On February 17, a week of storytelling in Worcester’s South Community High School (SCHS) culminated in a school-wide story slam whose student winners will go on to the statewide high-school storytelling championship in Cambridge, Mass. The project started with a faculty development workshop on storytelling conducted in December 2011 by Norah Dooley, founder of the statewide storytelling nonprofit massmouth and supported by Josna Rege’s (English, Global Studies) 2011-2012 Faculty Mini-Grant. The grant, titled “The World in Worcester: Two Seasons of Storytelling and a Digital Archive.”
The mini-grant also supported a free storytelling workshop at Worcester State University in September 2011, followed by a story slam at the Sahara Restaurant and Café. The winners of the Sahara slam will progress to the massmouth semi-finals in Somerville, Mass. on March 14. In addition, the mini-grant enabled the videotaping of the performances and the creation of a digital archive dedicated to showcasing Worcester’s cultural diversity.
The seed money provided by the mini-grant has multiplied. The success of the Sahara story slam led to an invitation to apply for a Worcester Arts Council grant to hold a series of story slams in 2012, and that application has been successful. Rege, WSU’s Margarita Pignataro (Spanish), and Worcester community arts activist Julius Jones will organize four more slams at the Sahara Restaurant in the spring and fall of 2012, each with a different theme.
The success of the faculty development workshop at South High led Principal Maureen Binienda to enroll the school in the Mass Humanities-funded StoriesLive® program, which organized the week on storytelling. Rege is a consulting scholar for the Mass Humanities grant.
Anyone interested in participating in the 2012 story slams or in helping to design the World in Worcester digital archive can contact Rege at firstname.lastname@example.org .