Telling a personal story to an audience can seem like a daunting and nerve-wracking experience. It also has the potential to be a cathartic, impactful way to educate an audience on complicated and systematic issues. Ex Fabula has partnered with Marquette University and Project Return to bring a night of storytelling on the topic of incarceration to the Marquette campus. Project Return is a Milwaukee non-profit that supports recently incarcerated individuals as they transition from prison institutions to their respective communities. This event is part of Marquette’s Mission Week which will center on the topics of race relations, institutional, personal, and cultural racism titled “Racial Justice: Black, White and the Call of the Church”.

audience member takes photo of storyteller at event

Ex Fabula storytelling coaches have been working with members from Project Return to structure their personal narratives on how the prison industrial complex has affected their lives and their communities. Many of the tellers are active as board members and community advocates for different local organizations, namely EXPO (Ex Prisoners Organizing) and Table of the Saints. Their expanding efforts for prisoner equity and dignity have grown a community of like-minded activists.  A member of Project Return and Table of the Saints, Eli Cousineau, participated in the storytelling workshop.  A few weeks after the workshop, Eli Cousineau told his story at a church in order to raise money for Table of the Saints. “Your storytelling session really helped me,” he reports. “I had to talk in front of 150 people. I told my story and nailed it.”  Other participants have met individually with storytelling coach, Karen Kolberg, to further develop their narratives.

The event will be held at the Alumni Memorial Union in Monaghan Ballroom on Marquette’s campus, on February 8th. The program begins with a light community meal at 5:30 followed by stories at 6:30 that run until about 8 pm. It is FREE to the public, so we encourage all to come listen to these important perspectives. Advance registration is required; register HERE