Is it me, or do Europeans know how to form federations better than we Americans?
For years, the American storytelling movement has talked the talk about reaching out to international comrades in the oral tradition, but walking the walk consisted mainly of having a single foreign-born English-speaking storyteller appear at a conference or festival.
The internet has revolutionized collaboration, erasing borders and leaping great distances in geography and time zones. American storyteller Dianne de las Casas created Professional Storyteller almost two years ago using the Ning social networking platform, and it's gained a lot of traction, with storytellers joining from around the world (a niche site for storytellers at Ning has proven more successful than subgroups of intersted parties on sites like Orkut, Facebook, and Myspace). As of today, PS has over 1,100 members.
But a social network of professionals is essentially a closed room--a private party. Why isn't there a united public face to the world?
Well, over in Spain, storyteller Beatriz Montero has made a start. She's got the Spanish speaking world on board (and India) with an International Storytelling Network. (Technically, La Red Internacional de Cuentacuentos).
Beatriz has something on her side that PS doesn't have: collaborations with storytelling organizations in Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, and Spain.
Will RIC make a connection to FEST, the newly formed European storytelling network to create a global networking powerhouse? Whether or not it does, this will definitely be a site to watch, if you're interested in what your fellow storytellers are doing in other countries.
Want to join? There's a directory of storytellers and festivals. I've added my name to a list of over one thousand entries. Storytellers can join here. Festivals join here.
The site is in English and Spanish. You'll get more out of the site if you know Spanish, but even if you don't, click around: I've already discovered storytelling festivals in Cuba, Ecuador, and Greece that I would never have otherwise learned about.