From the Board: February 2014

It's been a long time since the last From the Board, and a lot has happened.

From the Board – February 2014

Chair: Tom Goodale. Secretary: Chip Colquhoun. Treasurer: David Harry. Honor Giles. Christine Willison.
It's been a long time since the last From the Board, and a lot has happened. As chair I take full responsibility for the paucity of communication.

That is of course the first thing which has happened since the last one, the changeover of the board, with Chip stepping down as chair to become vice-chair, and myself, Tom Goodale, being chosen as new chair. This is in line with our informal policy of making sure that the chair rotates every couple of years – we have discussed making this part of the society's articles, but that may be too constraining when the board is small, as it was last year.

Much of my time since becoming chair has been in forging stronger connections with other organisations, such as Halsway Manor, which looks to become a strong supporter of storytelling in the UK and is keen to run more storytelling events. We have also taken an active part in the promoting the British Awards for Storytelling, run by Phrase Arts; we see these awards as an important step in getting Storytelling recognised more widely as an art-form and making it more visible. I have continued to represent the society on the ICOMOS-UK committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), and am looking at whether there is enough interest to form a special interest group on ICH within the Society. Honor has been in discussions with the Story Museum in Oxford about strengthening our links there.
This is all in line with one of the Society's main goals which is to be a hub for people interested in storytelling throughout Britain. There are many people passionate about storytelling, and our job is to bring them together, and try to find ways in which we can support them.
One way in which we support people is the website, and development of that has continued. The storytellers' directory is now hosted on and integreted with the main webserver, and there is a new club list up on the website. The forums will be integrated very soon. We welcome suggestions as to other features you would like to see there.

Since Tina Bilbé stepped down as Storylines Editor we have been struggling to publish it on its former quarterly schedule, for which we apologise. Honor has taken on the rôle of interim editor and new edition of Storylines is finally in place. The Board would like to thank all the contributors to the new publication, and apologise for the delay. We would also like to thank those who have helped us produce it, especially Umi Sinha for her excellent copy editing. Urgent steps are now being taken to find an Editor and two other members of the team to make sure that there is not such a long hiatus again.

Simon Heywood, Storyteller, published author and lecturer has been putting together a new publications team for our more formal publications – the Artisan, Oracle and Papyrus series. He has an editorial board (Nicola Grove, Mary Steele, Mike Wilson, Jack Zipes) and has also had a positive expression of interest from others including Kevin Crossley-Holland. He has also approached some readers including Janet Dowling, Caroline Oates of the FLS, and others.
His next task is to determine interest from publishers and he has had some very positive contact with one or two academic publishers and he is pursuing these possibilities.

Simon would like to re-publish some of our previous publications, as well as commissioning new material, so there is a great deal of work to be done. The Board would like to thank Simon for his commitment to making sure the SfS imprint is revived and thrives in the future.
The Society for Storytelling’s 14th National Storytelling Week goes from strength to strength, administered and promoted tirelessly by Del Reid (with a lot of back-up from Pippa Reid), and we must thank them for raising the profile of the event so successfully. The figures are yet to come in for the number of events held around the country, but it grows significantly each year, and the media are increasingly sitting up and taking notice, with mentions and articles in several national newspapers. The BBC invited board member Honor Giles to participate in a discussion on their national Breakfast programme, along with Elijah Kerr, a poet who was involved in the Telling Tales project. Unfortunately, the story of the storms took precedence and the slot was cancelled! Hopefully, their interest will result in some future coverage.

The other big event of the Society's year is the Annual Gathering and AGM, which this year will be on the weekend of the 11th, 12th and 13th of April, in Sussex. This is being organised by Bernard Tagliavini, Umi Sinha, and Stella Kassimati, with Christine acting as board liasion. More information will be forthcoming and we hope to see you all there.