Taking it to the Web: International online storytelling festival continues to promote cultural understanding
Oct. 9, 2013 — Beginning today, storyteller Susan O'Halloran and the Society of the Divine Word present the second annual "Stories Connect Us All," the world's first-ever online storytelling festival to focus on building bridges between cultures.
During the three-day festival, participants can log onto the "Stories Connect Us All" Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/StoriesConnectUsAll
) to watch personal videos stories from different professional storytellers every half hour, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m (CDT) each day.
The videos will feature multicultural storytellers sharing stories of their unique cultural backgrounds, challenges and triumphs. During the three days, more than 60 professional storytellers will present 72 stories.
Throughout the festival, the storytellers will be online to answer questions and respond to participants’ comments and anecdotes. Viewers also are encouraged to share their own stories.
"It’s like a global book club – everyone will be sharing the same videos and talking with each other about them from Australia to India to Africa to Ireland to the United States," said O’Halloran, a storyteller devoted to promoting racial diversity and inclusion and producer of the festival. "It's a worldwide movement to promote understanding among different racial, ethnic and religious groups. It’s a whole new interactive story event and you can be part of it."
Last year, O’Halloran, who has produced live storytelling festivals for the last 20 years with Angels Studio
, a communications ministry of the Chicago Province of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) moved this storytelling festival to the Internet in hopes of reaching an even larger audience with stories that can heal our racial and ethnic divides.
The Society of the Divine Word, a Catholic religious community with more than 6,000 priests and brothers working in 70 countries, is committed to building bridges between people. Father Derek Simons, SVD, a member of the community, founded Angel Studios, which has partnered with O’Halloran to conduct the annual storytelling festivals.
Angel Studios and Racebridges also produces resources for educators to promote ethnic equality and understanding among the races.
Sharing stories is a great way to get people to discuss issues, which can often be hard to talk about, O’Halloran said. "Stories can be entertaining, engaging and emotionally touching. When you hear other people’s stories you realize how unique each person and group is, as well as all we have in common. When we’re able to walk in each other’s shoes, even for a few minutes, a stranger becomes a friend," she said.
"The new concept did just that with a Facebook reach more than 50,000 and 16 different countries participating," she said "On the internet there are no geographic boundaries or time limitations. Last year’s results proved that a storytelling festival about inclusivity can now include everyone."
To participate in "Stories Connect Us All" and see behind-the-scenes glimpses of the festival, go to: www.facebook.com/StoriesConnectUsAll
For more information about "Stories Connect Us All," contact Susan O’Halloran at email@example.com
. For more information about the Society of the Divine Word, contact Theresa Carson at firstname.lastname@example.org