum around that thing we call story. Thus, this symposium will bring individuals, experts and lay communities together to share experiences and solve problems through a creative engagement with story and narrative in the broad pursuit of achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

This symposium will convene a transdisciplinary group of people consisting of artists, scientists and people from business, humanities, as well as people and communities involved in any of the issues and themes being addressed. It is the network itself – loose, flexible, responsive and multiplied – and the methodology – ethnomediaology – that constitutes StoryLab. StoryLab is a working concept, an idea; there could be many StoryLabs, all revolving around a unified philosophy and approach. StoryLab would have the express purpose of providing an inspirational and eclectic environment in which the problems and issues arising out of achieving the UN’s Sustainability Goals can be explored, addressed and communicated through a direct engagement with storytelling across narrative forms.

What could a StoryLab do? By using the notion of story and narrative as unifying concepts, it has the power to:

  • bring transdisciplinary groups of people together for focused story and narrative led workshops and symposia around defined shared issues, themes and problems;
  • organise various ‘open source’ story and narrative led activities exploring defined themes, issues and problems by researchers, practitioners, NGOs and communities from different contexts and disciplines;
  • provide a branded creative space with which to engage various communities and collaborators from within and outside NGO and university environments, including potential frameworks for inter-institutional collaborations;


  1. Welcome and introduction by Professor Erik Knudsen
  2. AHRC StoryLab International Film Development Reseach Network panel presentation and Q&A with Professor Erik Knudsen, Dr Nico Meissner, Dr Carolina Patiño and Sarah Kuntoh.
  3. Panel discussion with 3 diaspora independent filmmakers and Q&A.
  4. Complimentary networking lunch.
  5. The Future StoryLab – a vision statement by Professor Erik Knudsen
  6. Group Discussions of ideas and opportunities for a transdisciplinary StoryLab, led by Dr John Law.
  7. Plenary discussion of future opportunities for SoryLab and drafting action plans, led by Dr John Law.
  8. Conclusions and networking drinks (provided)