Tuesday, January 10, 2017, in Merrick Hall

As we seek to create new narratives, how can we engage deeply with our audiences? Some mediums encourage audience input explicitly, like conversations, public forums, or video games. Others, like books or movies, ask the audience to suspend their personal experience temporarily and to step into a new context that they can take with them.

And then there are mediums like painting or dancing that offer a variety of choices: stay and engage, consider from a distance, or let it remain in the background.  

Come learn from speakers from a variety of fields sharing how they create stories that encourage deep engagement and promote new perspectives!

RSVP to Panel Discussion

View our graduate programs if you'd like to learn more about Goucher College's graduate-level offerings. We are currently accepting applications for the Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 semesters; apply now!


Conference Schedule


8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Choice or Expectation: You Pick

Create excitement by building expectations...and then subverting them. Engage an audience by providing choices...but not too many.

Michael Scott-Nelson Goucher College

Michael Scott-Nelson

Michael Scott-Nelson is a multimedia performer and artist with interests in media theory, human interface design, and generative art. His sound and music applications enable composers to effortlessly extend their sonic palette and engage students of music theory, while his web applications and games encourage playful curiosity. His acoustic ensemble music is performed worldwide, and his improvisatory multi-instrumental performances and interactive installations have been featured on stages and museums across the country. Michael received his Master's from Peabody Conservatory and his Doctorate from the University of Kansas and is currently the Academic Directorof the Digital Arts graduate programs at Goucher College.

What is the Story Behind Your Elevator Speech?

Using interactive activities, we will explore the experiences that motivate your work and help you craft that narrative into a concise and meaningful "Elevator speech."

Ian Fisk Goucher College

Ian Fisk

Ian Fisk (ian.fisk@mentorcapitalnet.org) leads the Mentor Capital Network -- a group of more than 1,000 individuals who have built, managed, invested in, or studied social enterprises. In that capacity he has supported hundreds of up-and-running companies that are changing the way the world does business. He has worked to build the field of social entrepreneurship through Net Impact, SVN, The Impact Accelerator Network and many other organizations to encourage those supporting impact entrepreneurs to learn from each other. His previous roles include CEO of ITF Consulting, Inc., Director of Projects for Wall Street Without Walls, co-designer of the AmeriCorps*VISTA Entrepreneur Corps, and the internet coordinator for a U.S. Presidential Campaign. Mr. Fisk also worked with Public Allies, City Year, KaBOOM!, Youth Service America, and the Corporation for National Service. He founded DC’s Community Tool Chest, and was a charter organizer of Hands On DC, an annual volunteer work-a-thon for the D.C. public schools. He has helped to found more than a dozen enterprises, some for-profit, some non-profit, and some non-profit on purpose. Seven of those ventures lasted for at least a decade. Mr. Fisk has an MBA from the Yale School of Management, where he was selected by his professors as a super-tutor. He teaches improvisation and storytelling for entrepreneurs.

Amy Skillman Goucher College

Amy Skillman

Amy Skillman works at the intersection of culture and tension, where paying attention to culture can serve to mediate social change. She advises artists and community-based organizations on the implementation of programs that honor and conserve cultural traditions, guides them to potential resources, and develops programs to help build their capacity to sustain these initiatives. Her work has included an oral history/leadership empowerment initiative with immigrant and refugee women in Central Pennsylvania, a Grammy-nominated recording of Old Time fiddlers in Missouri, and a year-long arts residency with alternative education high school students rooted in the ethnography of their lives. Skillman recently curated a major traveling exhibition that examines the role of folk arts as a catalyst for activism in communities throughout Pennsylvania. She received her Master's degree in Folklore and Folklife from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Bachelor of Arts from St. Lawrence University in a self-designed major in Cultural Minorities and the Immigrant Experience.


Break for Lunch at Stimson Hall


2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


Message in Memoir

Using excerpts from his forthcoming memoir Heavy, Laymon will discuss the craft of writing a personal story about one topic in order to access deeper societal issues.

