• Narrative Storytelling Initiative

    Narrative Storytelling Initiative

The Narrative Storytelling Initiative is dedicated to expanding the population of knowledgeable narrators and enhancing the quality and scale of their public engagement.

This university-wide effort advocates for the power of narrative and the necessity of compelling writing in multiple forms. This includes coaching faculty and other leaders, developing original research-and-writing projects, building teams to advance knowledge, advising on compelling narratives and storytelling forms, and raising the level of public discourse. The intention is nothing less than cultivating and accelerating the people and projects that are transdisciplinary in scope, transformational in potential, and can produce maximum societal impact.
A Sampling of Projects

Quarterly Writing Workshops
An opportunity for faculty and others to advance their ideas and hone their writing on specific projects geared for wide public audiences. This includes half-day, one-day and two-day workshops.

Transformations is an online magazine of narrative essays written by faculty members and others focused on life-changing experiences and events. The narrative project is a publishing channel within the Los Angeles Review of Books. Read more here about the recent launch and find the site at TransformationNarratives.com.

Voices from the Future
Stories from dozens of survivors of extreme weather events crafted for multiple platforms, including print, digital, video and theatrical. Read from the collection of over 30 stories on the Global Futures Lab pages or the digital package published by The New Republic

Public Events
Periodic events bringing authors and other storytellers to campus to share their insights about the creative process. Next up: An online conversation on Oct. 20 with Lee Gutkind, author of "My Last Eight Thousand Days," hosted by Changing Hands Bookstore. Register here.

Apocalyptic Thinking and Climate Change
A two-year research-and-writing project for 15+ faculty and graduate students in partnership with the Global Futures Laboratory and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. Read about this in Times Higher Education: "Scholars Need to Act with Greater Urgency." Read about the program grant from Luce/ACLS.

Object Lessons
A short book series published by Bloomsbury for which the NSI identifies potential book projects and works with faculty to prepare them to pitch and write. Environment by Rolf Halden was the first book to be published from this partnership--and more to come. 

Rising Waters
A deep-dive narrative work for print and video examining the impact of rising waters and the response by local populations along the U.S. East Coast and beyond.

A research-and-writing project focused on space exploration and the potential of all kinds of exploration to expand our knowledge of what it means to be human.

Books. More Books.
To date, five books have been published or scheduled for publication as a result of initial visioning, development and/or other support of the NSI. More information to come.

Story Contest
Read the winning entries from the "Envisioning the Future" story contest in a beautifully designed publication. Check out the ASU Now story highlighting the process and the results. .    


Initial Faculty Participants
The multi-year work of this burgeoning group ranges from essays and op-eds to books, film and television.

Athena Aktipis
Dept. of Psychology/Biodesign Institute

Gaymon Bennett
School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Lois Brown
Center for the Study of Race and Democracy / Dept. of English

Craig Calhoun
Social Sciences

Wanda Dalla Costa
Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Lindy Elkins-Tanton
School of Earth and Space Exploration

Gary Dirks
Lightworks/Global Futures Laboratory

Rolf Halden
Biodesign Institute

George Justice
Dept. of English

Pardis Mahdavi
School of Social Transformation

Andrew Maynard
School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Katina Michael
School for the Future of Innovation in

Garth Paine
School of Music/Arts, Media and

Ayanna Thompson
Dept. of English

Chris Wharton
College of Health Solutions

Clive Wynne
Dept. of Psychology



Steven Beschloss is the Director of the Narrative Storytelling Initiative. He is Senior Director for Narrative Development with media relations and the President’s Office and Professor of Practice at the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. An award-winning writer, editor and filmmaker, his articles and essays from the U.S. and Europe have been published by The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Smithsonian, The Economist/Economist Intelligence Unit, National Geographic and dozens of other print and online outlets. Beschloss also has authored two recent books, including "Adrift: Charting Our Course Back to a Great Nation" with co-author William Harris, and "The Gunman and His Mother: Lee Harvey Oswald, Marguerite Oswald, and The Making of an Assassin,” which is the basis for a television series currently in development.

Contact: Steven.Beschloss@asu.edu



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