All posts tagged: new stories

On stories which change the world

In Darwin, Australia in May of this year the World Indigenous Network held a conference. It brought together 1400 indigenous leaders from around the world to explore ways of standing up to the ongoing industrialisation of indigenous lands around the planet. One of the delegates and speakers was a Canadian called Eric Young, who gave a keynote speech about a story entitled The Magic Canoe (see below for the story) as a metaphor for social transformation. Eric Young is a kind of social change pioneer; he was one of a small circle of people who were associated in the 1990s with efforts by the Haisla First Nation and Ecotrust to protect the Kitlope, a large area of old-growth forest in northern British Columbia. He initiated one of the world’s first social innovation think-tanks a number of years ago and was recently appointed a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University and is currently developing a new vehicle for social change known as The Boldness Project. Here, in a recent article about The Magic Canoe, is what …

Martin Shaw on why we can’t just throw out the old stories while searching for the new

My first posts on this blog at the beginning of last year related to my concerns about increasing numbers of calls by various groups and individuals around the world for ‘new stories’. Don’t misunderstand: those calls for new stories sprang from an important place: the notion that the stories which we tell ourselves about our current ways of living need to be replaced with something more authentic, wild and free. Absolutely. But there are two other ideas that are often smuggled into those calls for new stories: (1) the notion that you can change the entire meta-narrative of a culture from top-down (which I blogged about at some length here: and (2) the idea that our old myths and stories – especially our old European myths and stories – are outworn and outdated and no longer have relevance in any conception of a new and better future. Having worked with precisely those myths and stories for many many years now, I’ve seen their power and believe that throwing them away would be both tragic …

A conversation on transformative stories, place and belonging

It’s been a while since I found the time to post another article here – the ongoing challenges of keeping up with EarthLines, working the croft, being grounded for a month by a broken wrist … but more is on the way. In the meantime, you might like to take a look at this long conversation I’ve been having with Jeppe Dyrendom Graugaard on transforming stories, place and belonging. It picks up on and expands many of the themes I’ve developed here and elsewhere. (This is one of a series of such conversations on Jeppe’s website – I can recommend checking them out. He’s working on a PhD at the University of East Anglia, and you’ll find many interesting pathways to meander down on the site.)