Story Wise Working Women

Women's Stories Need to Be Told

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Story Wise Working Women is a place for women to be heard and bear witness, be moved and connected, make meaning and laugh. It is a new Story Wise initiative, a daytime sister to Story Wise Women. The first session is 22 June, 2018.

Once a month, on a Friday lunchtime, in downtown Melbourne (opposite the Vic Market) women come together to share and listen to stories - their stories.  

The stories are funny and light hearted, painful and sad, uplifting and moving. The atmosphere is affirming, encouraging, accepting and warm.

We leave full to the brim with the knowledge that we have participated in an ancient ritual that is modern and timeless. We leave knowing in our bones that we are not alone. 

Once a month, on a Friday lunchtime - June to November, 2018. 

12.30 pm for 12.45pm. We'll be done by 2.15pm. 

Come alone or bring a friend.  Bring your lunch & settle in. 

This is an open opportunity for 6 - 8 women to tell a 5 - 10 minute true story - no notes, it happened to you, and for the rest of us to listen.  There is no obligation to tell a story, listeners are needed just as much as tellers.  The sessions are themed, see below for the current month's theme.

Dates in 2018:  22 June,  20 July,  17 August, 21 September, 19 October, and 16 November. 


The Purple Room,

Multicultural Hub,

506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

Melbourne Multicultural Hub

Women need places where their voices can be practised and strengthened, women need places where their hearts can be held and nourished, women need places where they can laugh and connect.

Women's experiences are different, how we see the world, how we are treated in the world, how we make sense of the world are unique and diverse. 

Women's stories need to be shared, explored, celebrated and felt. Women's voices need places where they can be practised and strengthened, women's hearts need places to be held and nourished, women's souls need places to laugh and connect.  

Storytelling enables us to make sense of our lives in a way that brings peace and hope to the events that have shaped us, as we then shape the events into a story. When we share a story, as part gift, part message, we learn and affirm who we are and what we believe, and we come know ourselves in a deeper way. 

Story Wise Working Women Themes

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Each session has a theme, themes are meant as prompts, guides, helpful for those of us stuck, not to restrict or stump you. Feel free to be creative and think outside the box, feel free to wander to a story that you feel drawn to tell, whether on theme or not.  

(Hint: the themes are the same for both 'Story Wise Women' events. Feel free to tell the same story at both, you'll be surprised how much you learn and develop your storytelling as a result or telling the story twice.)

Here are the themes for 2018:

June 22, 2018 Theme: Ancestors

In this month of the Winter Solstice, tell us about your elders, your ancients, your skeletons; the family jewels, family traits, family mysteries and secrets.  Share your genealogy, the legacies and inheritance from the endless line of forbears that make you who you are.  Tell us how you honour them, escape them, own them, laugh at, forgive and claim them as your lineage.

July 20, 2018  Theme: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Tell us a story about the wrong tree, the dead end, the wrong idea.  Tell us about a time you were way off the mark, when you totally misunderstood, misrepresented or misheard, or someone did this to you. Tell us about the suspicions and unfounded conclusions, mistaken identity or chasing the wrong cat.

 August 17, 2018 Theme: Tears

Tell us about a time the tears came, unbidden, unwanted, unexpected, or perhaps a story of when you were so overjoyed, your cup runneth over and your eyes spilled saltwater. A time you swallowed hard, or howled in anguish, when the dam burst and you couldn’t stop, of being spent, washed clean, exhausted, renewed or released. Tell us about a time someone else cried and you comforted, or cried too or turned away. Tell us when your heart burst with love and you teared up with emotion, or when wave just hit, for no reason at all.

September 21, 2018  Theme: Football

Tell us a story about football - playing, yearning, kicking and running,  watching, waiting, hating or avoiding. Tell us about discovering, not understanding, loving and loathing, culture or cringe. The oval or round ball, the oval or rectangular ground, the sexism, exclusion, and invisibility. The barracking, the crushes, the colours and the club.  How it played out, or not, at home, in your family, in the school yard or the street. Or tell us a story of not-football.

October 19,  2018 Theme: Tricks

Prepare a story about a trick you played or that was played on you, a trick your dog or pet kangaroo could do or about something, or a time that was tricky, difficult, needing skill and attention. Tell us about when you could or couldn't turn trick, a tricky character, or when you were tricked into it.

November 16, 2018 ThemeMoney

Prepare a story about dough; not enough of it, too much of it, spending it, stealing it, losing it, finding it, earning it.  Tell us about the secrets, the awkwardness, the embarrassment.  A windfall, a sudden loss, the wrong change or the black market.  Prepare a story about betting, stealing, giving, begging or wishing.    Tell us how all that glitters is not gold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to tell a story? 

No there is never any obligation or even pressure to tell a story, but there is always an open and encouraging invitation.  And often tellers find they come with no intention of telling a story but after hearing several stories and feeling safe and inspired, they step up and have a go.

Is there a theme?  

Yes there is, but the theme is meant to inspire, not to retrict, so feel free to be creative, think outside the box and if there is a story inside you, calling to be told, don't worry if its not on theme, tell it anyway.

How do I tell a story?  

Here are some tips for telling a story:

1. Go some where with your story, aim for a climax or a twist. 
2. Think about the structure and emotional impact of the story. 
3. If it’s appropriate, give the characters a voice, be dramatic
4. Think about your delivery: suspense and drama., and about how you end your story – try to end with resolution, making sense of the events. 
5. Practice your story on the dog, cat, chooks … on who/whatever. 
6. Time your story
7. Think about your audience – take them for a ride.

Also check out the blog posts on Story Wise for more tips and ideas, or sign up and receive the Story Wise Seven Step Story Crafting worksheet.

Why tell a story?  

Taking events from our life and crafting them into a story that is part gift, part message, helps us understand ourselves better, know who we are and where we have come from.  It helps us bring peace to experiences in order that we may tell them to an audience with resolution. It also connects us to our audience and allows us to share our we make sense of this world and our life. It is great gift to those listening, to be taken on a journey and to see behind the mask of the person telling. 

Who runs Story Wise Women?  

Story Wise Women is run by Kate Lawrence from Story Wise. Kate is a storyteller with a passion and purpose for personal storytelling. She is an experienced and trained facilitator, teacher and storytelling coach, with sense of fun. She has a deep and abiding faith in human stories and never tires of hearing them. She takes her craft seriously and as well as telling and teaching, she regularly reads, reflects and writes about storytelling. Kate is particularly good at creating safe and respectful spaces for people to explore their stories.  Kate has delivered storytelling workshops at the Williamstown Literary Festival and the NSW International Storytelling Conference.  You can read more about Kate here.

Are there any rules for telling?  

Here are the guidelines for storytellers:

1. Stories must be true, personal stories i.e. they happened to you the teller. 
2. Stories must be told without notes and no longer than 8 minutes. 
3. Let kind hearts and common sense prevail - sexist, racist, misogynist and homophobic stories hurt people. Stories should also not be used to put anyone down, to take revenge or to embarrass anyone else.  
4. Stories are recorded as audio with the aim of publishing them on a podcast, but this is only done with a tellers permission, which will be given or not, on the evening. 
5. Photos will also be taken, to help promote the next event, but will only be used if there is no objection from audience or tellers. 

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