Getting Your Message Across: Storytelling for researchers and other professionals

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 12:00am

Getting Your Message Across:
Storytelling for Researchers and other Professionals
A One Day Workshop
Wednesday 13th July 2016
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom
Call for Participation:
In September 2015 Inter-Disciplinary.Net hosted a one day workshop on Getting your Message Across: Storytelling for researchers and other professionals, during which we presented some of our views about the value of adopting a storytelling style, for those who want to write engagingly and in ways that both inform and challenge their readers. However, the dominant focus of the day was on two things. First, it offered participants the opportunity to reflect on some perennial problems faced by authors in writing both clearly and concisely about research and other professional matters, especially when they are writing for an inter-disciplinary audience. Secondly, it gave them the opportunity to engage in shared writing and live editing of text in a supportive and collegial group.
In our second workshop on Getting your Message Across, we will again be offering support to writers at all levels in developing an engaging style that communicates clearly, by conveying complex information as simply as possible using a storytelling style. In doing so we will invite participants to abandon the idea (if they have it, and many people do) that since their research and ideas are important, they need to use difficult and important sounding words (including as much technical jargon as possible) and to develop a style of writing that only really clever people will be able to understand. We will suggest, instead, that they should aim to make their writing as easy to understand as possible, by thinking of it as a species of storytelling.
Call for Participation
Anyone, from any background, who is interested in the use of storytelling to convey important ideas, is invited to submit a brief expression of interest in the workshop (up to 300 words) which should address one or more of the following:
• the reason or reasons that they would like to participate in this workshop, which may include references to what they have to share with others, as well as to what they hope to gain from it.
• whether, and if so, how, they think that the challenges they face in communicating their ideas or the results of their research to an interdisciplinary audience differ from those they face in communicating them to an audience of peers from their own discipline or subject.
• what, in their view, are the characteristics of engaging, genuinely informative and challenging writing in any area of professional or academic life.
Expressions of interest will be printed in the workshop booklet and during the workshop participants will have the opportunity to elaborate the ideas and views they have thus expressed, during a structured ‘round-table’ session.
We invite expressions of interest for people thinking of attending and for them to send a statement of their interest and experience/expertise to the organising chairs by Friday 26th February 2016:
Gavin Fairbairn and Susan Fairbairn:
Rob Fisher:
The day will begin with registration between 8.30 am and 9.30am Wednesday 13th September 2016 and will be followed by a series of presentation sessions and workshops. Refreshments and a 2 course sit-down lunch will be provided. After the final workshop and summation of the days discussions and the event will end with a drinks reception.
The workshop will include presentation by the workshop leaders; episodes of reflection and discussion, and a number of practical activities aimed at developing ideas and skills. So, for example, there will be:
    Opportunities for reflection about the nature of academic and professional writing.
    Opportunities to share problems with writing.
    Opportunities to share ‘hot tips’ for writers.
    Opportunities for shared writing and editing.
    The opportunity to engage in ‘live editing’ of text as a group
Giving a timetable for a workshop like this is almost impossible. However, at some point during the day, we will talk about a range of issues, including:
    Developing an engaging style.
    Conveying complex information as simply as possible.
    Abandoning complex language, big and important sounding words when possible.
    Academic and professional writing as a species of storytelling.
    Engaging, informing and challenging readers.
    Empathising with your audience.
    How citation can interfere with meaning-making in academic storytelling
    Putting citation to use in developing academic texts, and in developing academic stories.
All of this activity will take place between the set timetable for coffee/tea breaks and lunch and will end with a wine reception.
Registration Fee: £85. (Special discounted price of £65 available if booked with the Story’s Place in our Lives event – details of which can be found here:
    conference registration fee
    discounted rate off any Inter-Disciplinary Press or Fisher Imprints publications
    access to the conference project initiative support materials
    morning coffee break with coffee, tea, fruit juice, fresh fruits, cakes
    2 course waiter served lunch
    afternoon coffee break with coffee, tea, fruit juice, fresh fruits, cakes
    Drinks Reception
Further details and information can be found at the workshop website:
Workshop Leaders
Gavin Fairbairn and Susan Fairbairn:
Independent Researchers
Gavin and Susan have worked in a wide range of areas, including medical and nursing education; applied philosophy and ethics; social and environmental psychology; primary and special education; social work and residential care; learning disability; child, adolescent and adult psychiatry; teacher education; professional development and study skills. Between us we have published on a very wide range of topics, including medical and nursing education; doctor’s interviewing skills; suicide; reconciliation after conflict; empathy; storytelling; professional development; euthanasia; sexuality and learning disability; bereavement; the spiritual care of dying children, and inclusive education.
While pursuing our own professional lives, we have managed find ways of working together at times and have, for example, organised and chaired many conferences, including a series many years ago about Ethical Issues in Caring, as well as IDNET conferences on Empathy; Storytelling, Bullying and Responsible Living. Together we have published three books about professional ethics.
Between us we have published four books about issues in academic literacy. Gavin co-authored Getting Published: advice for academics and other professionals with David Canter and his book with Chris Winch, Reading, Writing and Reasoning; a guide for students, now in its 26th year and third edition, has been translated into both Portuguese and Chinese. Together we co-authored Writing your Abstract: a guide for would-be conference presenters and Reading at University: a guide for students, which has been translated into both Chinese and Indonesian.
As teachers at every level from nursery school to postgraduate level we have had a great deal of experience of facilitating the development of writing, including academic and professional writing. Together we have presented a number of workshops for developing academic writers and during his time as Professor of Ethics and Language at Leeds Beckett University, and in earlier posts as Professor of Education at Liverpool Hope and as Professor of Professional Development at the University of Glamorgan, much of Gavin’s time was given over to such workshops both with colleagues and students and at other institutions, including universities in Poland and in the UK.
Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.


No comments