Transformative Narratives Storytelling Crawl Returns for Second Year

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Members of the Georgia Tech community continue to tell their personal stories through the Transformative Narratives initiative – curated sets of visual, oral, and digital storytelling installations.

With support from the Strategic Plan Advisory Group (SPAG), in 2016, Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’s Staff Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement (SDIE) unit set out to engage the campus with storytelling as a driver of inclusion. The Transformative Narratives initiative empowers the campus community by increasing self-awareness, cultural competence, and empathy.

The innovative initiative will host its second storytelling crawl this fall with a seven-event lineup scheduled November 11, 12, and 14, and will feature more than two dozen national and local Atlanta and Georgia Tech storytellers.

“In addition to our 75-story audio collection and 24-portrait traveling collection, we are proud of our live storytelling events, which showcase the array of individuals’ unique identities and common life experiences held by the Tech community,” said Cheryl CofieldTransformative Narratives curator, director of SDIE’s Inclusion and Engagement and co-producer of the storytelling crawl. “Thirteen of these recorded stories are part of our growing collection focusing on mental health,” she added.

Campus storytelling crawl participants will include Stephen McLaughlin, dean of the College of Engineering; Katie Farris (School of Literature, Media, and Communication); Sandy Simpson (Strategic Consulting); Kamau Bobb (College of Computing); Stephanie Ray (Student Life); and the College of Sciences’ Juan Archila, Emma Blanford, and A. Maureen Rouhi, among a host of other Georgia Tech storytellers.

“Our annual crawl provides a concentrated opportunity to experience the power of connection through live storytelling, workshops, and other forms of spoken word,” said Pearl Alexander, executive director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Engagement and crawl co-producer. “These experiences foster community and engagement in one of the oldest and most creative art forms.”

Attendees at the November 11 Story Coaching with the Masters workshop will receive coaching from experts Kathleen Schaag, Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow with the School of Literature, Media, and Communication; Melissa Foulger, artistic director of DramaTech; Shannon Turner, story coach, radio host, and founder and creative director of StoryMuse; and Akbar Imhotep, award-winning storyteller and author of children's stories.

National touring artist Jamie Brickhouse, performance duo In the Spirit, and local artists Sandra Hughes, Maddie Fay, Randy Osborne, and Cola Rum will grace the stage at the Ferst Center for the Arts on November 13.

Through Transformative Narratives, SDIE has also curated two dozen artistically embellished traveling photographic portraits, currently hosted in the College of Engineering’s School of Mechanical Engineering MDRC and MDRC II buildings.

And, there have been a number of campus partners helping to make the storytelling initiative at Tech a reality.

Units such as Ivan Allen College's School of Literature, Media, and Communication, the College of Architecture’s School of Music, and Georgia Tech Professional Education have contributed through music and production assistance, while many faculty and staffers from across the campus have served on the steering committee to guide efforts.

The unit continues to lead the work of excavating, coaching, and publishing stories and seeks additional stories from faculty, staff, and students. Stories may be selected to become part of the Institute’s digital story library and featured in a future exhibit.

To learn more and to register for the Transformative Narratives Storytelling Crawl, visit

This story has been updated to reflect that the storytelling crawl will now host seven events instead of eight.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Courtney Hill
  • Created:11/05/2019
  • Modified By:Courtney Hill
  • Modified:11/11/2019