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Story Exchange

Exchange 2

Whether in the classroom or the boardroom, build a culture of inclusivity and connectedness with our facilitator-led Story Exchanges.

What is a Story Exchange?

The Story Exchange is a workshop format developed by Narrative 4.

The Birmingham Stories team run Story Exchanges across their hub – led by the novelist, professor and Narrative 4 ambassador, Ruth Gilligan.

Out line of a Story Exchange session

Story Exchanges bring groups together – either from within one setting or introducing two communities to each other. In structured workshops, participants are supported to:

  • Prepare a story –– thinking about a personal experience that matters to them, often in response to a particular theme
  • Share their story with one other participant
  • Retell their partner’s story back to the group – in the first person, as if it were their own
  • Reflect on the experience – considering how it felt to hear their experience retold, and what they have learnt from stepping into their partner’s shoes

Story Exchanges generate a deep sense of empathy between participants – something that has never felt more urgent than now.

In addition, they are great for core literacy development: a space for young people and adults alike to practise oracy, storytelling and story analysis skills.

You can find out more about the Story Exchange and its power on the Narrative 4 website. You can also watch a video showing a workshop involving young people here.

Past Story Exchanges

Express interest in hosting a Story Exchange

We have been running Story Exchanges in Birmingham for several years: with teenagers and adults across the city.

Story Exchanges can be:

  • Internal – connecting members of one community
  • External – in which we pair up groups from different organisations to exchange stories

Story Exchange workshops take two to three hours. We will also support participants to prepare in advance of the workshop, and to reflect on the experience, turning ‘empathy into action’, afterwards.

If you work in a school or community organisation and feel your group could benefit from a Story Exchange, email Alternatively, if you would like to take part in training to host your own Story Exchanges then please contact Narrative 4 to enquire further.

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Share YOUR Birmingham Story

#MyBirminghamStory asks people in Birmingham to write or record themselves telling a story about their experiences of life in the city.

Find out more and get involved here.

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