All great stories happen somewhere – in the vast lands of Middle Earth, foggy urban areas, Oval Offices, boardrooms, kitchens, playgrounds. This sense of place not only anchors a story, but gives it weight, texture, and context.


We usually enter a story through a character that lures or invites us in, but one of the reasons we stay is because the world he/she inhabits is so vivid. In this regard, stories are not just the different and new people that we meet, but also the worlds they inhabit: their apartments, their offices, their cities, their countries.


To convince a reader/listener/viewer to follow you on a story’s journey, to have them reach that elusive state of empathy, to move them, stories must invoke place, and the power it has to determine actions, and even feelings.


At this year’s conference our speakers will tackle the idea of place in a story, the way it is conveyed, depicted, researched, and understood. They will talk about capturing its sounds, photographing it, getting it down in a notebook, or even claiming it as their own. They will discuss entering and leaving a place – whether it belongs to the past or the present –, discovering the people there, finding ways to connect with them, and bringing back a story for the rest of us.


Outside the conference hall, we will try to look at place in interactive moments (such as drawing or photographing a corner of your neighborhood), exhibits (of photographs and illustrations), screenings of audio and video stories and more.