By Ine Mariel Solbakken

During the Easter Holidays, Confluence The World - Team Norway travelled to Scotland on our first Confluence residency of 2019. Unfortunately, our whole team was not able to travel this time, but five girls from Norway came to Scotland, exited to explore the history and people from the land of lochs and legends. StorySquad is a storytelling group from Norway that consists of four young storytellers; Synne Marie Lillenes, Thea Madelén Petersen, Suzanne Øfjord and Ine Mariel Solbakken. Luckily our amazing photographer Tonje Gulbæk Barstad was able to join us as well. Team Norway is still growing, and we have now expanded to three photographers and a storytelling apprentice!

StorySquad  Image © Houssain Belabbes


Image © Houssain Belabbes

Tonje Gulbaek Barstad, Photographer  Image © Houssain Belabbes

Tonje Gulbaek Barstad, Photographer

Image © Houssain Belabbes

During our stay we learned that people actually do live in castles! We experienced being guarded by a real Knight and that travelling in a big van is not too bad when you fill it with great people. We adored the landscape and learned that it’s not too different from our own forests and ocean view. Maybe that’s why the Vikings loved this country so much, because they felt at home? I cannot blame them, because so did we! And last but not least, the most important thing; we ate haggis and it was delicious.

During our residencies with Confluence, we always try to create events to pay it forward; connecting cultures, and our time in Scotland was no different. We hosted three performances telling Norwegian folktales; one at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh and two in Dumfries and Galloway (one at CatStrand and one at The Oven). We also hosted two workshops in Storytelling. At CatStrand we were with a great group of people from the ages of 10 to 60. We worked with what I like to call the famous “fantasy muscle” to expand our imagination. It’s what I believe to be one of the most important gifts we have as storytellers; our imagination. And our “fantasy muscle” needs to work to grow bigger and better just as our abs and biceps. We also worked on defining what we need to make a story work, voice and body language and we then told stories to each other. It was a great new beginners workshop and we learned a lot from each other.

CatStrand Workshop  Image © Tonje Gulbaek Barstad

CatStrand Workshop

Image © Tonje Gulbaek Barstad

Our second workshop took place at The Stove in Dumfries, before our opening night at the Pop-Up Exhibition at The Oven. This was a workshop for a small group of adults that wanted to learn more about storytelling. During this workshop we went to a deeper level as we had many good conversations about storytelling, the meaning, the background, what is important and why. Reflecting about our art is just as important as practicing it. As the educational reformer John Dewey says: “Learning by doing – and reflection”. And that’s what is important.

Storytelling is about more than tradition and paying forward the oral form. Storytelling is about the art of life and surviving. People have told stories for as long as human kind has walked this Earth. Stories for sharing, knowledge, entertainment, in good days and bad, crisis and war. Let’s never stop this beautiful way of connecting lives and cultures.

Workshop at CatStrand  Image © Tonje Gulbaek Barstad

Workshop at CatStrand

Image © Tonje Gulbaek Barstad

Workshop at the Stove  Image © Tonje Gulbaek Barstad

Workshop at the Stove

Image © Tonje Gulbaek Barstad