The Sydney Story Factory is a not-for-profit creative writing centre for marginalised young people aged 7 to 17 in Redfern, Sydney. It runs a wide range of writing and storytelling programs, on everything from poetry to podcasts, which are designed to help young people improve their communication skills, explore their creativity and find their voice. Co-founder and executive director Catherine Keenan will share some of the wonderful stories written by students in these programs, and explore how they have convinced her that storytelling is a fundamental part of being human. Through examples and theory, she will also examine the power of stories to develop young people’s confidence and sense of self-efficacy. The talk will conclude with thoughts on how teachers can incorporate some of the lessons learnt at the Story Factory into their own classroom practice.
Catherine Keenan is co-founder and executive director of the Sydney Story Factory. Established in Redfern, Sydney, in 2012, the Sydney Story Factory runs free creative writing and storytelling programs targeted at marginalised young people. Under the guidance of an expert storytelling team, a corps of 900 volunteers work with students one-on-one or in small groups to teach them writing skills, cultivate their creativity and help them find their own voice. Prior to this, Catherine worked for 12 years as an arts writer and literary editor at The Sydney Morning Herald. Catherine holds a doctorate in English Literature from Oxford University, and is an honorary associate in the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. She is also the 2016 Australian of the Year Local Hero.