Storysharing was developed by Dr. Nicola Grove, the founder of Openstorytellers. Nicola works as a storyteller and freelance consultant in special needs, disability, language and communication. She is an honorary senior lecturer at the Tizard Centre, University of Kent. Her background was education and speech therapy. She left her job at City University to set up Openstorytellers. Her books include: Odyssey Now (1996);Ways into Literature (2005); Learning to Tell (2009), Using Storytelling to Support Children and Adults with Special Needs (2013) and The Big Book of Storysharing (2014).She travels internationally to research stories and legends about disability.
Openstorytellers is a charity that works to enrich and empower the lives of people who are marginalised because of learning and communication difficulties.
We do this through varied work around the telling and sharing of stories, including personal narrative as well as classic stories, using a collaborative approach based on fifteen years of research and innovative practice. Our work includes music, songwriting and social clubs, friendship and life skills projects, work skills training and support, multi-sensory storytelling groups for people with profound disabilities, citizenship and advocacy and, of course, we have ‘The Openstorytellers’ - a professional user-led company of storytellers with learning disabilities. The Openstorytellers perform at numerous festivals, events and community spaces throughout the year, spreading their message, creativity and inspiration through storytelling to wide audiences. Here is a quote from a previous audience member – “We have been changed by today’s performance, thank you. Everyone will leave here today thinking in a different way” – audience member Festival at the Edge.
At the heart of everything we do is the concept of Storysharing®, a pioneering communication method based on personal narrative that empowers individuals. Openstorytellers enables people to use their voices and to be heard, both locally and in wider society.
Openstorytellers supports people with learning disabilities to gain the confidence to make their voices heard and have a greater presence in society. As founder member Robin Meader says:
“I used to be shy and quiet and in a shell, now I communicate with people more easily. In eight years I’ve made a lot of friends, I do storytelling, office work, performance, workshops, but mostly illustrating. It stops me being bored at home or wandering around the high street. It’s made me speak to people, made me kinder and interested in what people do, I now have friends all over the South West, instead of just watching the TV or looking at maps on the wall. It helps me go out and speak to anyone I want”