Building Community One Story at a Time

New Haven Independent (New Haven, CT), February 27, 2007


The Jamestown Project at Yale is holding storytelling sessions from now through June that will allow New Haveners to tell their stories, in hopes of building trust and community.

Storyteller Catherine Conant created a warm and welcoming circle for those who came to the two-hour session Tuesday night at the Community Mediation Center on Elm Street. As each person explained the origin of his or her name, certain themes emerged – the role of religion; the role of siblings in creating nicknames that stick for life; the importance of beloved family and friends for whom children are named, but who, in some cases, fell out of favor later.

Conant pointed out that all the stories contained the seeds of more stories within them, and that it’s in telling those stories that participants build trust to open themselves further to explore important themes more deeply, thus building more trust.

“The goal is to shape stories and then decide whether this will be the foundation of a community storytelling process,” she said, “about the experiences that make life in New Haven unique.”

Subjects Covered: diversity training, education

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