education

{Tell me about it!}

Storytelling

Storytelling is an ancient tool used by storytellers, educators, and artists: writers, screenwriters, and theatre and film directors, and yet turns out to be rarely used in visual art. Expressive examples of pure narrative or plot penetrating the field of visual arts have in recent decades appeared, among others, in the work of the American writer Tracy Chevalier (the authors of such novels as Girl with a Pearl Earring or The Lady and the Unicorn) or Lech Majewski's film The Mill and The Cross, an adaptation of a book by Michael Francis Gibson of the same title, devoted to the painting The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

It would seem that if storytelling appears in visual arts, it naturally refers to examples from figurative art: real characters, specific figures, and images on the basis of which a story can be built; that there is no place for abstraction, installation, land art, performance or other artistic techniques. Nothing more wrong. Formal ambiguity allows unlimited scope for imagination and creativity and evokes many associations: sometimes as many, as there are recipients looking at a given work of art. The use of this unspoken layer of meaning inspires an interpretation of each existing form, its various symbols, and hidden meanings.

Storytelling is one of the tools that fit perfectly into the vision of the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art as a transdisciplinary institution. It consists of elements derived from various fields and reaches through equally many channels, affecting the recipients multiple senses: with sound, image, single movement or gesture, and even by creating the impression of smell or touch everything that shapes the space of human imagination, creativity and inspiration.

Storytelling is not only a tool, a method of work, but an ideal interactive connection between the sender and recipient of the message, between contemporary art and its creator and the viewer, who, when adding storytelling elements to the message, also becomes the recipient, interpreter and creator. Storytelling can thrive wherever there is ambivalence, ambiguity, a need for interpretation, a desire for a deeper understanding and penetration into the essence of the work; a will and openness to the viewer sand their intellectual and emotional potential. The conclusion is obvious: storytelling works perfectly in the space of contemporary art as a tool and way of communicating with viewers or as a way of expressing a message.

The Ujazdowski team, in particular the team of educators, has been building some of the scenarios of their activities based on this tool for several years. Storytelling has become a method of working with an exhibition or a single visual object, a way to convey knowledge about artists and the techniques they use, as well as different art fields and currents. Using this tool, we often bring is contemporary music phenomena, and sounds, rhythms and musical phrases become part of the story of art. Combining many elements and assumptions, based on experience and gaining knowledge acquired during own activities, but also training, courses and external workshops (in particular activities under the Erasmus + Adult Education programme), the Ujazdowski team of educators have developed a proprietary method of working with various groups, especially adults, using this tool.

In our work in this field, we collaborate with valued organizations and individual artists, including: Michał Malinowski (Storyteller Museum), Agnieszka Aysem Kaim, Beata Frankowska (Stowarzyszenie Grupa Studnia O), Sahand Sahebdivani and Raphael Rodan (Mezrab Storytelling School) and Jerzy Szufa.

We invite adults individuals, as well as institutions, organizations and companies interested in contemporary art and storytelling, as well as using narratives to work on individual development of creativity, imagination, expression building skills, integration or group activation. We encourage you to participate in storytelling tours, workshops and activities, as well as to co-create long-term programmes and series of events based on storytelling.

Workshops are held in Polish. Their description, in Polish, can be found here.

Project was financed in the framework of Adult Education | Erasmus+