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ISC’s Vision

Doc McConnell's Medicine Show, credit Fresh Air Photo

We live in a complex age—an era of social, economic, and civic challenges. Although concerned and dedicated individuals, organizations, and government agencies are addressing these challenges, the issues remain daunting.

So, how can the International Storytelling Center help?
How can we imagine—and bring into reality—a new horizon, a new tomorrow?

Storytelling can’t directly feed the hungry, house the homeless, or cure the sick. Yet, we all have the capacity to tap into our stories, our narrative assets, and communicate more effectively.

A well-told story can communicate truth, concept, or idea with immeasurable power. ISC is dedicated to connecting this powerful tool with the voices of individuals, organizations, and communities across the world to help them achieve their goals.

Our vision is a better life, a better world, through the power of storytelling.

To achieve this worthy vision, ISC is advancing the power and possibilities of storytelling and providing people across the world with the knowledge, experiences, and tools to effectively tap into the contemporary applications of this longstanding tradition.

We are inspiring and empowering people worldwide to discover, craft, and share stories that:

  • Enliven and enrich performance—as teller and listener
  • Celebrate personal, community, and cultural heritage through the preservation of stories and story traditions
  • Enhance community services, health and wellness, and education through the professional practice of storytelling.

During the coming months and years, ISC will expand program offerings to provide the knowledge, experiences, and tools of storytelling to help people around the world tap into the power of this ancient tradition, pursue passions, and realize potential—in the lives of individuals, in communities, and cultures. 

The International Storytelling Center is dedicated to inspiring and empowering people across the world to tell their stories, renew their storytelling traditions, and tap into the power of storytelling to build a better life and a better world.

Our Values

  • We believe in integrity, open-mindedness, transparency and acting responsibly
  • We respect all visitors, storytellers, supporters and our international communities as equally as we respect ourselves.
  • We are committed to excellence in everything we do.

ISC is pursuing three program strategies to achieve the new vision:


Through a global advocacy campaign, ISC is:

  • Promoting the possibilities of storytelling
  • Creating awareness of and appreciation for storytelling
  • Building credibility for this longstanding tradition
  • Expanding storytelling audiences

As a result of these grassroots efforts, more and more individuals, organizations, and communities across the globe are discovering, crafting, and sharing their stories.


Through a global learning program, ISC will provide a series of innovative, educational opportunities to teach the power of storytelling. Through this program, ISC introduces the power of storytelling, serves as a connecting point for a community of learners, and provides a resource for learning the creative applications of storytelling.

The learning program will include online courses, subscriptions to educational services, and a series of symposia and mini-conferences under the banner of the Horizon Global Forum—all fueled by research, study groups, and pilot projects.


A worldwide beacon and a center of excellence for storytelling, ISC’s campus is located in Jonesborough—the small Tennessee town that gave birth to the world’s storytelling renaissance. Known affectionately as the storytelling capital of the world, Jonesborough and our campus are providing expanded, on-site opportunities to experience the power and potential of storytelling.

Jonesborough-based activities now include the National Storytelling Festival and Storytelling Live!, ISC’s teller-in-residence program. In the future, a series of visitor experiences showcasing storytelling will also be added to ISC’s Center offerings for visitors.