2010-11 Recipients Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling

The Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling supports a model storytelling project that is service-oriented, based in a community or organization, and to some extent replicable in other places and situations. We are confident that the four projects above will inspire excellence in applied storytelling work and communicate to new audiences the humanitarian possibilities of storytelling.

$5000 to Firewalkers: Madness and Beauty
Project Directors: Malaina Poore and Cassandra Nudel
Community Partners:  VOCAL Virginia
Poore and Nudel are based in Charlottesville, Virginia and their partner in the project is VOCAL Virginia.  Over 200 books have been given out free by VOCAL to public libraries, shelters, psychiatric hospitals, policy-makers, journalists, collaborators, volunteers and others.  Through the Brimstone Award, the Firewalkers team will create a series of Story Capsules to radically rethink mental illness.   This project will weave together the stories of people who have experienced extreme mental states and as a result have learned unexpected things and become people they never expected to be. People who have faced madness, fire, creativity, the dark night of the soul, and the rich world beneath the surface, and now have a story to tell.  The project evaluation is guided by a professional evaluator, as an in-kind donation from Virginia Department of Behavioral Health.

$5000 to Foolish and Wise Things We Have Seen or Done
Project Director: Steven Holl / SoulWorks
Community Partner:  Guys’ Group – Leelanau County Family Coordinating Council
Steven Holl and the Leelanau County Family Coordinating Council in Traverse City, Michigan work with Guys’ Group, a program to provide social support and mentoring for adolescent boys living in near poverty. The Brimstone Grant will make it possible to formalize a storytelling program, including swaps where they and their adult mentors will share stories of ‘foolishness and wisdom,’ culminating in a public event and a DVD.  The primary goal of this project is to cultivate a group ethos among middle school boys in Leelanau County Michigan that supports storytelling as a way to disseminate knowledge, broaden emotional literacy and strengthen ties of friendship and community.  The weekly in-school sessions, the six Story Swaps with adult mentors, and the concerts all provide opportunities to develop new relationships with the self, the class, the school, and the county.

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