Gainesville’s Community of Storytellers


Last Saturday, Self Narrate hosted STORY:GNV, Gainesville’s first story development conference. Nearly 100 change-makers and storytellers arrived at the United Church of Gainesville, eager to connect and learn from each other. Throughout the morning, 20 presenters ranging from CEOs to Artists to Educators to Entrepreneurs, representing Gainesville three biggest industries – Education, Healthcare and Business – led talks, presentations and panels. The topics were diverse, but all were united in their passion for stories and storytelling. The purpose of the conference was two-fold: to grow Gainesville’s story-focused community, and to learn new story-based techniques for our work.

Connection was key at STORY:GNV. Dr. Jaron Jones set the tone during the opening remarks. Every attendee should “feel empowered to speak to every other person here.” This created a space for openness. Emily Sullivan, the Director of UF Health’s Streetlight indicated that “I have never been to a conference that made it so easy to connect.” One way that attendees connected in a unique way was through Chalk Talks. Chalk Talks are a way to generate answers to questions and collaborate in a new way. We asked our attendees to identify ways that we can write our stories better. Keep an eye out because we are still finding commonalities and connections from our chalk talks and will release the responses in the future.

It was remarkable watching a community form in front of you, and the impact of STORY:GNV will be felt for months to come. We can’t wait for STORY:GNV 2017.