Initiatives

As our changing world constantly presents new ways to craft and share stories, as an organization, we’re excited by these possibilities. The mission of the International Storytelling Center has always been to enrich lives through story, through arts and the oral tradition of storytelling. Our new vision, A Story in Progress was born of a strategic planning session with our board, but it’s been more than 40 years in the making. 

It’s time to expand our programmatic reach,  as we focus on our key strategic steps to Innovate, Engage, Grow, Connect, Educate, and Communicate.  We invite you to explore our initiatives and to join us as we build a better world through the power of storytelling 

Learning Library

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.

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Young Appalachian Story Summit

The Young Appalachian Storytelling Summit is a young adult-led event that focuses on a critical issue: how young professionals can use storytelling as a leadership tool to create Appalachia’s future. Summit participants have the opportunity to hear from diverse voices within Appalachia; to understand how storytelling can help them take action in their own communities; and to join a network of like-minded young Appalachians to collaborate with beyond the event. The August 14, 2021 Summit, Crossroads, will focus on the intersections of who we are and how we engage our voices with the wider community. 

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Young Appalachian Story Summit

Shero’s Journey

Shero’s Journey is part of our Stories for Change programming, a series of youth initiatives from the International Storytelling Center. Studies measuring self-confidence show that during pivotal tween years, a girl’s confidence and self-esteem take a major dip, more so than male peers her age, and that the dip is more likely to last into adulthood. This program aims to combat that dip and help girls feel more confident and capable. 

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Freedom Stories

Freedom Stories: Unearthing the Black Heritage of Appalachia is an ongoing series that marries performance and discussion, connecting prominent Black storytellers, humanities scholars, and community leaders with the public to trace this rich history and highlight the role that face-to-face storytelling has played in both African and Appalachian experience—from the first African arrivals in these mountains, to the shaping of a distinct culture, to the ongoing struggles for freedom and equality. This project is funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities.

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Meet Our Partners

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The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

Fahe is on a mission to build the American Dream.

Working with our Network of 50+ nonprofits across the Appalachian portion of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Alabama, and Maryland, we use our expertise in finance, collaboration, innovation, advocacy, and communication to achieve a more prosperous Appalachian region.  With a focus on leadership, housing, education, health and social services, and economic opportunity, Fahe empowers the people and communities of Appalachia with the resources, opportunities, and tools needed to build a better life.  Our strength in numbers creates positive change in Appalachia, one of the poorest and most difficult regions of the country to serve.

ISC has partnered with Ballad Health’s newest hospital. Unicoi County Hospital is not just a place for high quality care to treat illness, but is also a community center that fosters and encourages wellness. From storytelling-related elements embedded into the design, to community storytelling events and health literacy workshops, to specially story trained staff, Ballad is leading the charge of applied storytelling in healthcare for their patients and surrounding community.

The Niswonger Foundation was established in 2001 to make a positive and sustainable difference in education in Northeast Tennessee.

The mission of the Niswonger Foundation is to create opportunities for individual and community growth through education and other sustainable projects.

East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) is a public charity and community foundation created by and for the people of East Tennessee, where many donors join together to make the region they love a better place, today and for future generations. ETF, like other community foundations, operates as a collection of hundreds of distinct charitable funds and supporting foundations established by individuals, families, businesses, and other nonprofits. Through our work a wide variety of philanthropic objectives are achieved.

The Tennessee Arts Commission was created in 1967 by the Tennessee General Assembly with the special mandate to stimulate and encourage the presentation of the visual, literary, music and performing arts and to encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of Tennessee. 

The mission of the Tennessee Arts Commission is to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities. Our vision is a Tennessee where the arts inspire, connect and enhance everyday lives.

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