Sharing Stories Conference

We were delighted to welcome twelve different organisations or individuals and two highly acclaimed speakers to the Rumble Museum's Sharing Stories Conference on Wednesday 9th March. About 160 Year Elevens and Twelves took part in the event which was themed on the transformative power of sharing stories, and the role empathy and compassion can play in building a stronger and more inclusive society.

The event started with a fascinating, informative, evidence-based view on empathy by Roman Krznaric, author of books like the Good Ancestor, and public philosopher. Everyone was together for this opening talk, including staff and workshop leaders, which set up the themes for the whole day. 
After the talk, students split into four different streams, which they had chosen a week beforehand. The streams each looked at the theme of sharing stories from different angles. In the Science and Stories stream, students were able to step inside Science Oxford's Planetarium and think about the importance of stories in a scientific setting, such as the stories humankind has told about the night sky for millenia. Dr Callum Ross, consultant psychiatrist from Broadmoor Hospital spoke to students on issues of consent surrounding patient treatment. Paul Cann OBE ran workshops about the Campaign to End Loneliness, and the importance of connections in a society where many people, and especially those who are elderly, can struggle with loneliness.  
In the Historical Stories stream, Professor Robert Gildea introduced oral stories from the Miners' Strike, and students explored how to do a Life Story interview. Roz Currie and Lottie Tempest-Mountford from Echoes of Holloway Project introduced some of the stories and objects collected as part of this project exploring the stories of people who had spent time in Holloway Prison. Stephen Barker told the fascinating story of Hardit Malik Singh who fought in World War One and became known as the "flying Sikh". 
In the Creating Stories stream, storyteller Ben Haggarty used his storytelling expertise to encourage students to think about telling their own stories. Rana Ibrahim, founder of the Iraqi Women: Art and War project, got students to create artwork based on stories of healing. James Silk from the Story Museum explored stories and introduced the Story Museum's exciting models of storytelling.
Finally in the Objects and Stories stream, Clare Cory and Jane Cockcroft explored the stories behind objects in the Ashmolean. Natty Mark Samuels used objects from the Rumble Museum's collection to tell stories from African folklore. The Empathy Museum brought their incredible Mile in My Shoes shoe shop, where students could try on a pair of shoes, and walk around in them while listening to the story of their owner. 
Mile in My Shoes also stayed for a Drop-in session after the conference had finished, so that students from lower school could also visit the shoe stop and try on the shoes.
After this busy and engaging day of workshops, everyone returned to the hall for a closing talk delivered by Jennifer Nadel on compassion. Jennifer is an author, campaigner and journalist, has practised as a barrister, and co-founded Compassion in Politics. She spoke about how showing compassion can have a transformation effect both in our own and everyone else's lives, and showed examples of how compassionate action had had a really powerful effect on particular people. 
We are enormously grateful to both our speakers, our workshop leaders, staff facilitators, and every student who took part in the day. If you have a story to share, you can do so on the website for the event here. If you have an object to share for our Living Museum Wall, please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.