line decor
line decor

Once upon a time there originated…Storytelling 4703!

Some might find it unusual to offer a course in storytelling, but its instructor says it provides valuable blending of two disciplines – and it has grown in popularity over the eight years it has been offered.

“It is an arts-based course, as well as an academics based course. It is a very, very good fit to teach academics and the arts together, there is no reason that they should be at odds,” instructor Caren Neile said.

The course is a part of a larger program called The South Florida Storytelling Project. Students not only learn the methodology of storytelling, but they engage in exercises to make them more comfortable making presentations and alleviating performance anxiety.

“The class changed what I knew about professional storytellers and taught me the far-reaching effects that storytelling has on us,” said senior Katie Arvidson, a public communication major.

The art of storytelling involves a person actually gets in front of people, making eye contact and weaving a tale.

“Storytelling means many things to many people. For professional storytellers it means an activity that includes five elements: words, interaction, narrative, imagination and nonverbal behavior,” Neile said.

Being a professional storyteller, Neile has done work in television news, writing, acting, and, of course, teaching.

She's also passionate about what she does. This was evident when she went to Susan Reilly, director of the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies, and suggested incorporating a storytelling course in the FAU curriculum. Reilly liked the idea, and the rest is history.

“I taught at Virginia Tech University, where we has had a very popular storytelling course. I thought it could become very popular at FAU because of the cultural diversity of the students,” Reilly said.

“People sometimes think that storytelling is only for children, but when they hear the storytellers that Dr. Neile brings to campus, they realize it is truly a performance art,” Reilly said.

Hosting a ton of events within the community, Neile, who carries the title of artist- in-residence, helps to make storytelling a universal art for all people to enjoy.

“I would definitely recommend the course to others because it helped me to be comfortable sharing my story in front of my peers and members of the community,” senior Samantha Andrews, an English major, said.

Neile also helps her students with service learning projects that help them interact with the community through storytelling. Telling stories for the vision-impaired is one example, she said.

Neile also hosts an event called VOX: A Storytelling Slam, which usually is held monthly on Saturday nights. It is an opportunity for people to let their stories be heard and win prizes at the same time. The event is mandatory for students taking the course.

“I would describe the course as interesting. It definitely changed my perception on storytelling, informing me of just how important it can be,” senior film major Wilkine Brutus said.

Those interested in the course, storytelling events and internships, can contact Neile by email at cneile@fau.edu by calling 561-297-0042.




Iguanas take up residence at Florida Atlantic University

Students with disabilities pursue the arts at Florida Atlantic University

“No barriers will stop this aspiring physician

Jaffe Center for Book Arts imprints a picture of world events

Once upon a time there originated…Storytelling 4703!

Rock 'n' roll: The best thing to bang your head to at FAU

New course serves up a taste of Italy through its music

Professor Jeffrey Morton a Lifelong Learning Society star

Museum education program brings schoolchildren closer to art

FAU music professor guides students to success in the industry

Creating peace one mind at a time

Film program Sociocinema targets sociological issues

Harbor Branch's Ocean Discovery Center a wondrous adventure

Harbor Branch researcher examines stresses on coral reefs

"You got Owled” brings laughs to FAU

Older couples at FAU: through thick and thin

Jacobo Goldstein: Helping to remember