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Circles of Engagement: Why Do We Need Stories?

Circles of Engagement: Why Do We Need Stories?

Storytelling is part of every human society. But what are stories for? Are we somehow “hard wired” for narrative? Can stories do harm? How do we use stories to influence beliefs, spark action, and make sense of the world?

We're excited to host our second Circles of Engagement dialogue on Thursday, October 24. If you enjoy wide-ranging discussions about philosophy, science, art, and culture, come check out this exciting program!

How Will This Work?

We've selected a small group of ordinary people to sit down with a facilitator for a 90-minute public conversation about the question, "Why do we need stories?" Following St. John’s College seminar rules, this will be a lively, but open-ended dialogue among non-experts coming together to grapple with big, profound human questions.

Surrounding the dialogue circle, chairs will be available for museum visitors to observe, listen, and join in their own “backchannel” discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #explocircles. Large monitors in the room will display a live Twitter feed, so participants in and outside the small circle (as well as beyond the walls of the museum) can see and respond to the backchannel discussion. Cards will also be available for visitors to write comments and questions, so these multiple conversations can bleed into, influence, and build on one another.

There won’t be any experts lecturing from a podium; instead, you and your fellow museum goers—in conversation with one another, in person and via Twitter—will be the featured attraction. No experience or past knowledge is required; all you need is a sense of wonder, openness, curiosity, and an interest in exploring fundamental questions about the human experience.

How Can I Participate?

Participants in the main dialogue have already been chosen, but we encourage you to come observe and listen to the conversation. You can join in the Twitter discussion by following #explocircles.

This program is for adults only, and is part of the Bay Area Science Festival kick-off event taking place at the Exploratorium the evening of October 24th. Museum admission is required.

Circles of Engagement is an Exploratorium collaboration with the upcoming radio series The Really Big Questions.


Storytelling Homework (PDF)