In this course, oral storytellers are invited to explore their repertoire of traditional folktales with a focus on racism, gender and hetero-normativity. Through hands-on exercises, the workshop supports the development of narrative and performing strategies to creatively overcome ethical problems.

As oral storytellers, one of the essential aspects of our practice is the process of selecting, adapting and performing traditional folktales for contemporary audiences. In doing so, we often have to deal with problematic issues such as racism, gender or hetero-normativity. Traditional tales were fixed in writing at a certain point in history. On the one hand, we work with imported imagery when we tell stories from another culture. On the other are confronted with concepts and stereotypes present in our cultural background.

What are you talking about? is a practical-theoretical course aimed at raising awareness and solving the ethical problems which cultural appropriation and the imagery of traditional folktales often present to contemporary sensibilities. We invite professional oral storytellers to embark on a shared journey in which, as a starting point, we will be looking at our positioning and cultural background. From there, we will look into our repertoires, then analyse and work with particular stories we are telling. Through guided exploration and hands-on exercises from storytelling and theatre practice, the work aims to develop narrative and performing strategies to creatively overcome these ethical problems.

The theoretical component of this course addresses topics such as:

  • the historical contextualization of the artistic movements of oral storytelling
  • their contexts and discourses
  • an overview of the approaches and theories in the studies of folktales and oral traditions
  • an outline of the theory of narrative, focusing specifically on oral narration.

Besides, the course offers an introduction to the issues of stereotypes and cultural appropriation with specific relevance to oral storytelling in the context of historical and present-day power structures.

As part of the course, all participants will take part in a final reflection and evaluation of the process.

The course is part of a four-year-long project initiated by The Federation for European Storytellers (FEST) and is aimed at supporting the professional development of young storytellers in Europe. What are you talking about? runs in collaboration with Berlin University of the Arts.

This course is open to professional, oral storytellers up to 33 years of age with priority of applicants under the age of 29. A minimum of three years experience in telling stories is required. (See entry requirements).


01.05.2020 – 05.05.2020



10.00 am – 5.00 pm






EUR 200 (accommodation not included, you can find hotel suggestions HERE)


Min. number of participants: 12

Max. number of participants: 15



  • Good level of English (speaking, reading and writing)
  • Minimum experience of 3 years of telling stories professionally
  • Maximum age of 33 with priority for applicants under the age of 29



  • CV
  • Letter of motivation (max. 1000 words)
  • Overview over personal repertoire: title and type of story (folktale, myth, legend, epic, fable, historic, literary or autobiographical material, etc) and origin of story
  • Overview public performances (date, place / context, target audience)
  • Vimeo / youtube link to a performance (min. 3 minutes, max. 10 minutes)



Berlin Summer University of the Arts
Berlin Career College
Bundesallee 1–12
10719 Berlin



The Federation for European Storytelling offers a grant for the first 10 selected Young Storytellers.

  • this is a REFUND grant for travel and accommodation (max €60/night)
  • max 2 grants/country

When you are selected for a grant this is what we need after the course:

  • Signed and filled in Outstanding Monies form
  • invoice for the course fee, travel and accommodation
  • proof of payment (bankstatement/VISA receipt) for all invoices

If you are a resident of 1 of the following countries you can apply for a 50% refund on the course fee

Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Turkey

More information on the grants: