International Centre for Arts and Narrative (ICAN)

Welcome

Welcome to the International Centre for Arts and Narrative (ICAN), a collaboration between York St John University and York Theatre Royal.  Since 2012, ICAN has investigated the role of storytelling and narrative in people’s lives through practice-led research projects.  Our work has directly involved over 1500 members of the local community, from young children to senior academics – and reached a much wider national and international audience through our dissemination.

Some of our most significant achievements include:

  • Facilitating 41 multi-artform storytelling workshops for community and school groups of all ages, giving them the opportunity to work with skilled artists to create their own responses to folktales and myths, in 2014-2015.
  • Hosting a series of eleven lively and provocative studio talks on how narrative intersects with different aspects of our lives, from democracy to food, childhood to adolescence, mental health to prisons, in 2012-2015.
  • Conducting in-depth, long-term practice research into storytelling with adolescents, through a Collaborative Doctoral Award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), 2013-2017.
  • Organising ‘Storyknowing’, a symposium and festival of storytelling with young people, bringing 120 researchers, practitioners, and young people together in dialogue, in April 2016.
  • Disseminating our research at the AHRC’s ‘Common Ground’ event in June 2016.
  • Publishing original research into our participatory approach to storytelling in the journal Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance in November 2016.
  • Being chosen as runner-up in the ‘Best Cultural Partnership’ category of the York Culture Awards, 2016. The letter informing us of the award can be read here. Insert ‘finalist letter’.
  • Bringing our participatory storytelling approach to York Explore and other settings (ICAN@...) to engage a wide variety of groups in dialogue and experimentation with story through different artforms.