One of my favourite experiences in gathering and sharing stories happened back in 2008, when I worked with, and learned from, a wonderful Professor Emeritus from UBC, James Thornton, PhD. The project took place at the SHOAL Centre (a seniors centre) in nearby Sidney, BC and was funded through New Horizons for Seniors Initiative. It involved working with approximately 30 seniors over an eight week period to help them discover and tell their life stories. It was based on the Guided Autobiography model developed by James Birren, PhD (UCLA).
Watching participants change over the weeks, as they shared the stories of their lives with one another, was transformational for all involved. Each week, we would learn more about their lives – the good and bad, the happy and sad. And through that journey, as their life stories were revealed, layer upon layer, they become more than what they had been – to themselves, and to one another.
Being seen has so much to do with being heard.
So, when I was asked to be part of the Storycare Project through Storytelling Toronto – by facilitating a workshop on collecting stories from seniors – I was more than happy to share what I’d learned. But what I want to share with you today is the link to this online resource guide, Memories Into Stories . This is the result of all the hard work undertaken by the Storycare Project team: Debra Baptiste, Dinny Biggs and Dan Yashinsky. Hats off to this team for all the work they’ve done. For anyone interested in Arts in Health practice, this is truly a treasure trove of resources.