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Jim Sands

Discipline: Storytelling
Homebase: Vancouver
Languages: English
Grant Eligibility: Eligible to apply for AIC

Jim is an East Vancouver-based storyteller, songwriter, and performer. Jim has written, produced, and performed in a number of solo storytelling shows that have been part of festivals such as the Vancouver Outsider Arts Festival, Heart of the City Festival, and Fringe Festivals across Canada. As a musician, Jim has performed at the Vancouver Farmers' Market, Granville Island and a variety of venues around Vancouver. As a storyteller, Jim's mission is to tell his own story and to support others to gain the skills to find and tell their own stories. He fulfills this mission by performing, teaching and researching storytelling. His approach is to work to create a safe and inclusive environment that welcomes all contributions. Workshop content is based on an iterative approach that works to identify and address the needs of workshop participants.


A. TELLING MY STORY: An Introduction to Personal Storytelling

School Year: 22-23
Offered Languages: English
Grade Suitability: 7 - 12
Duration: Two 60 minutes sessions
Capacity: 50
Tech Requirements: Computer with internet access, and screen
Available Formats: In Person

Lower Mainland
Fraser Valley & Howe Sound
Vancouver Island Lower
Vancouver Island Mid
Vancouver Island North

One of the foundations for storytelling work is a format developed by The Moth, a storytelling event founded in 1997 and which occurs regularly in cities around the world. Stories in this format are TRUE, about YOU, and told in as FEW words as possible (about 5-10 minutes). TELLING MY STORY provides a basic introduction to this format for personal storytelling over the course of two sessions. Session One (60-70 minutes) utilizes a large group presentation, storytelling examples (live and recorded), and small group discussion to provide an overview of the art of personal storytelling. The goals of this session are to help students understand what personal storytelling is, know how to develop their own personal story, and understand how personal stories can benefit personal development. Session Two (60-70 minutes) includes time for a summary of the previous session, small group practice time, sharing and feedback with the large group, and time to debrief and review with participants. The goals of this session are to give students an experience of personal storytelling as a listener or teller, develop an understanding of how to create personal stories and move stories to the next level, and understand the uses of personal stories outside the classroom.

Classroom Residency(ies)

Contact Me: (778) 997-7621-1956, Email, Web

B. LIFE LESSONS: A Storytelling Cabaret

School Year: 22-23

This is a longer-term project for students who have mastered the basics of storytelling. Over the course of a LIFE LESSONS project students work to develop an hour-long storytelling performance that may include additional elements such as music, poetry, etc. The ideal performance blends genres, topics and moods to create a tapestry that reflects themes that are important to the presenters. This activity is best for High School age students.


School Year: 22-23

Human Library was started by a group of five individuals who founded the organization Stop The Violence after a brutal attack on a mutual friend. The first Human Library was held in Denmark in 2000 and the concept has since gained huge popularity and momentum. Over the past 12 years in over 65 countries, thousands of "human books" have connected with "readers" from all walks of life. The project involves recruitment, orientation and training of community members and students who have personal experiences of exclusion and discrimination. Students are able to check out a human book for a 20-30 minutes session which consists of an overview as well as a conversation and "question and answer" session. Jim's role may include curation assistance, coaching and training, and other support.

Testimonials & Reviews

[Students] enjoyed Jim's presentation and the experience of storytelling. They suggested I offer this regularly as part of the course because it offered them an opportunity to develop stronger connections to each other. . . . Many felt that in sharing their stories they discovered things about themselves and understood their lives in ways they hadn't be able to before. The experience of creating and sharing their personal stories made a difference in their lives. Pamela Smith, English Teacher, Byrne Creek Community School
I am so grateful you came and visited our English class. It was a pleasure listening to your story and what you had to say about ours in giving feedback. Thank you very much for spending your time with us. Keep up your good work. You should definitely go to other schools and spread your knowledge of storytelling. Student, Grade 11, Byrne Creek Secondary
I highly appreciate you coming to our class and teaching us how to tell stories. I've learned how to explain stories thoroughly and express my emotions in a way I've never done before. This new skill has made me grow closer with specific friends and family because they seem a lot more interested in my stories now. This has also taught me to share very personal and private stories a little more effortlessly. Student, Grade 11, Byrne Creek Secondary

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