In Praise of Narrative across the wider world of research and practice

story telling 2

During the four plus years of our developing commitment to story-telling within youth work we have done so in splendid isolation. None of us close to our grass-roots project has been conscious of a wider world of research and practice, within which narrative is highly treasured. As I noted in the post, Anecdote and Story : Real and Pertinent Evidence, it is our discovery of Cath Sharp’s thoughts that has opened the sash on a diversity of story-based initiatives. Below you will find a couple of links that we would encourage you to explore. More to follow.


Produced by the Space Unlimited  group this pack of 10 stories, illuminated by an outline of the process via which the material has been collected, is striking in its similarity to our approach.

Space Unlimited has pioneered youth-led
enquiry as a catalyst to generate fresh
insights and trigger new action. Young
people see things differently, explore
problems imaginatively and aren’t afraid
to say what they think. Over the years, we
have supported groups of young people
to collaborate directly with statutory
and voluntary organisations and to share
responsibility for improving the places
in which they live and work. Stories have
become an integral part of our work.
Participants in our projects often use
stories to illustrate the way that better
relationships and different roles make
a real difference in our capacity to
transform our places. Stories are also a
key part of our approach to evaluation,
helping us to check whether and how we
are meeting our outcomes.


We’ve only just begun to explore ourselves the range of material to be found on this Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services site [IRISS]. And we are certainly getting in touch with these folk.

Welcome to Storybank from IRISS. We’ve developed this resource to support people involved in all aspects of health and social care to understand the potential benefits of storytelling, and to understand, gather and use stories where appropriate. Throughout, we are using the term ‘stories’ to refer to true, autobiographical descriptions of experiences and perceptions.

Storybank includes a range of resources, including:

  • An IRISS Insight which assesses the evidence around storytelling in health and social care
  • Links to a number of guides to storytelling to assist people who wish to gather or use stories
  • Links to existing single and collected stories, which have been categorised to help people to explore those most relevant to their field

Storybank is intended as a living resource, so please get in touch if you would like us to add any guides or stories. 


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