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Storytellers to Gather at Fairmont State University

Times-West Virginian (Fairmont, WV) , December 28, 2007


Recently, the West Virginia Humanities Council awarded a $5,000 grant to Fairmont State University(FSU) for a new project called the Mountain State Storytelling Institute, which is sponsored by the FSU School of Fine Arts and College of Liberal Arts. The Mountain State Storytelling Institute “The Power of Story: Transmitting Culture and Transforming Lives” is a two-day conference planned for April 2008 featuring scholars and storytelling professionals.

The event is organized by Francene Kirk, FSU associate professor of speech, and will be held in coordination with the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center and the West Virginia Storytelling Guild. Judy P. Byers, director of the folklife center, said the event will be a unique opportunity for the general public and educators.

"Storytelling among families is like an oral scrapbook," Byers said, "a way of preserving family memories."

The institute will merge older folktales collected by noted historian Ruth Ann Musick with newer tales and different ways of telling the stories, she said. In the classroom setting, storytelling can keep students engaged while helping them to develop communication and writing skills.

“I hope we encourage educators to use storytelling as a teaching and learning tool,” Byers said. “I hope we encourage the community to see the power of the story. And I hope the children and youth will come for the entertainment.”

Subjects Covered: education

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