Connected: Across the Divide – Call for Showcases


2021 NSN Virtual Conference & Festival
Connected: Across the Divide

Storytelling has been shown to be a powerful tool to help bridge differences with compassion and empathy. Stories help us see humanity in one another, understand motivations, and appreciate similarities. This July, we will be exploring all the ways that story and storytelling help us reach across the divides that separate us. We seek proposals that share the power of story to address our differences and celebrate our commonalities. Have you used story to address divides between cultures, races, ages, religions, political parties, or storytelling forms/styles? What about the divides within or between families, communities, or organizations? Can you speak to the divides created by this pandemic, including the distance between traditions of live performance and the demands and limitations of virtual delivery? Share your expertise in helping to reach across any divide – physical, emotional, psychological, or digital. We look forward to exploring these ideas with you.


July 21-25, 2021 NSN will bring together storytellers from all over the United States and the world!

The NSN 2021 Conference, Connected: Across the Divide, is seeking submissions from producers from across the spectrum of the oral narrative art form who would like to propose a Showcase for inclusion addressing the Conference theme from myriad directions. We are looking for Showcases about reaching across the aisle, connecting with different communities, resolving underlying tensions, and coming to a common ground about our differences whether they be cultural, racial, religious, economic, political, or, yes, even the nature of story and storytelling.

Please explain how you think your Showcase proposal fits the conference theme. “Connected” and “Across the Divide” are phrases with many meanings; there are numerous divides and multiple ways of connecting across them. We are looking for showcases that address unity, conflict transformation, understanding, empathy, dialogue, etc. We expect a wide range of Showcases with different topics and approaches to the theme. They may focus on specific issues, communities, geographies, story types, and more. All kinds of Showcases are welcome and they may include personal stories, folk tales, original stories, historical and biographical narratives, other art forms that use story, and more. All kinds of storytellers are welcome, especially those from groups that have been traditionally underrepresented at NSN conferences and festivals. Propose a Showcase that reflects your understanding of the theme, a Showcase about which you are passionate, a Showcase that you feel needs to be told and heard.


Individual Showcase producers will invite storytellers to join their Showcases, bringing together performers from the larger storytelling community. In an effort to expand our reach, one requirement for all Showcases is that at least one person performing must not have performed with NSN in the past. (This means that one person per Showcase must not have been a featured teller at an NSN-sponsored event, a fringe performer, or a workshop leader. Previous participation in NSN slams or swaps does not count toward this requirement.)

A Showcase should be 75 minutes in length. Please include descriptions of the skills you bring to the role of Showcase producer, similar events you have produced in the past, and your specific goals in producing this Showcase. NSN will also be curating 2-3 Showcases that address the conference theme. It is assumed that conference presentations will primarily be live and synchronous, but Showcases may also include quality recordings of stories.

You are welcome to submit more than one (1) Showcase proposal, but can only be selected to present one (1) Showcase. Those producing a Showcase may also present a workshop, provided separate proposals for both are submitted and selected. Showcase producers may tell as a part of their Showcase, but may not perform in another Showcase. You are welcome to submit individual stories for consideration using the Call for Stories, however, you cannot be selected to produce a Showcase and tell a separate story in another Showcase. Participating in other NSN events outside of the conference does not prohibit participation in Connected.

NSN is committed to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in all of our practices and presentations. NSN’s stated Values include:

“Responsive Innovation: Continuous adaptation of our work in response to changing and community needs.
Cultural Awareness and Engagement: Sensitivity and respect for diverse individuals and communities.
Inclusion: Advancement of equity by elevating underrepresented voices.”

NSN has also issued a “Statement on Racism, Discrimination, and Injustice.” Please explain how your Showcase will support and further these core values.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: 11:59 pm on Monday, May 10, 2021


A $100 flat fee will be paid to the Producer and to each teller in the Showcase. Given the 75-minute Showcase length, it is assumed that a Showcase would involve 4-6 people, including the producer, and that the total expense budget for each Showcase would be $400.00 – $600.00 USD. If you have a reason to suggest a format outside of these parameters, please specify how and why the Showcase would need an exception, what the total budget would be, and how the tellers would be compensated.

Additionally, Showcase producers and tellers will receive a 40% discount on Connected Conference registration. Showcases will be recorded and become part of the NSN digital library for one (1) year.


SUBMISSION DEADLINE is 11:59 pm on Monday, May 10, 2021

Fill out the form below with all relevant information and attachments.

You will be notified of the results by June 1, 2021

You will receive a copy of your proposal via email after your submission is complete.

Please note: Partially complete submissions are not saved and there is no way to save your submission and return to complete it later. You must submit your complete proposal for your submission to be saved. Therefore, NSN is providing a draft submission form that can be used to prepare your submission prior to submitting a proposal on the live form below. NSN strongly encourages the use of this form or a word processing program in preparation for submitting any proposal.

Email with any questions not answered here.

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