Thanks to the help of Vanessa Merina, Christie Her, and Dinh Le, we are proud to present the web anthology of the Telling Our Stories Across Generations Project.
Below is the press release and link to our new website. And thanks to everyone in the community for their support. Most importantly, we thank the youths for contributing their stories.
AUGUST 3, 2011
Contact: Mytoan Nguyen
Telling Our Stories Anthology Showcases Madison Youth
We are pleased to invite past participants, mentors, educators, and sponsors to experience the release of the “Telling Our Stories” web anthology (http://www.tellingourstories.org). The anthology showcases Madison high school-coming-of-age narratives and the stories some youths produced about the people who are part of their daily lives. These stories are based on oral histories and testimonials they gathered to produce a short non-fiction project. They were also informed by a workshop series taught by a small group of University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate students.
The projects in Telling Our Stories cover a broad diversity of countries and themes; for instance, one story narrates the exile of Clara’s father, who fled a Brazilian dictatorship during the 1980s. Another relays Pachee witnessing her first snowfall in 2004 as a recent arrival with her family from a Thailand refugee camp. Amaris wrote about a Vietnam War veteran’s reflections on his wartime experience and the psychological scars this experience left behind decades later.
The lives touched by the re-telling of these stories extends beyond the immediacy of the voices recounting them: a modest writing mentorship project in 2010 led to friendships between UW graduate students, community members, and the high school youths. We have also included mentor’s stories and testimonials about the way being a listener and mentor to these students has enhanced their way of seeing and educating. Student participants such as Tenzin Kelsang, now an entering sophomore at UW-Madison, emphasized the impact the mentorship and writing project had on their lives: “Telling Our Stories has made me a stronger and more knowledgeable student about my own history.” A past mentor, Mitch Aso, who recently completed his PhD in history of science, says the program has “provided a space for the participants to open up to all different kinds of stories and make connections along the way. In the process of telling and listening, we become a community, and we become more than simply a collection of our individual stories.”
We hope this web anthology will provide a flavor of the process and projects created from this fully collaborative storytelling workshop in the community. In a later phase, we intend to share instructional materials and avenues for online viewers to bring Telling Our Stories to their own community, wherever they are.
This project was made possible by the Kauffman Grant (2010-2011), the Humanities Exposed Scholars Fellowship (2009-2010), and a number of other charitable sources at UW. More information available at http://www.tellingourstories.org.