Storytelling for Artists

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Storytelling for Artists

King Lear Retold, Debs Newbold


Social Art Library—an Axis project in conjunction with Social Art Network—is excited to invite expressions of interest in ‘Storytelling for Artists’, a series of three workshops / masterclasses with writer and performer, Debs Newbold

Successful applicants will also receive a small bursary to help develop their own social practice story for submission to the Social Art Library. 

Why storytelling?

We think that telling stories about social practice is vital! As a live / process-based artform, the field suffers from a lack of visibility and its learnings can often be lost or hidden from view. Social practice stories matter – and the history of social art is too important to leave to others to define for us. We also believe that sharing our stories has a value beyond the limitations of project evaluation reports.

The Social Art Library aims to be the first really comprehensive resource for and about social practice in collaboration with artists and the communities they work with. We are open to submissions from all artists who work with people—and the communities and organisations they work with (you can share your work here). 

However, we know that telling the story of your work can be challenging and we want to support artists to create narratives that are congruent with their values as practitioners, as well as being potentially beneficial to the development and sharing of their practice. 

What does the ‘Storytelling for Artists’ programme entail?

The ‘Storytelling for Artists’ programme was created to help artists develop their narrative-making towards creating submissions to the Social Art Library. 

The proposed programme is as follows:

  • Workshop 1: ‘Introduction to narrative-making’ [open to all] 
  • Workshop 2 + 3: ‘Tell your story’ masterclass to develop your own stories [places limited to those awarded one of our bursaries]

Those accepted into the masterclasses will also receive a £100 bursary to assist with creating a submission to the Library.


How can I get involved?

If you would like to be considered for the masterclasses and bursary, please fill in this online form, comprising <300 words on why you would like to take part, along with a short biography / artist statement. You may also send the same information in a 5-minute video to: [email protected]

We welcome applications from social practice artists at all stages of their career, including those who have already submitted to Social Art Library. We especially welcome applications from those who might be underrepresented in the arts, including disabled artists, working-class artists, BAME / POC artists and LGBTQ+ artists. If you have any access requirements, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The deadline for submitting your expression of interest is midday February 1st 2021

NB Although ‘Storytelling for Artists’ is primarily intended for social practice artists, the first open session, ‘Introduction to Narrative Making’ might also be of interest to artists working in other fields who want to get better at presenting and sharing the stories of their projects. Artists working in other media do not need to apply at this stage: we will advertise the date and how to register your free place in the new year.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with Lucy Wright at [email protected]


About Debs Newbold

Debs is an award winning theatre artist based in London and West Yorkshire. She is an actor, director, writer and performance storyteller working across a range of theatre forms, with a love of work that playfully explores performer-audience relationships. Recent collaborations include Shakespeare's Globe, the BBC, Red Ladder, Rose Theatre Kingston, the Royal Opera House. Her solo pieces have played venues as diverse as the Royal Opera House, the British Library, the Southbank Centre, Hay Festival and Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, as well as many prestigious theatres and festivals in the UK, US and Europe. You can find out more about her work here.

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