It is at this time of year that the team at sounddelivery usually start to announce details for Being the Story, our immersive storytelling event which takes place in the Autumn. We’ve had people calling us for months asking us when tickets would be made available. Today I have to share the news that we’re taking a pause on the event this year.
Being the Story was created to inspire new ideas, challenge perceptions, and stimulate conversation on the big social issues facing society today through the expertise of individuals with firsthand experience. There are lots of terms being used – experts by experience, leaders with lived experience. For us these were people we’d met through our work who’d faced life changing experiences or social injustices and were using their experience to create societal and systemic change. We could see they weren’t being represented in conversations that affected them and weren’t usually given the platform for their ideas and insights.
Since first launching the annual event in 2016 we’ve given a platform to 36 speakers and performers supporting them to build their confidence, develop their message and story, speak publicly and use their experiences to create change. And our relationship didn’t end once they’d left the stage. We’ve continued to work with them and encourage them to realise their goals. Many have gone on to speak more widely from media interviews for Channel 4 News, the BBC, Guardian, Huffington Post, to giving TedTalks, speaking in Parliament, delivering workshops at conferences, one has become a peer researcher and one went on to write a multi-award winning book! We’re very proud of what the event has achieved to date.
We know that Being the Story has also inspired the audience to explore how to share their own powerful stories to influence change. Organisations who work with vulnerable people or on sensitive issues find it even more challenging. Through Being the Story we wanted to demonstrate the power of firsthand storytelling in a supported and safe way and to showcase different creative methods to highlight important issues.
For those unable to attend in person we filmed the talks and made them freely available on our Being the Story YouTube channel which has had over 70,000 views and hundreds of positive comments. We are now piloting a relationship with a larger YouTube channel Goalcast with 1.4 million subscribers who want to give an even bigger platform to our talks.
An event on this scale and ambition needs significant support and funding and although we’ve had commitment from some funders it wasn’t enough to deliver the event in time for October. We didn’t want to cut corners and we wanted the event to continue to be national, so we reached the decision as a team to press pause, reflect on how we make Being the Story as an event and programme more sustainable.
While we press pause on the event, we’ve got other great things in the pipeline. We are just about to launch our pilot spokespersons network which raised £10,600 in crowdfunding. We are proud to say that the Paul Hamlyn Foundation has agreed to match fund it. Next week we’ll be announcing our first cohort and the incredible mentors who are involved in the pilot.
We’re taking Being the Story on the road. In August we’ll be at the Byline Festival an independent news festival running workshops and a mini Being the Story event. If you want to come along let us know as we have a discount code for our network.
We totally believe that an event like Being the Story is needed in the sector and will work hard to build partners together to run it in 2020.
So how can you get involved in the future.
- Commit to becoming a partner in 2020. We already have a commitment from Wellcome Trust and have conversations planned with other funders. Get in touch to find out more about partnering with us.
- Support our Being the Story spokespersons network by donating
- Become a media mentor to one of our network
- Connect us with opportunities for our spokespeople
- Commission us to deliver projects to encourage and support people with lived experience to tell their stories with confidence. Contact us and we can talk about what we can achieve together.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us to develop this work the event and now pilot spokespersons network.
Jude and Helena