The Listening Project, following the model of larger national storytelling projects like StoryCorps, is a student-centric storytelling project at Haverford College. The LP’s main goal is to collect/record students’ stories about their time at Haverford, both for the college archives and for an exciting (!) radio presentation for the community at the end of the first semester.
A Storytelling Project
Thea Hogarth ’11
The Listening Project is Thea Hogarth’s pet project, but it doesn’t really belong to her. It belongs to you… and it belongs to you most especially if you are a member of the Haverford community. As the project name would imply, the LP is all about listening: the way we listen to each other and that fabled difference between listening and hearing. It uses radio to break down the process of telling and listening (of giving and receiving, if you will) into two clear steps: speaking into a recorder and listening to the recording.
The Listening Project’s mission isn’t quite so abstract; it’s a forum. We want Haverford students to have a new space to discuss, break down, and examine their experiences within the community. It’s about stories. What is the power of a story? Well, as other radio-based story initiatives* have revealed to us, a story is often a lens into a broader issue or topic. And the great thing is: anyone can tell a story. We do it all the time! In fact, the LP would argue that it’s the primary way we communicate with each other.
The LP invites all members of the Haverford community to engage and to share their Haverford stories. Nothing is too big or small. As we reach into our memories for stories, we also send forth information about ourselves, our perceptions, and what we value. We need a multiplicity of voices and a variety of listeners to turn those outreaching stories into bridges. §
A passage from the original proposal:
The Listening Project will ask Haverford students to examine the complex act of conversation by returning to one of its most basic elements: listening. It’s not as abstract as it sounds, though. In some ways, the act of listening becomes an act of memory; we take on the memories of the storytellers as our own, as public, communal memory. Vocal transmission is natural, organic – biological even! – and I believe this project will harness its power, revealing how sharing a story can turn differences into similarities or shared experiences.