151124ExFabula0171_5D3A5403Ex Fabula Fellows are community members who use personal stories to inspire community-led dialogue around some of the most pressing issues in the Greater Milwaukee area–segregation and economic and racial inequality.

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Why focus on those issues?

  1. 160315ExFabula0082_5D3A9320Milwaukee is the country’s most segregated urban area; Wisconsin is the worst state at protecting African American children, the place that incarcerates the highest percentage of African American men, and more.
  2. In order to strengthen community bonds, we need to explore the things that divide us.
  3. Scientific research shows that storytelling has the unique ability to meaningfully connect people and create the conditions for empathy.

Upcoming Interactive Performances

Whiteness and Privilege

fellows-and-facilitators-logoTuesday, March 7, 2017
6pm to 8pm
Location: Workshop Architects near 1st/Pittsburgh

​This important evening will begin with true, personal stories from Ex Fabula Fellows. Then, share your own observations in small group listening circles directed by professional facilitators from the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion.

Free and open to the public, but pre-registration required and space is limited.

Breaking Boxes: An Identity Summit

fellows-and-facilitators-logoSunday, March 12, 2017
2pm to 5 pm
Location: Zeidler Center at 19th/Wisconsin

How do our various identities (race, gender, sexuality, class, age, etc.) shape who we are? What kinds of boxes do we find ourselves in? How do we break those boxes? Come to this 3 part event to hear stories, participate in dialogue and an interactive workshop about our identities.

Free and open to the public, but pre-registration required and space is limited.

Past Interactive Performances (2016-17)

previous interactive performances featuring the 2015-16 class of Fellows

No More Preaching to the Choir:  Storytelling, Dialogue, and other Transformative Practices for Community Engagement

presented as part of Imagining Americafellows-and-facilitators-logo

Friday October 7, 2016, 11:30 am-2:30 pm
Zeidler Center for Public Discussion

EMLK Day flierx Fabula Fellows @ MLK Day

Monday, January 16, 2017
Martin Luther King Library, 310 W. Locust St.

Free activities and performances from 9 am to 5 pm – some for youth, some for adults, some for all ages; Fellows shared stories about “Speaking up” at 2 pm. Full schedule here. 

“White Fragility”

Saturday, January 21, 2017, 9:30 to noon
Zeidler Center for Public Discussion

The event began with stories told by Ex Fabula Fellows, continued with facilitated listening circles, and ended with a mini-workshop from SURJ about practical skills to address white fragility.

 Embracing Cultural Diversity: A Community Discussion

Tosa's All-City Read logo, which shows a cartoon book wearing glasses and reading a smaller book, with a city in the backgroundWednesday, February 15, 2017, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
First Congregational Church, 1511 Church Street, Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Tosa’s All-City Read intends to bring neighbors together, and this event did so by exploring some of the themes of the book “A Man Called Ove.”  The evening began with true, personal stories from Ex Fabula Fellows. Then, attendees shared their own observations in small group listening circles directed by fellows-and-facilitators-logoprofessional facilitators from the Frank Zeidler Center for Public Discussion.


Here are some of the great things that were written about the Fellowship!

Fellows’ Stories


This story was published in Humanities Booyah, an only online magazine dedicated to the public humanities.

These stories were published in partnership with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service



Blanche.  Audio Transcript

Brian.  Audio Transcript

Elaine.  Audio Transcript

Jennifer.  Audio Transcript

Kerri.  Audio Transcript

Nakia.  Audio Transcript

Rochelle.  Audio Transcript

Rossetta.  Audio Transcript



Take Action

  • Apply to become a 2016-17 Fellow.
  • Take Harvard University researchers’ online tests to explore subconscious bias. Click “I wish to proceed” and then select a test such as “Race” or “Skin tone”.
  • Peruse YWCA of SE Wisconsin’s list of “Racial Justice Resources”
  • Check out Rid Racism Milwaukee’s calendar of events
  • Explore the online museum curated by America’s Black Holocaust Museum
  • Get involved with SURJ Milwaukee (Standing Up for Racial Justice) via their facebook page
  • Use this form to submit stories (you grant us permission to share on our website, on social media, etc) and to indicate interest in future fellowships.

    Name (required)

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    Your Message

    I'm interested in being an Ex Fabula Fellow! Please notify me if you do future Fellowships.

Thank you!

2016-17 Fellowship

The 2016-2017 Fellowship is supported in part by a grant from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; a $20,000 grant from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation‘s Douglas L.P. Hamilton Fund, George and Evelyn Gay Family Fun, and Jerry L. Tollefsen and Jessica J. Suhr Memorial Kacynski Family Fund; and a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Northwestern Mutual logoGreater Milwaukee Foundation logoWisconsin Arts Board logoNEA_logo

Zeidler Center LogoThanks as well to the Zeidler Center for Public Discussion, our partner for 6 of the interactive outreach performances. For those events, attendees will split into small groups, each with a Zeidler Center facilitator, and participate in Reflective Structured Dialogue.