Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nell Bell is awarded the Leila St John by the Children's Book Council.

On February 20th, 2011, Nell Bell was accompanied by daughters Susan and Bronwyn and members of the Storytelling Guild of Victoria when she was presented with the Leila St John Medal at Wattle Park Chalet in Surrey Hills.

Nell Bell, life member of the Storytelling Guild of Victoria, was awarded the Leila St John Award in 2005. The award, administered through Children’s Book Council, is awarded for services to children's literature in Victoria. On February 20 all past recipients, who received a paper award, were presented with a medal in keeping with the CBC’s new policy.

Those of us in the Victorian Storytelling Guild know Nell was a founding member of the Victorian Storytelling Guild and someone who is always willing to share her knowledge and help others. Her contribution to the Guild and its members has been recognized in a life membership of the Australian Storytelling Guild Victorian Branch. But, why is she a worthy recipient of the Leila St John Award?

Well, according to the reasons outlined on the nomination form, Nell Bell is defined by her generosity of spirit and her love for children, beginning her contribution to children's literature in the 1940s when, as Assistant Matron of Ashfield Foundlings Home in Sydney, she introduced the first story time for 3–5 year olds. This story time became a regular session run by Nell.

Nell's interest in stories led her to further training in that area and in 1975 while working as a librarian at Preston East Technical School she taught Introduction to History of Literature and Books. In the same year she toured schools and libraries in China as part of an education program. After qualifying for her Secondary Teachers Certificate the following year Nell went on to start a Children's Book Club and introduced students to literature via storytelling in the class room. She also published an article—The Importance of Oral Literature—in the Education Department magazine.

In the 1980s, Nell obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Children's Literature at Melbourne University as well as a Graduate Diploma in Children's Literature at Toorak Teachers' College. As Librarian in Charge at Templestowe Technical School Nell was part of a program that taught Understanding Literature to Year 11 & 12 students.

By now Nell had realized her passion for oral storytelling and was included in a group of Artists in Education sponsored by the Australian Federal Government and the JF Kennedy Cultural Centre in Washington sent to America in 1988 as representatives of Australia. Nell's focus was the use of oral literature in secondary schools and universities. Back in Australia, Nell conducted seminars in regional universities for mothers of new-born babies on the importance of literature and stories.

Nell was the first storyteller to perform at Dromkeen and has been Artist in Residence introducing students to literature via storytelling at Methodist Ladies College, Richmond Girls High School and Presbyterian Ladies College. She has been a member of the Victorian Branch of the Children's Book Council and the Victorian Committee for UNICEF.

In 1995 Nell took a major role in developing students' skills for performances at St Martins, South Melbourne as part of AEDIS (Artists and Environment designers in Schools). Later that year Nell's storytelling skills won her an invitation to participate in the launch of Children's Week at National Gallery of Victoria.

Nell has always been quick to volunteer her services as a storyteller for the free children's concerts at national Australian storytelling conferences and has also volunteered her services as a storyteller at Camp Quality and the Children's Hospital in Melbourne and the Radio of the Air School in the Northern Territory.

All of that and more is why Nell Bell is a worthy recipient of the Leila St John Award.

photo and post by JB Rowley: Nell far right

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Matteo: Mornington Penninsula Regional Art Gallery. March - December

Young at art 2011

A program for 0-5 year olds with Matteo the storyteller

Tuesday 1 MarchSplish splash
Tuesday 5 AprilLittle boxes
Tuesday 10 MayTap tap tap
Tuesday 7 JuneSweet dreams
Tuesday 2 AugustBig rocks
Tuesday 6 SeptemberGoing dotty
Tuesday 11 OctoberVroom vroom
Tuesday 8 NovemberAll a flutter
Tuesday 13 DecemberSail away

Time: 10am-11am
$4 for children (adults free)

Join Marvellous Matteo for a half hour session of hand clapping, feet stomping storytelling, music and art. Let your imagination run wild! Afterwards, venture through the Gallery with Elisa.

Bookings essential: 5975 4395

web: Mornginton Peninsula Art Gallery


Learn more about: Matteo

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Anne E Stewart: Ballarat Art Gallery 14 - 28 February

Anne E Stewart invites you ...

The Ballarat Art Gallery

40 Lydiard Street North
Ballarat VIC

14 – 28 February

Come in during the next two weeks and become part of my research for a new performance “The Goddess, Saints, Sinners, Bold Women and Me”.( working title)


Inspired by Maurice Saxby’s notion of teaching people to read, this project aims to up-skill the artist; storyteller Anne E Stewart in multimedia and technology. These skills will enable her to bring her work to a wider audience and her new expertise to support community storytelling projects.

