The Storytelling Lab: Bridging Science, Technology and Creativity

A Multiyear Cluster

Establishing Washington University as the Transdisciplinary Hub for the Study of Storytelling

Why do we value certain stories over others? What does a good story do to us psychologically and culturally? How do certain storytelling strategies foster common understanding, unleash creative potential, and incite action? The Storytelling Lab will establish Washington University as the transdisciplinary hub for the study of storytelling and its social, political, legal, creative, medical, and technological implications. 

The Lab’s central focus will be effective storytelling—how effective stories are made and how our minds make sense of them. In its initial phase, this project will bring together faculty, students, and external partners representing three target areas—behavioral and brain sciences, cultural studies and practice, and public health—in a joint effort to pursue several interrelated questions, including: 

  • Effective storytelling across media. What constitutes an effective story in popular audio-visual forms, like VR, video games, movies, and social media platforms like Instagram? 
  • Effective storytelling across communities and cultures. What does effective storytelling imply in distinct national cultures and varied sexual, racial, and ethnic communities? 
  • Effective storytelling in public health. How might this new understanding of effective storytelling across media and communities benefit preventative medicine, health education, control of communicable diseases, application of sanitary measures, and monitoring of environmental hazards?

The first phase of this project will pull these related questions into the orbit of conceptual, technical, and storytelling-practice infrastructures, creating a strong collaborative foundation across disciplines and schools at Washington University. 

Faculty Leads