Our Manifesto

Purpose: why does the Centre exist?

The Centre for Narrative Leadership was founded in December 2007 to create a community of people who are committed to developing the field of storytelling in organisations and narrative leadership and to provide the practical means to enable us to engage purposefully and enjoyably with one another.  Since then the Centre has become a significant presence in this emerging field both as a thought leader and as a recognised source of practical expertise and support for practitioners and clients.

Membership of the Centre represents a visible commitment to high quality practice and provides an ongoing community of practice and inquiry for personal and professional development.  Clients and potential clients can come to the Centre for help, confident that its members are competent, well-informed and ethical practitioners with access to a broad range of skills and deep base of knowledge to back them up. 

Ethos: what does the Centre stand for?

Whilst working with story and narrative can and should be generative and inclusive, it is also true that stories are sometimes used manipulatively and in ways that exclude or diminish people. The Centre stands for the ethical use of stories in support of human flourishing and the sustainability of the human and ‘more than human’ world. This stance is encapsulated in the iconic story we used to set the scene at the inaugural event: Water on the Rock.

The Centre also stands for a view of story that encompasses both a down-to-earth practicality in terms of business application and recognition that story is close to the essence of what it means to be human: story work is also soul work and respectful listening to each other’s stories is fundamental to equitable relationships and a pre-requisite for healthy communities.

In addition to oral storytelling (the tradition from which the founders of the Centre mainly come) there are many other ways of working with story including written, digital, embodied, and visual methods. All are welcome and potentially valuable and relevant to the work of the Centre and we anticipate finding and developing powerful new connections and synergies with these and other approaches.

Activities: what does the Centre do?

Promotes storytelling in organisations and narrative leadership at conferences, public events etc.

Enables networking and builds mutually supportive and rewarding relationships through activities for members and guests.

Shares knowledge, expertise and resources at regular series of events and gatherings.

Builds a virtual community of members and interested parties through website and on-line networking and links.

Teaches and trains in story and narrative leadership at public events.

Researches and develops the praxis of narrative leadership through action research and on-going inquiry groups.

Publishes: papers, articles, books, e-books, blogs etc.

Domains of interest: what areas does the Centre cover?

Members of the Centre work in and across a wide range of sectors including public and private sector businesses and organisations, consulting companies and professional service organisations, education, health, charity and voluntary organisations, in therapeutic settings (e.g. family systems constellations), some with an emphasis on corporate social responsibility social justice and environmental sustainability, some with community groups and local projects, and many have particular interests (e.g. working with disability). We regard this diversity of interest as a strength of the Centre and will actively seek an equally rich diversity of backgrounds among members. What brings us together is a shared fascination with the power of story and identification with the purpose and ethos of the Centre