With the premise of keeping it simple and inexpensive Anne will work with her own Micro Soft Movie Maker package under the guidance of Erin McCusky of Yum Productions.

Anne will be further inspired by liaising with staff of the Ballarat Arts Academy to see what’s possible. Ongoing contact with ABC’s Marc Eiden will provide further opportunities for Anne to learn and be involved with regional stories. Outside tuition has already commenced with Daylesford's Designscope, who are helping with her new look website.

A major component of the project will be to develop a digital story around her original “Eureka Runaways” love story. Paintings, maps and artefacts from the Ballarat Art Gallery collection will further illustrate the story, alongside Anne’s appearance and narration.

Running concurrently will be two installations.

1. Over two weeks Anne will bring artefacts, art works, storytelling props and photos to display that tell the story. Titled “The Way of the Storyteller” each day the new items will be photographed and cumulate in words text and images that illustrate her storytelling life.

2. The second installation is about creating a new show for performance; “The Goddess, Saints, Sinners, Bold Women and Me”.( working title)

Invited artists, friends and family will be asked to contribute names words, illustrations, artefacts to celebrate women and tell their stories. Once again this will be photographed a narration recorded and edited for display online and by way of projection.

A launch of the stories will happen at the end of the residency.

Learn More about Anne E Stewart

Monday, February 14, 2011

PAVE Festival: Stories Plus @ The Gem Theatre: JJ Sheills

The 2011 Performing And Visual arts in Emerald (PAVE) Festival will kick off on Wednesday evening 6th April. This is the calendar event not to be missed in the Dandenong Ranges. This is one of the most significant arts festivals within the hills and Emerald's biggest event for the year. It always offers activities for every age, taste and interest and this year is no exception.

Stories Plus @ The Gem Theatre
Saturday 09/04/2011 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

A new event for PAVE aimed at people 5 years to 500 years. An intriguing mix of storytelling complimented with cartooning, harp, music, song, origami and dance. Family entertainment with a new twist.

Featuring Vic Guild Storyteller JJ Sheills, Origami Specialist Brenda Saunders, Cartoonist Paul Harris, Celtic Harpist Cath Connelly and more. Adults $12, Children $8, Family $30 (2 adults & up to 3 children or 1 adult and up to 5 children)

Learn more about JJ Sheills

The Ballarat Storytellers at the Community Garden: 18 February

The Ballarat Community Garden is having a Pizza night. BYO pizza gear and the oven is provided.

The Ballarat Storytellers will be there with a crop of stories to share.

These storytellers are a unique group in the Vic Guild; they're happy to donate their time and skills. The BST's stories have been enjoyed at the Daylesford Words in Winter Festival, Ballarat Artisan's Festival and of course The Community Garden.

They're a friendly bunch who meet regularly to practice their craft, arrange workshops and plan their storytelling calendar.

Where: The Ballarat Community Garden, corner of Queen Street and Dyte Parade. Ballarat
When: 18 February. 6.00pm

Cross your fingers for a non-damp evening! Pizza night has been cancelled due to rain a fair bit recently. Please check the weather forecast before you rock up.

Learn more about:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ashley Ramsden. Workshops/Performances 12 - 18 April

Dear friend of storytelling,

Master storyteller, Ashley Ramsden, from the International School of Storytelling in the UK, is coming through Melbourne again from 12-18 April. For those of you who have worked with him before, you'll know he is a wonderful workshop leader with a great capacity to inspire, encourage and innovate. I always come away from a session with Ashley with ideas for storytelling, teaching, facilitating and, well, just living more playfully.


  • 12-13 April: Master class (two-days) for experienced storytellers,
  • 12 April: The inside story, an evening seminar for therapists and those who work with healing,
  • 14 April: I have a voice, special workshop to deepen communication for those of us who facilitate, teach, coach, speak publicly or tell stories.
  • 16-17 April: Sustainable stories, (two-days) focusing on stories to help us face the future with love and wisdom for beginning and experienced storytellers

All workshops: MIECAT studios in Fitzroy.

Performances with musical accompaniment:

  • 13 April: 'Tistou of the green thumbs', an exquisite ecological fable from French author, Maurice Druon, ,
  • 16 April: 'Tristan and Iseult'. Ashley will move and inspire with this Celtic legend

VENUE: Glen Eira Theatrette, Caulfield.

Flyer and registration form with all the details and the information is available on EVENTS.

Give me a call or send me an email if you want to know more!

Clare Coburn

Fabled Communication

0422 019 970