Reflections on The Story Conference 2019

Celebrating its 10 year anniversary, the Story Conference reconvened for the fifth time returning to its origins at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. Running November 27-29th 2019 it was an enriching experience. (Click here to read some participants 6 word stories reflecting on the conference.)

The theme of the conference was Work-Health and Well-being, and following a rich Opening welcome address to the conference with contributions from Bob Dick and Christine Carlton  – we saw a really rich and diverse collection of workshop presenters (national and international!) sharing on the many different ways that we can work with story and narratives and how they impact our lives. As shared by one of our conference attendees:

“This was a brilliant, stimulating smorgasbord of inspiring people, all passionate about transformational possibilities and the power of story. A great experience for head and heart!” –Suzanne Walshe


“The Story Conference is much more than how stories can influence our perceptions, but it’s also a place to connect with knowledgeable peers from cross industries while gaining skills which can be used on ourselves and others.” – Ivan Chew

It was great to see the relationship building power of story working, both during the conference, but also keeping together old bonds formed 10 years ago at the inception of the conference series as well. Nicely reflected too by another conference participant:

“The Story Conference was one of the most collegial conferences I have attended and I came away with not only a wealth of new knowledge about the use of story in work, health and wellbeing, but also a wonderful group of new friends.” – Leanne Dodd



Melbourne Playback Theatre have been one of my favourite parts of all the Story Conferences, and they didn’t disappoint again in helping to bring the conference to a close through the power of interactive playback storytelling. As one participant shares, there was a nice balance of reflection and excitement throughout not only the closing performance but also the Story conference as a whole.

“The energy and atmosphere were electric in times of high excitement the then there were times of quiet reflection and the venue accommodated for all activities with grace and practicality. Loved the venue.” – Chris Latimer

The combination of these elements help to bring about a unique spirit that is part of The Story Conferences. “There is a spirit about The Story Conferences, optimistic, giving and communal.” – Simon Kneebone


All in all, it was an inspiring way to finish off 2019. Such a successful conference couldn’t happen without a great team behind it, so a big thank you to Daryl, Russel, Simon, Jo, Cathryn, Todd, Annie, Russell, Andrew and Sascha!

“The Story Conference is a great chance to sample a diverse range of story skills from telling to creating and owning.  The time to review your own story and to learn how other people include story in their work, from a variety of industries was inspiring and insightful.” –Cherelle Whitney

So what next?

Well, one of the exciting outcomes will see the work begin on 2 new books emerging from the conference. Interested? Check-out our call for contributors here. The next Story Conference will be once we’ve completed these. 😉 (Which will of course – provide another marvellous opportunity to connect, collaborate, explore and have a pic taken together like this one with all our The Story Cookbook co-contributors!)

Until then, I’ll look forward to seeing what will emerge from this unique and intimate community of practice.

“This conference helps to foster the use of stories to give voice to people’s experiences. It is an intimate community of practice.” – Geof Hill

| January 16th, 2020 | Posted in Uncategorized |

Leave a Reply