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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools Winter Schools

Stories to Live By: Narrative and Identity

Picture by Thessa Lageman

Organised in the beautiful city of Groningen (Netherlands), this interdisciplinary, week-long course is meant for students and professionals in the arts, literature, theology, philosophy, business, journalism, psychology, coaching, politics, and any other field in which narrative and storytelling play a role.

The context for our winter school is an increasing body of research, across academic disciplines, on how narrative serves as a means to map how we relate to ourselves and to the world around us. Meanwhile, outside the academy, storytelling has become the focus of attention in many professional practices, such as psychology, counselling, medicine and health, and journalism. These practices put to work the fact that when we express who we are, in relation to what and whom, we often tend to do so through storytelling. Our perception of ourselves, of others, and of our place in the world, becomes meaningful through the stories we tell, and those that are told to us. Thus, narrative and identity – both personal and collective - are strongly intertwined.

The winter school is devoted to studying the many forms and shapes of narrative identity in a wide variety of media and settings and from different perspectives. With an intensive, week-long programme that also pays attention to the potentially negative effects of narratives on our sense of self, we will be offering participants an enticing week. The Winter School will be closed by a one day symposium on “Peripheral Narratives and Minority Identities”.

Our speakers are specialists in art and literature, cognitive science, minority studies, media studies, and religious studies. Confirmed speakers are: Alberto Godioli, Marina Grishakova, Barend van Heusden, Goffe Jensma, Warda el Kaddouri, Stefan Kjerkegaard, Liesbeth Korthals Altes, Tilman Lanz, Sjoerd-Jeroen Moenandar, Ronald Nikolsky, Rick Peters, Anneke Sools and Margaret Tali.

Practical information

Dates & location 20 - 24 January 2020, Groningen, the Netherlands
Deadline for application 15 November 2019
Level MA, PhD, professionals
Fee € 325 (excluding housing)
€ 375 (including housing in a local youth hostel)

Students and staff of Aarhus University, University of Tartu & Twente University:
€ 225 (excluding housing)
€ 275 (including housing in a local youth hostel)

Students and staff University of Groningen: 100
Academic coordinators Prof. dr. B.P. van Heusden
Prof. dr.G.T. Jensma
Dr. S.J. Moenandar
Contact narrative.winterschool
Target group

The winter school is designed for PhD students and graduate students (MA) interested in the study of narrative. Professionals interested in storytelling are also welcome to apply.
It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language in order for them to participate actively in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Learning outcomes

After this course you will be able to:

  1. Assess current debates about the interrelatedness of narrative and identity.
  2. Argue for the necessity of “narrative savviness” in specific circumstances.
  3. Appraise a wide array of narrative theories.
  4. Argue for the relevance and feasibility of research projects on the interrelatedness of narrative and identity in a way that testifies of informed critical thinking.

Contact hours: 40
Assignment: 10
Preparatory reading: 40

During the Winter School, participants are offered the opportunity to give a twenty minute presentation on their own research related to narrative and identity (optional). They will receive feedback on their presentation from speakers and peers.

Upon successful completion of the programme, the winter school offers a Certificate of Attendance that mentions the workload of 90 hours (28 hours corresponds to 1 ECTS). Students can apply for recognition of these credits to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. We will be happy to provide any necessary information that might be requested in addition to the certificate of attendance.
For those who want to get the full 5 ECTS for this winter school an additional assignment (including a reading list) will be provided.


The final deadline for application (15 November 2019) has passed. We are no longer accepting applications. The selection committee will review all applications and selected applicants will be informed 6 December at the latest.

Last modified:13 December 2019 10.56 a.m.