Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Inside Story: An Arts-Based Exploration of the Creative Process of the Storyteller as Leader
by Forest, Heather, Ph.D., Antioch University, 2007, 266; 10631068
Abstract (Summary)

Storytelling is one of humanity's oldest art forms and an enduring educational method. Stories can spark social change. Although storytelling is tacitly recognized in diverse social science domains as a communication medium used to powerfully transmit leadership vision and ideas, little empirical research has been reported about how a teller constructs and tells a story. Through qualitative, arts-based methods, this heuristic study examines and describes the lived experience of a storyteller composing and performing a tale on issues of peace, justice, and social change. It reflects on the teller as leader and identifies a palette of arts-based skills for change leaders.

As a professional storyteller, I phenomenologically explored the essence, or nature, of a storyteller's creative process by creating a storytelling work. The storytelling work I composed as a research vehicle is based on a travel diary written during a time of war in Israel in July, 2006. Utilizing art making as an inquiry method, I mindfully became an embodied research environment during this study. I gathered emic, or insider, information about the imaginal world of a storyteller. Through a literary, autoethnographic writing process, I observed, described, interpreted, and named the steps in my creative process as I designed, rehearsed, and performed an original storytelling work. The work interweaves personal memoir, history, folklore, and current events.

Commonalities between the storyteller (composing and performing a complex tale) and a change leader (designing and communicating a change vision) emerged. Storytelling communication skills and creative thinking ability are core competencies in artfully leading change. Arts-based training in storytelling could provide change leaders with experiential knowledge about innovative thinking and an appreciation for the power of story and metaphor to convey ideas. Storytelling can be an illuminating art medium through which to inspire peace, justice, and positive social change.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kenny, Carolyn
Commitee: Alexandre, Laurien, Wergin, Jon
School: Antioch University
Department: Leadership and Change
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 78/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: Arts-based research, Autoethnography, Change leader, Creative thinking, Leadership training, Storytelling
Publication Number: 10631068
ISBN: 9780355013672
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