Programme Session Details 2024

Once upon a time: Creating connections and building engagement with a storytelling mindset

Corresponding Author: Becky Hartnup

All authors: Carina Buckley

Length: 60 minutes
Location: Gallery Room 2


This session is a playful, practical workshop in storytelling techniques, informed by research and practice. The goal is to develop a storytelling mindset and the confidence to put it into practice, incorporating your own stories into your communication or encouraging your students/team to leverage creative technologies for storytelling.

Learning Goals
Understand the power of stories – why they are becoming a core competency in teaching and learning, communication and leadership
Gain concrete experience of the power of stories by sharing stories that matter to you and reflecting on how stories influence our emotions and behaviour
Identify and analyse storytelling approaches and techniques and consider how they support teaching and learning/wider communication
Build concrete experience in applying storytelling techniques
Create a short teaching story in a group – using creative technologies.

The session is designed to be accessible for those new to storytelling and creative tech but with plenty to engage those already incorporating them. This includes improvisation games, multimedia, and telling our own. It will culminate with a hands-on group activity of building a story; a multi-modal story using freely available creative technology

The session will be framed by the growing body of research that recognises storytelling as a legitimate means of questioning, building, and sharing knowledge and will include concrete examples of how storytelling is being adopted in universities right across the curriculum and in university communications.

Takeaway resources include links and worksheets to allow participants to replicate the experience at their own university.

The session is informed by a year-long collaborative project with Learning Design and academic teams at Adobe Creative Campus universities, piloted with professional and academic staff. It also includes elements successfully used in corporate training on presentations and storytelling as well as original, playful activities added for this session. The session will not be heavily technology-focused, but will include an opportunity to try out multi-modal communication for those that wish to do so.

We will develop the outcomes of this session into practical guidelines and inspiring resources to give university staff the confidence to boost storytelling and enhance creativity in their organisations, directly contributing to student engagement. These will be technology agnostic and made freely available.

Who we are.
Becky Hartnup @Justbeckause is an education consultant, producer of immersive learning activities, and a member of the Storytelling Community of Practice and of the Applied Improvisation Network.
Carina Buckley @EvilDrB is an Instructional Design Manager at Solent University, co-author of How to be a Learning Developer in Higher Education and one half of the Learning Development Project Podcast. She writes plays and loves cheese.

References, web links and other resources:

Further information
Resources created for the Adobe Creative Campus project shared with permission:
Resources created for corporate training shared with permission:

References/further reading
Alterio, M. and McDrury, J. (2003) Learning Through Storytelling in Higher Education: Using Reflection and Experience to Improve Learning. London: Routledge
Landrum, R. E., Brakke, K., & McCarthy, M. A. (2019). The pedagogical power of storytelling. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 5(3), 247–253.