Catch up on what we've been doing

Welcoming our Placement Student

Here at the Village, we’ve been very lucky to work with some wonderful placement students over the years, who are an amazing support to our small team. We’re delighted now to welcome Shuhan, who will be with us at The Village until December. Shuhan will be working partly alongside the Creative Communities team as well as assisting with social media & marketing. Here’s why Shuhan was drawn to working with us…

I am Shuhan and now studying at the centre of British Studies in Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.  Since my childhood, my memory has been always linked to storytelling. In China, we have many different folklores, and those folklores were used to accompany me every night when I went to bed. When I was a child, I was always enchanted by my grandparents and parents’ stories because the stories of them could flash some images to the age when they were used to live. 

Storytelling has its own charm, not only to the listeners, but also to the storytellers. People could be inspired from hearing others’ stories as well from telling stories to other people. The power of storytelling is one of the main reasons why I want to take my placement with the Village Storytelling Centre. Storytelling being used as a way of artistic output is more interactive than other art forms, and I am excited to see how the interaction goes and how everyone is involved in storytelling sessions! 

Besides, my degree in English language and literature did not cover much about Scotland, I also want to experience more cultural activities and natural landscapes in Scotland. I am very looking forward to being in Glasgow and starting my placement!

We’re so glad to have you on the team, Shuhan!

October 26th, 2021|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Introduction to Storytelling Course, March 2020

Introduction to Storytelling Course, March 2020

This spring, before the lockdown, we had a short and sweet “Introduction to Storytelling” course as part of the adult training programme at the Village. On the last evening, some people shared a full story for the first time in the course. Wow! I was so impressed with the talents and personal integrity these people brought to the act of storytelling. Each story was not so much of a performance, more of an invitation to spend time getting to know them – at their most authentic and open – through a piece of skilfully conveyed make-believe that means something to them.

There was a lovely variety of styles in the room. One person shared a dramatic myth he knows from his childhood; one person put a short story by a famous American writer into her own words (beautifully, subtly); another person made us laugh out loud with a classically mischievous folk tale passed on by a line of well-known Scottish storytellers; another person took us somewhere else entirely with a surreally fun, absurdist domestic drama they have written. The group had an open sense of what the word “storytelling” can mean. I felt safe in the hands of each teller, and as a listener I was enabled to trip from style to style, genre to genre, easily. Not everyone chose to share a story, but everyone listened with respect and curiosity. ‘Twas a GOOD round of stories. It felt just right.

That was back on a dark evening in early spring. We did not know that ‘lockdown’ was coming! I am looking forward to more evenings gathering together with new acquaintances, colleagues, friends and family; Zoom will have to do for now, but with all my heart I look forward to a scene I’m concocting in my imagination: a crackling campfire, bums squeezed onto bumpy logs, face alternately too hot or too cold as the wind blows the smoke about, a sticky marshmallow on a stick, a storyteller’s voice that you can’t always hear but sometimes do –  messy technicalities of being physically present with other humans. I toast my toasted marshmallow to the future.

-Naomi O Kelly, Storyteller
May 27th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

An Experimental Plan (Feat. Pirates and Underpants)

An Experimental Plan (Feat. Pirates and Underpants)

At around 3:40pm, one 8 year old boy said, “I can’t read”, and asked me to read his book to him. By 3:55pm he had read a quarter of the book out loud to me, and he was asking if we could put a marker in the book so that next week he could pick up where he left off. (It was a book about pirates and underpants. Maybe you know it?)

This happened at Story Club, a programme of weekly sessions run by St. Vincent’s Primary School and the Village Storytelling Centre. Every week, myself and storyteller Sònia Gardés meet with 10 children after their school day, to tell stories, listen to stories, play games, be silly, and enjoy language – and books. 

At the Village Storytelling Centre, our focus is on the oral storytelling tradition because spoken storytelling can make literature more accessible to more people; children and adults can create and enjoy literature even if they struggle with reading or writing. But we do sometimes use books in our work, because books – obviously* – are brilliant. (*Other blog posts could be written about why books are brilliant, but I’ve gone for “obviously” and I hope you’ll fill in the gap with your own knowledge!)

Why we’re building some reading time into our sessions:

When planning Story Club with St. Vincent’s, principal teacher Ms. McCabe told us that for many children at the school English is their second language. At that meeting, I had just arrived from telling stories to very small children at a library, where I’d noticed that those children – most of whom were too young to read – loved handling the books and searching for them and poring over them, as if they were precious objects. I was inspired by seeing them use books as a sensory treasure – a touch-able, see-able, smell-able anchor for moments of mindful, happy engagement. So with St. Vincent’s I hatched an experimental plan to build 15 minutes of book time into Story Club – to complement the english language work that these children are already doing at school, to pass on my love of books (since adult role models are key for teaching children about reading for pleasure), and also to help the children learn how to make their own grounded, sensorially engaged moments.

How it’s going:

We’ve had 4 sessions so far, and only in the 4th session did we have time for reading! (There were stories to be told, costumes to run around in, puffins to talk about…we’re very busy.) The reading time was a success. Sònia and I acted as guides; we went from person to person, helping where needed. Some kids got stuck in straight away and emerged from their story after 15 minutes with glowing faces. Two children decided to read in partnership with each other. Several children requested help from us adults, and we enjoyed spending the 1-to-1 time with those children. As for the little boy who I worked with the most – my friend who read to me about pirates and underpants – I got to know him better in those 15 minutes than I’ve been able to in all our other sessions combined. And he discovered that he can read, and that he’s very good at it!

-Naomi O Kelly, Storyteller

October 23rd, 2019|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Guest Blog: Kirsty Cassels

Guest Blog: Kirsty Cassels

This Autumn, I’m very much looking forward to working with Shona Cowie from The Village Storytelling Centre, to run a series of architectural model making workshops for Women’s Aid surrounding the topic of SHELTER.

We’ll be working with a select group of around 10 women from a local Women’s Aid collective which
provides information, support and refuge, if needed, for women, children & young people who are
experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse.

We’ll be exploring themes of Scale & Massing; Light & Shadow; Spatial Awareness; and Sound to discover the stories of SHELTER resulting in a series of architectural models that deliver a range of alternative spaces from which we can incorporate the powerful stories of our participants and promote awareness of the Domestic Abuse within the local community.

Kirsty Cassels, Architectural Designer and Director of the Scottish Ecological Design Association
Twitter: @koistycassels

August 16th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments