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What is Storytelling? 

LIFE OF I landed in NYC after traveling through Canada, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Iraq. We typically focus on bringing LIVE stories which we stumble across as a part and parcel of our daily lives. As humans,  we try to make sense of our experiences, claim identities, interact with each other, and participate in cultural conversations through storytelling. These stories encourage us to view each other as compassionate human beings with a relatable story. As the Dalai Lama once said: "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." 

LIFE OF I is about flirting with the fine line between the comfortable and the uncomfortable through love, compassion and humor. 

LIFE OF I in NYC is partnering with organizations, projects, and individuals who are working towards addressing the issues around diversity, bias and the 'other'.  This is a series of compassionate storytelling evenings that will help create a safe space to bring different diverse narratives together. It will provide an opportunity for the participants to develop storytelling, digital media, narrative development and communications skills.

The project is being developed by Chowk Labs (CL), and is supported by the Center for Social Innovation NYC. This initiative assists Chowk Labs (CL) in fulfilling its desire to learn, build and contribute to the local Chelsea community. 

What is Storytelling?
 

 

“Let me tell you about something that happened to me,” one friend tells another as they walk through the park.

“So, how did your school day go?” asks a family member at the dinner table.

“Did you see last night’s episode on television? Let me tell you what happened,” a worker says to a colleague during their coffee break.

These simple speech acts announce, request, declare, promise, and invoke stories. They perform narrative. Such storytelling matters: it is an integral and consequential part of daily life. As audiences gather around storytellers, narrative becomes a significant site of communication and study. Embedded in the daily lives of ordinary and extraordinary people, storytelling flourishes. People make sense of their experiences, claim identities, interact with each other, and participate in cultural conversations through storytelling. Narrative is performed everywhere. Writers pen autobiographies and fiction; scholars recount the dramas of history and science. Storytelling permeates newspapers and magazines, radio, television, and film. Advertisers tell stories to sell their stock, and politicians package their lives in stories during campaigns. On stage, in the workplace, and at home, storytelling thrives.

It encourages us to view each other as a compassionate human being a with a relatable story. As the Dalai Lama once said, “Compassion is the radicalism of our time”, Life of I is about flirting with the fine line between comfortable and the uncomfortable hopefully through humor. The monthly evening event would be about influencing social dynamics both upwards and sideways. It would help the participants articulate how each of us would like to be treated and what words comfort us. The way we express a story, the words we use and the way we represent our past is what tells others about our needs as humans on a deeper and more personal level. 

It has been said that whoever tells the stories, defines the culture. Perhaps that’s why people are looking for new stories, stories that speak of hope perseverance, love, loss, compassion, gender, justice etc. Everyone wants to believe that human beings can make better choices than the ancient paths of destruction and despair.

‘Life of I’ is an exploration of this belief.