Learning Democracy by Doing location:Toronto, Canada date:16-18 October
In various cities of Flanders, there is a profusion of practices in which people are stimulated to tell their story about their neighboorhood. In these practices narratives are employed in view of different aims. Some practitioners use these stories as a means of oral history, trying to know more about the daily life of people at a particular time in history. Others see storytelling as a community building process, fostering inhabitants to develop a sense of belonging to the place and the people they live with. Still others support stories as a voice making process by which ordinary citizens can speak out loud about the way they experience their daily environment. As researchers we have a particularly interest in how the looseness and open-endedness of storytelling possibly open new ways for citizens to name and explore narratively the dilemmas and contradictions of living with the plurality and diversity of an urban context. Searching for answers to this question we will elaborate on how storytelling strengthens citizens’ learning not only because of the content of its narratives (particularities of persons, complexities and ambiguities of human affairs) but also, and primarily, because of its style (appeals to imagination, evokes involvement beyond the private world, accepts ambivalence as a source for community building etc.)
Within the framework of the Conference “Learning Democracy by Doing”, this paper fits best in the third conference sub-theme ’Learning democracy in non-formal education’.