Online: What Are You Talking About - Oral Storytelling in Contemporary Society

In this course, oral storytellers are invited to explore their repertoire of traditional folktales with a focus on racism, gender and hetero-normativity. Through hands-on exercises, the workshop supports the development of narrative and performing strategies to creatively overcome ethical problems.

As oral storytellers, one of the essential aspects of our practice is the process of selecting, adapting and performing traditional folktales for contemporary audiences. In doing so, we often have to deal with problematic issues such as racism, gender or hetero-normativity. Traditional tales were fixed in writing at a certain point in history. On the one hand, we work with imported imagery when we tell stories from another culture. On the other, we are confronted with concepts and stereotypes present in our cultural background. 

What are you talking about? is a practical-theoretical course aimed at raising awareness and solving the ethical problems which cultural appropriation and the imagery of traditional folktales often present to contemporary sensibilities. We invite professional oral storytellers to embark on a shared journey in which, as a starting point, we will be looking at our positioning and cultural background. From there, we will look into our repertoires, then analyse and work with particular stories we are telling. Through guided exploration and hands-on exercises from storytelling and theatre practice, the work aims to develop narrative and performing strategies to creatively overcome these ethical problems.


The theoretical component of this course addresses topics such as: 

  • the historical contextualization of the artistic movements of oral storytelling
  • their contexts and discourses
  • an overview of the approaches and theories in the studies of folktales and oral traditions
  • an outline of the theory of narrative, focusing specifically on oral narration. 


Besides, the course offers an introduction to the issues of stereotypes and cultural appropriation with specific relevance to oral storytelling in the context of historical and present-day power structures.

As part of the course, all participants will take part in a final reflection and evaluation of the process.

The course is part of a four-year-long project initiated by The Federation for European Storytellers (FEST) and is aimed at supporting the professional development of young storytellers in Europe. What are you talking about? runs in collaboration with Berlin University of the Arts.

This course is open to professional, oral storytellers up to 33 years of age with priority of applicants under the age of 29. A minimum of three years experience in telling stories is required. (See entry requirements).



  • Good level of English (speaking, reading and writing) 
  • Minimum experience of 3 years of telling stories professionally
  • Maximum age of 33 with priority for applicants under the age of 29


Please apply via our website and send us your application until March 1rst.  On March 30th there will be a selection of 15 participants. Shortly after the selection you will receive further information (confirmation of participation, invoice).



  • CV
  • Letter of motivation (max. 1000 words)
  • Overview over personal repertoire: title and type of story (folktale, myth, legend, epic, fable, historic, literary or autobiographical material, etc) and origin of story
  • Overview public performances (date, place / context, target audience)
  • Vimeo / youtube link to a performance (min. 3 minutes, max. 10 minutes)



The Federation for European Storytelling offers grants to storytellers based in Europe to cover travel, accommodation and, in certain circumstances, parts of the workshop fee. Please look for details at


Ragnhild A. Mørch (BA.hons, MA) trained in storytelling, physical theatre and directing, has worked in live arts since 1996. Since 2005, she has been a full-time storyteller and focuses on storytelling as performance art both as a performer and a lecturer. She is an artistic manager of the training course Storytelling in Art and Education at the Berlin University of the Arts and performs at international festivals around Europe and North America. She tells stories in German, Norwegian and/or English.

Luís Correia Carmelo is a professional storyteller and a researcher at the Institute of Studies in Tradition and Literature (New University of Lisbon) and the Centre of Research in Arts and Communication (University of Algarve). He has a degree in Theatre, a Master's Degree in Portuguese Studies (with the dissertation thesis Representations of Death in Portuguese Folktales) and a Ph.D. in Arts, Culture and Communication (with the thesis Oral Storytelling: A Performing Art).

Florian Fischer is a freelance trainer, consultant and writer on social justice issues, focusing on (post)colonial heritage, racism/whiteness and masculinities, as well as a young storyteller. He has a B.A. degree in political science and conflict transformation, a Master degree in International Relations and attended the course on Storytelling in Art and Education at Berlin University of the Arts. He is (co-)author of the book „The Continuity of Genocide. European Modernity and the Genocide against the Herero and Nama in German Southwest Africa.

Abbi Patrix trained at the Drama School Jacques Lecoq in Paris and has been exploring the art of storytelling for the past thirty years. His work is at the crossroads of theatre, music, and movement, and he is on a permanent quest for new ways and voices to enrich the form of storytelling. To transfer his research to young generations of storytellers, he created The Labo in France and a European Labo-offspring – a collective and multi-disciplinary space for research, improvisation, and transmission. He performs in French and English and he is a founding member of FEST.

Run period:
Application Deadline:

Course fee:
EUR 200

Min. number of participants:
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