Save the Date!

By Bill Wight, NSN Vice Chair

California, here we come!

Next year, the National Storytelling Network Summit will be held in the San Francisco Bay area, in Fremont, CA from July 25-28, 2019. Save those dates and begin making plans to attend!

Speaking of which, you can still register for this year’s 2018 Summit (later this month) at

Why does the Summit location matter?

It’s not unusual for post-conference surveys to identify location as an issue, and recent years have been no exception. So it’s probably worthwhile to examine the factors surrounding the choice of a city.

Case for KC:

For the last several years (and again this year), NSN’s annual conference (now – Summit) has been held in Kansas City, MO. Why? Well, this is our new home! Since becoming a Missouri corporation, hiring KC-based staff, and most recently consolidating our offices to there, we’ve let our KC partners know that we’re serious about Kansas City being our headquarters. And they’ve responded – with office space, sponsorships, municipal tourism funding – and in other, less tangible ways, too: we’re becoming part of the Kansas City arts scene!

But we’re also a national organization, and we want to be careful not to simply exchange one geographical focal point for another. NSN exists to serve storytellers who are spread across the entire US, and even tellers outside the US. While our mid-continent location may offer more uniformly distributed access to our headquarters, there are still far-flung areas whose members may find it hard to access the Summit when it’s held in Kansas City.

Case for moving around:

Our conference began in a stable location (Washington College near Jonesborough, TN), but then we spent a number of years roaming to a different location each year.

Whenever we take the conference to another city, there are several obvious benefits:

  1. Attendees are exposed to a different part of the country, with its climate, culture, storytelling community and unique attractions.
  2. Local people who – for various reasons – don’t travel to faraway conferences have an opportunity to experience the NSN “magic” right in their own back yard.
  3. Our local partner story organization gains exposure through helping to put on the event – which also takes up some of the load from NSN’s staff and Summit committee.
  4. Locals discover that they want to join our community and become members of NSN.
  5. Our sponsors are brought to the attention of an even broader audience.

So why not move around all the time, like we used to? I suppose the best answer is – perhaps we will! But whatever we do, it should be intentional and well-considered. It should address our national scope as well as our headquarters allegiance. Watch for more to come about locations, venues, themes, and all other aspects of our conferences as we work through those questions.

But next year – make plans to meet us in California! And this year, join us in KC for another great conference July 25-28.

See you in a few weeks in Kansas City,

Bill Wight


Contact the National Storytelling Network

c/o Woodneath Library
8900 N.E. Flintlock Road
Kansas City, MO 64157
Telephone: (800) 525-4514

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