Our backstory

Image courtesy of pixabay.com.


On this page we describe how our interest in storytelling has evolved, and how it has shaped the City Stories resource.

Julie’s interest in storytelling came directly from students. Julie was investigating professional identity in healthcare students and the participants on that project talked about the influence of the stories told to them by lecturers about the lecturers’ time in clinical practice. Students explained that these stories helped them to feel hopeful and confident- even when things had not always gone according to plan! Inspired by those students Julie went on to co-create an online resource with students to help lecturers in their storytelling. This included top tips for using storytelling and the stories of individual students and their journeys into healthcare.

Rachael-Anne’s initial interest in storytelling comes from linguistics and Labov’s framework of narrative analysis.  Rachael-Anne was also involved in the early stages of the LUNA project, which is about people with aphasia telling personal stories.  At around the same time, she began to work with stories of student experience to reduce anxiety before phonetics vivas. Realising the effectiveness of stories across so many different contexts, Rachael-Anne was inspired by the Stanford Resilience Project resources to consider how stories could be used to support students with the challenges they face.

In May 2019, Julie and Rachael-Anne presented their work on storytelling with lecturers at the SEDA conference in Belfast.  They met with Richard Beggs, from Ulster, who was presenting his work on digital storytelling with his students.  From this meeting, the embryonic idea that was City Stories was born.