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3 Powerful Examples of Storytelling in Diversity Work

what's your storyRemember the last time you heard a really good story? How intently you listened, how easy it was to get lost in the words, how completely connected you felt to the storyteller?

Storytelling is a powerful way to connect ideas and people. It can help us see and understand varying perspectives; it can enable us to open our minds and think about things in new and different ways; and it allows us to connect with a concept or topic on a more personal level.

Check out some of our favorite examples of institutions that have made storytelling central to their diversity and inclusion  work: a powerful way to connect ideas and people. It can help us see and understand varying perspectives; it can enable us to open our minds and think about things in new and different ways; and it allows us to connect with a concept or topic on a more personal level.

Rhode Island School of DesignRISDiversity: Community Narratives features a series of portraits of RISD faculty, staff and students willing to share their voices and vision with the campus community. The photographed individuals share their stories through their own text and artwork which accompany the portraits. Each portrait is installed in a prominent location around campus — places where students, faculty and staff would be likely to see them as part of their everyday routine.

Central Michigan University – The Excellence Through Inclusion initiative at CMU features a theatre performance which was developed through interviewing and videotaping faculty, staff and students from underrepresented groups and depicts real-life situations that have happened on campus. Real-life stories of discrimination and incivility are also featured on provocative posters around campus.

Purdue University – Through news clips, celebrity interviews pulled from the media, game show formats, and interactive theatre that help teach concepts, paradigms and frameworks, the Diversity ProActors have managed to make diversity training at Purdue relevant, engaging and truly innovative.

By shining a spotlight on our differences, these three institutions are helping to bridge understanding, open doors for meaningful dialogue, and set the stage for real change.

Is there a place for storytelling in your institution’s diversity and inclusion efforts? What might that look like on your campus?

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