The International Centre for Arts and Narrative (ICAN) is a collaborative project between York St John University and York Theatre Royal. The focus of ICAN is to develop research and practice-based project that investigate arts and narrative.
One way of understanding narrative is to see what people do with the stories we provide them with. ICAN explores different ways to look inside the mind of the story-listener, at the way in which stories are listened to creativity, individually and collectively. We try to discover, through story-centred practice and research, the value of the human relationship with narrative in education, wellbeing and the public sphere.
So we hold weekly narrative and artsworkshops for community and school groups, host an AHRC funded collaborative doctoral PhD in storytelling with adolescents, and also organise studio discussions with speakers on ‘Narrative and….food / mental health / prisons / democracy…’.
In an ICAN community workshop, the authorship of the day is shared: by the storyteller; by the community artists who shape the story she tells and facilitate exploration of it in their different artforms; by the participants who pass the story through the prism of their own experience and create their own collective retellings. We examine not just how narrative shapes culture and people, but how people can shape them in return.
In April 2016 ICAN hosted ‘Storyknowing’: a symposium and festival on storytelling and theatre with young people.