Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA event brings back storytelling

Creative Campus continued its “Tin Can Tales” storytelling initiative Thursday with a second installment that featured five speakers recounting a memorable night in their life.

The initiative brings UA students and Tuscaloosa community members together for a shared experience in culture and the arts.

“The event, in the end, is kind of like this nice story of what Tuscaloosa has to offer,” Connor Fox, an intern with Creative Campus, said.

He said the goal of the project is to give students the opportunity to hear different perspectives and get them in touch with fellow community members through the arts.

(See also “Program teaches creative writing in local schools“)

“We try to highlight all different parts of the city and really kind of encourage that community unification,” Fox said.

The event took place at the Cyprus Inn Loft in downtown Tuscaloosa.

“I was really pleased with the diverse crowd, and the stories reflected that,” Katharine Buckley, Creative Campus intern and project leader for Tin Can Tales, said.

The crowd filled the room, which included a photo area for guests, an area serving drinks and a single microphone stage. Buckley said the venue was chosen because it accentuated the feel of the event’s theme, “A Night Out.”

Five speakers shared 10-minute stories that embodied this topic. Stories ranged from a night sneaking out of the house to see a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert to a night spent at the bedside of his Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother.

“When you hear all the stories together, it’s really a culmination of what all can happen in one night, and how impactful that can be,” Buckley said.

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She said the project is meant to foster a theme of diversity through the distinctive stories and the range of speakers. A UA student, a forester, a music critic, a filmmaker and a UA professor all spoke back-to-back.

“You get a taste of things you never would have experienced yourself,” she said.

In addition to offering unique perspectives, Fox said the best part of the event is having everyone, both Tuscaloosa community members and University of Alabama students, all together in one room.

“It’s a range of emotions, for sure, but that’s storytelling, right?” Fox said. “We hope participants will laugh and cry together and just share this emotional experience.”

Buckley said she wants to see the local and university aspects of Tuscaloosa come together in an intimate way.

“The goal is that you show up to the event and everyone’s strangers and you don’t know each other, but then you hear these really personal stories, and you get a bond from that,” she said.

Storytellers and audience members were connected as speakers interacted with people in the crowd. Lighters were handed out at the door so that the crowd could imitate a concert crowd listening to “Free Bird” live. The audience was asked to join in saying a childhood prayer. The speakers made references to Bryant-Denny stadium and aspects of life in the South.

Rather than the typical night on the Strip or in the library, Buckley said she hopes events like these can be an opportunity for students to plug in somewhere different.

“I feel like this is a pretty unique event, and so it kind of breaks the mold of what a typical Thursday night would be like,” she said. “I feel like, for a lot of people at Alabama, they’re really interested in having cultural events like this.”

Buckley said it’s hard for students to meet Tuscaloosa locals or even get off-campus at all. She said she hopes this provides people an opportunity to go downtown and explore the city.

Fox said he ultimately wants to see a greater appreciation for the cultural arts, especially storytelling, because “words are powerful.”

“It shows in itself how important storytelling is for humans, in moving culture forward and connecting with people,” Buckley said.

(See also “Author presents autobiographical graphic novel“)

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