The Promise & Perils of Narrative

 In November 2019 the Narrative Network met to discuss critical perspectives on the uses of narrative. While we often valorise narrative and storytelling as giving people a voice, with this seminar we explored how narratives can also be coercive or instrumental.

Together we considered how narratives may direct, manipulate, and/or exclude certain aspects of experiences.

We asked if there are stories that are ‘untellable’ and/or silenced and if these narratives might appear in other ways. The seminar also dealt with issues around authenticity, ownership and ethics within narrative research. Speakers Liz Dean, Claire Loughnan, Nikki Henningham, Jack Tan, and Dave McDonald shared critical concerns about narrative in their own projects, including how to work with traumatic and contested narratives and how to navigate conflicts between institutional, cultural, and personal ethics.