One of the segments to be presented as part of NARSOL’s “Building Your Advocacy Tool Kit” webcast on June 19th will be “Impactful Storytelling.” The session will be presented by Dan Swern and his associates from coLAB Arts, a production company that facilitates “creative conversation” through innovative programs. Webcast attendees will learn how to be empowered as advocates by effectively telling their stories to create meaningful change.
The Storytelling session will be presented in two segments. First, Swern will do a monologue that illustrates the value of a strong oral history. In the second segment, guests will be divided into breakout groups for a workshop on targeted storytelling. The goal is to help attendees to learn the often-difficult art of tailoring their stories to be less than five minutes in the telling, yet still contain the most valuable, impactful elements.
According to Swern, coLAB Arts generates community-powered projects and seeks to create an art scene in new and established spaces. Its work takes place in community rooms, houses of worship, parking lots, schools, bars, and backyards. A “let’s get it done” work ethic and flair for mischief colors coLAB Arts’ aesthetics, and an emphasis on community engagement and professional development defines its commitment to the arts.
coLAB believes that engaging artists, social advocates, and communities to create transformative new work can effectively challenge perceptions and inspire action. “Artistic expression is civic engagement,” says Swern, “and that collaboration is an active and creative process. coLAB Arts draws energy and inspiration from working… [to] engage communities to ask questions, develop relationships, and come together to create new work across socio-economic, ethnic, and generational lines.”
Dan Swern is currently producing and directing three theater projects, including two collaborations with Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg: “Life, Death, Life Again: Children Sentenced to Die in Prison,” and “Banished: Children on the Sex Offender Registry.”
He is the owner of Smugbug Productions, which provides services in creative development and stage direction, production consulting, and producing. Swern also teaches “Creative Engagement” at Rutgers University’s School of Communications and “Information and Community Engagement” for Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.