Pre-Conference Workshop, Wed June 14th

Venue: Tampere University Main Building, City Centre Campus, lecture rooms A05, A06, A07, A08 on the bottom floor

Narrative Matters 2023 pre-conference workshops

 The pre-conference workshops take place at the Main Building, City Centre Campus on Wednesday, June 14th at 12:00 – 16:00. At the workshop, the teacher will first give a short lecture, after which the whole group will discuss and work on the pre-given materials (approx. 50–100 pages, consisting of research and examples). The materials will be shared to the participants before the end of April 2023. The EUR 100 participation fee includes a sandwich, fruit and coffee/tea during break at 14:00.


(1) Jens Brockmeier: Multitemporal narratives: How can we tell stories about things that happen simultaneously?

To understand the “the storytelling boom” we must understand what makes narrative such a crucial form and practice of language use. What gives it such power to help us cope with challenges, problems, and trouble? One of narrative’s unique qualities is that it captures complex events and experiences in time. Often, it brings together occurrences that take place in the present, past, and future – at the same time. Think of historical and political events, or personal and private ones (told, for example, in autobiographical stories and other forms of life writing).

This workshop takes a look at narrative techniques and strategies that allow us to give shape to the amazingly multilayered temporal scenarios unfolded in many of our stories. After an introductory talk, we will examine short narratives – excerpts from fiction and everyday conversational narratives – to get a sense of how storytelling gives shape to human time experience.


(2) Alexandra Georgakopoulou: (Re)-searching authenticity in storytelling of the digital era 

Questions of authenticity and, in turn, truth and credibility, of stories and storytellers have been a longstanding preoccupation in narrative research as well as a key-element of how and why ‘narrative matters’ in social life. But with the intensified social mediatization of everyday life and the mobilization of storytelling within it, alongside the surge of phenomena such as ‘fake news’, ‘deep fakes’, and automated social bots, in a milieu increasingly defined as ‘post-truth’, they are currently presenting with a renewed relevance, resonance and need for updated scrutiny. Authenticity, in particular, has become a buzzword, a currency for self-presentation online, its conceptualization of ‘genuine’ and ‘real’ encompassing being ‘believable’,  ‘relatable’, ‘affective’ and ‘ordinary’. Stories are promoted and sought after as the ideal vehicle for ‘doing authenticity’ in a range of domains, where stories are currently being instrumentalized, from politicians’ campaigns, brands and marketing agencies, to confessional vlogs.

Against this backdrop, in this workshop, we will critically interrogate these current intimate connections (and re-conceptualizations) of authenticity and storytelling and their implications for the study of narrative but also for narrative interventions. I will introduce you to a specific  methodological and analytical approach to investigating authenticity in stories, as multi-modal activities, with authenticity being attestable at different levels (textual, interactional, visual, etc.). In the 2nd part of the workshop, we will work in groups, to test out & expand on insights from the 1st part. Activities will include: a) discussion of short provocations, prompt texts (to be circulated in advance); b) sharing your questions on authenticity in your project/data.


(3) Stefan Iversen: Disrupting inventions: Political storytelling on digital platforms

Storytelling practices and political communication interact in many ways as has been documented by several scholarly traditions. Among the key concerns have been counter-narratives and master-narratives (Bamberg and Andrews 2004; Lueg and Lundholdt 2021), political imagination (Andrews 2014), argumentation and narrative (Fisher 1987; Olmos 2017), story ownership, entitlement and curation (Shuman 2005; Fernandes 2017), storytelling and social movements (Polletta 2006; Papacharissi 2015), and the impact of social media on storytelling in public discourse (Papacharissi 2015; Page 2018; Georgakopoulou, Iversen and Stage 2020).

 In this workshop, we zoom in on an omnipresent but so far largely overlooked aspect of present day political storytelling on digital platforms, namely its engagement with experimental and non-conventional forms of narrative practices such as uses of fictionality, non-trivial audience interactions, contradictory intentions and performative defamiliarizations. After an introductory lecture, we will look at and discuss recent exemplary cases from different geopolitical settings and from across political spectrums, focusing on the forms and functions of disruptive, experimental narration in the public sphere. In what ways do present day politics deploy the creative potentials inherent in experimental storytelling? How do such practices generate affect, effect and impact? What kinds of scholarly concepts and attitudes are called upon to come to terms with these ongoing developments?


(4) Ann Phoenix, Molly Andrews & Aura Lounasmaa: Paying close attention to the story as told

It is widely accepted that the form in which stories are told is as important as their content. This workshop focuses on the practice of slow analysis to pay close attention to the ways in which stories are told and what we can learn from this. It considers the temporal ordering and emplotment of narratives by analysing how people make multiple meanings in even short narratives. In addition, the workshop considers whether, and if so when, it is possible to see emotion in the story as told as well as the positions from which narrators are speaking. It will examine whether it is possible to gain insights into the audiences for which particular narratives are created as well as the meanings that are being made.

The workshop will, therefore, consider how particular narratives are occasioned. Are they, for example, co-constructed in relation to interviewers or speaking to an imagined political or other audience (in interviews and in other oral and written narratives)? Part of the workshop will involve analysis of the beginning of narratives since Martine Burgos, drawing on Paul Ricoeur, argues that they are sites of struggle to configure or reconfigure disparate events into meaningful narratives that are central to the narrative construction of identities and the making of meaning and persuasive arguments. There will be opportunities for participants to examine narratives produced in different ways and for different purposes. The three workshop leaders will discuss the ways in which they conduct their slow analysis by working closely with narratives. The workshop will consist of a mixture of presentations and group and paired working followed by plenary discussion. A major aim is to allow all participants to benefit from doing analysis and discussing collaboratively-produced insights.