Narrative 4 headquarters Limerick launched for their new learning initiative 2016.
Narrative 4 is being brought to Irish shores and more importantly is developing its head quarters in our very own, Limerick city. What exactly is Narrative 4, you may ask? It’s a storytelling initiative based project where the young people of the world share their stories in a very creative environment.
The word, outrospection has been used to describe Narrative 4. Outrospection is discovering whom you are and what you want to do with your life by stepping outside your comfort zone and looking at yourself from a completely different perspective.
In looking at your life from the outside in, you discover the lives of other people, cultures and nations. That is the main reasoning behind the Narrative 4 project, to help the youth discover themselves from an outward view.
The organization, which was co-founded by Irish author Colum McCann and Lisa Consiglio and “dozens of other artists from around the world”, promotes social change through storytelling.
Author Colum McCann discussed, “Narrative 4 is like a United Nations for young storytellers, the whole idea behind it is that the one true democracy we have is storytelling. It goes across borders, boundaries, genders, rich, poor — everybody has a story to tell.”
What does the 4 mean? Narrative 4 stands for story, voice, life, and action. It really is an amazing imitative and organization that is for everyone!
Author, Colum McCann explained what will be happening with the Narrative 4 project, “Kids from Belfast, kids from Chicago, kids from Limerick, kids from Johannesburg. Get them together. Let them walk in one another’s shoes – almost literally. By telling the stories, not of themselves, but of others. The core philosophy is: You step into my shoes, I step into yours.”
But why Limerick, what was it about Limerick that drew the attention of such a universal project, McCann had this to say, “Because I think the people of Limerick have the fire and the guts and the desire for change. I think Limerick is a model city for how to fundamentally shift perception.”
McCann added, “It feels like the time has come for Limerick – it’s vibrant and edgy and new, and I feel aligned with the city. The city has a story to tell the world.”
In Newcastle West, Scoil Mhuire agus Ide have been having a taste of this new learning approach, taking part in a series of Narrative 4 workshops under the guiding hand of Sheila Quealey.
A major part of the workshop time involves just that, helping the students to look at identity and all the elements that go to make up a person’s identity, elements as wide-ranging as place, accent, appearance, hobbies, religion, orientation and many, many more. At the end of the day, however, the aim is for each participant to find and write their story and tell it.
When discussing the benefits of Narrative 4 project Sheila had this to say, “It increases their self-confidence, improves their critical thinking skills and helps them deal with peer pressure. The most important skill I have seen students develop is the skill to truly listen. After taking part in a number of storytelling workshops, students exchange stories to one of their peers and then later retell their peer’s story. It is amazing to see the bonds that are formed through this simple act of listening and retelling of stories; stereotypes and barriers are broken down.”
Colum McCann told the main message behind Narrative 4, “Our tagline is ‘fearless hope through radical empathy’. It’s about sweeping education reform and global leadership. It is about youth-led changes that affect every nook and cranny of our world.”
We are so excited to have such a prestige organization come to Limerick City and cannot wait to watch how to project develops!
By I Love Limerick correspondent, Sarah Hayes.