Commissioned by Jan Hartholt former director of Kasteel Groeneveld and the Rural Network, Terragon developed a festival format called Fabula Festum (Story Carnival) with the goal of co-creating cultural narratives for a sustainable and healthy society.
‘Many people don’t realize the extent to which stories influence our behavior and even shape our culture. Think about how Bible stories teach the fundamentals of religion and rules of conduct. Think of the fables and parables that molded your values. Think of how stories about your national, cultural or family history have shaped your attitudes about yourself and others. ‘ — Lawrence Shapiro
Every culture has its own stories and narratives. Actually, is it the shared narratives that make one group different from another. Stories and narratives are found everywhere: from religion to children’s stories to myths. At the core, cultural narratives help us transmit our set of values. Narratives help to construct purpose, meaning, and identity. They provide stability, explain things, help to orient us and inspire us. We pass down our wisdom through the art of narrative.
To a large extent and without us realizing it, these underlying narratives define our collective beliefs and our individual behaviors. They become so embedded that we take them for granted and do not even question them. They are so powerful that they can even override our primal instinct to survive. And ultimately, these cultural narratives influence how we collectively shape our world.
The problem is that some of the narratives that we are telling ourselves are not serving us well. They contain deeply ingrained concepts (such profit maximization, or narrow measures of success and happiness) which are limiting our vision and are even making us behave in ways that take a high toll on our planet. In fact, there are narratives that persisted throughout centuries which have led to highly uneven wealth distribution, a rise in health problems, and overwhelming destruction of the environment.
Among the most insidious narratives are the ones that tell us that “it is just the way it is”, “I cannot do anything about it”, or “There is no alternative.” Narratives of this kind make us complacent with the way things are and justify the human, environmental and social atrocities that occur around the world.
At its essence, Fabula Festum believes that there is another way and that we can and must do something about it. There is a huge need for cultural narratives to be adjusted. We need to create narratives that challenge our limiting beliefs and values and show us that things can be different. We need narratives that inspire us to look with new eyes and, in the end, allow us to make personal choices that lead to a more healthy and sustainable society.
If you are interested in collaborating or conducting a Fabula Festum festival get in touch with us.