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Welcome to TaPRA 2019 at the University of Exeter!

Lyndsey Bakewell and Antonia Liguori

‘I passed through 24 countries to get here’ Storytelling and creative practice: Applied theatre for the Creation of New Communities Amongst Conflict. 
In November 2017, 30 refugees and asylum seekers made their way from Nottingham to Loughborough. With the help of the British Red Cross, this newly landed group of people were collaborating with storytellers, theatre makers, musicians and artists with hopes of finding their place within a new community. With the simple theme of inclusion, the group shared stories of their journeys, recounted past experiences, and developed their desires for a new future. Voices were heard, songs were written, and visual art was created. While some stories were too painful to tell, others couldn’t be shouted loud enough.  

The push to share these voices formed the foundation of a living exhibition both at Loughborough and the Tate Exchange. Interactive and digital, the work on display belonged wholly to the group, their stories having been co-curated into digital stories available to share more broadly.  
This paper will consider how such work provides new opportunity for the future of applied theatre, placing the emphasis on the sharing of personal experience through a variety of creative practices and through the digital. It will focus on storytelling, considering how story, as a form of applied theatre, can be combined with creative practice to promote resolution amongst conflict, and find community when lost. 

Considering the ways in which traditional, creative and digital storytelling are useful and informative forms of applied theatre where creativity is nurtured in the very sharing of experience, it will highlight how different forms storytelling present applied opportunities to add hidden, censored and dismissed voices current debates. It will discuss how beginning and co-producing the work with the community can shape considerations of the future, and help us to better understanding our place in the world.  

Dr Lyndsey Bakewell is a lecturer of Drama at De Montfort University. Lyndsey is particularly interested in the relationship between storytelling and theatre, and the ways in which personal storytelling might be used in an applied context. Prior to working in Drama and storytelling at DMU, Lyndsey worked as a Research Associate a number of applied storytelling projects. This included the NAR-SPI project an Erasmus+ funded project considering our understanding of inclusion, and how storytelling might promote connections between people 

Dr Antonia Liguori is a lecturer in Applied Storytelling at Loughborough University. Antonia’s work focuses on the use of digital storytelling in a range of different settings. Considering its impact for projects relating to personal experience, environmental and social issues, and education and heritage, Antonia is an expert in this field. Antonia also worked on the NAR-SPI project.