Kiese Laymon Goucher College

Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon is a black southern writer, born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon attended Millsaps College and Jackson State University before graduating from Oberlin College. He earned an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University and is currently an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College and the Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for 2015-2016. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Laymon has written essays, stories and reviews for numerous publications including Esquire, ESPN the Magazine, Colorlines, NPR, The Los Angeles Times, PEN Journal, Oxford American, The Best American Series, and Guernica. He is a currently a columnist at The Guardian. Long Division was named one of the Best of 2013 by Buzzfeed, The Believer, Salon, Guernica, Contemporary Literature, Mosaic Magazine, Library Journal, Chicago Tribune and the Crunk Feminist Collective. It was also short-listed for the Believer Book Award, the Ernest Gaines Award and the Morning News Tournament of Books. Long Division won the 2014 Saroyan International Writing Award on November 10th. Three essays in How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America have been included in the Best American series, the Best of Net award, and the Atlantic's Best Essays of 2013. He was selected a member of the Root 100 in 2013 and 2014 and Ebony Magazine Power 100 in 2015. Kiese Laymon has three books forthcoming, including a UK edition of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others with Bloomsbury in February 2016, as well as a memoir called Heavy which will be released in 2016 and the novel called And So On which can be expected in the Spring of 2017, both from Scribner.

Only Connect: The Power of True, Personal Storytelling

How can you move from exploring your own stories to telling them - or to branching out into larger issues.

Laura Wexler Goucher College

Laura Wexler

Laura Wexler is a Baltimore-based writer and producer, and a fellow in the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media at Johns Hopkins University, where she is developing a virtual reality thriller based on the true story of the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill abduction case. Writing credits include PANDORA’S BOX, a one-hour drama pilot sold to Amazon Studios; the narrative nonfiction book, Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America (Scribner); and journalism published in The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, and elsewhere. Producing credits include The Stoop Storytelling Series, a popular Baltimore-based live show and podcast featuring “ordinary” people telling the extraordinary true tales of their lives.


Break for Dinner at Stimson Hall


7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m., Reception to Follow


Story Circle: Perspectives on Interactive Storytelling

A panel discussion with writer and producer Laura Wexler, documentary filmmaker Barry Dornfeld, and physician Ben Oldfield.

Barry Dornfeld Goucher College

Barry Dornfeld

Barry Dornfeld is a management consultant, documentary filmmaker, media researcher, and educator. His documentary work, which has been shown on public television and won awards at festivals and competitions, includes: “Eatala: A Life in Klezmer,” “LaVaughn Robinson; Dancing History,” “Gandy Dancers," portraying the expressive culture and history of African-American railroad workers in the US, and broadcast nationally on PBS, "Look Forward and Carry on the Past: Stories from Philadelphia’s Chinatown," broadcast on WYBE-TV Philadelphia,"Powerhouse for God" and "Plenty of Good Women Dancers: African-American Women Hoofers in Philadelphia." Dornfeld has also published research on media organizations, media reception and cultural performance, including Producing Public Television, Producing Public Culture (1998, Princeton University Press), an ethnography of a PBS documentary series. After receiving a BA from Tufts University and a PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication, Dornfeld taught at New York University and chaired the Communication Department at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia. He is a Principal at CFAR, a management consulting firm in Philadelphia.

Ben Oldfield Goucher College

Ben Oldfield

Benjamin Oldfield recently completed an Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Urban Health residency at Johns Hopkins University Hospital and is currently a clinician-scholar in the National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) at Yale. NCSP is designed to address disparities in the nation’s health care system including “barriers to access, a disproportionate burden of illness imposed on vulnerable populations, misaligned incentives, fragmentation of health care services, and persistent concerns about the safety, effectiveness, efficiency, equity, and patient-centeredness of care.” Ben has focused his practice at the intersection of health care and social justice and has worked with narrative and storytelling as tools for self-efficacy among individuals and groups in under-resourced communities. He is also interested in how social inequities modulate risk for substance use disorders and hopes to build and expand addiction treatment and prevention efforts for under-resourced populations.

Laura Wexler Goucher College

Laura Wexler

Laura Wexler is a Baltimore-based writer and producer, and a fellow in the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media at Johns Hopkins University, where she is developing a virtual reality thriller based on the true story of the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill abduction case. Writing credits include PANDORA’S BOX, a one-hour drama pilot sold to Amazon Studios; the narrative nonfiction book, Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America (Scribner); and journalism published in The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, and elsewhere. Producing credits include The Stoop Storytelling Series, a popular Baltimore-based live show and podcast featuring “ordinary” people telling the extraordinary true tales of their lives.