Absent Narratives Approach

The Absent Narratives approach is about restoring relationships: to ourselves, to each other, to our communities, and to the places we live and work. This approach asks people to speak only for themselves and not to represent a community. Therefore, differing opinions, ideas, and thoughts show up as uniquely as the individuals who bring them. By embracing and including these untold experiences that make up each of us and our communities, we can close the relationship gap of human understanding and empathy between us.

What are Absent Narratives?

Absent Narratives bring into public life the stories and experiences of people and communities that are missing or marginalized. By embracing and including these untold experiences that make up each of us and our communities, we can close the relationship gap of human understanding and empathy between us. Absent Narratives are experienced through four core values:
  • Building and strengthening relationships;
  • Recognizing the power of story and the consequences of an accumulation of absence;
  • Learning from the multiplicity of voices in the community; and
  • Discovering that the solutions to entrenched problems are in the community.
Absent Narratives:
  • Are stories, art, music and histories that are often left out of mainstream narratives; they are the human experiences of a people and place
  • Help to make connections to all people in our communities
  • Are authentic, unmediated voices emphasizing lived and cultural experiences
  • Are people speaking only for themselves and not to representing a community
  • Are at the heart of a truly equitable education for all

Increase Engagement Through Absent Narratives Workshop

Increase Engagement Through Absent Narratives workshops will return in the fall of 2014. Please check back for dates, times, and locations.

The Minnesota Humanities Center’s foundational workshop, Increase Engagement Through Absent Narratives, introduces participants to the humanities approach through Absent Narratives. It begins with an understanding of one’s relationship to place, and privileges experiences of human beings in their totality. We rely on humanities content as expressed in literature, history, and the arts to understand Absent Narratives as human experiences. Each individual and community has a unique narrative to hear and a unique contribution to make. Participants will work through Absent Narratives content through lived examples, exercises, conversations, and guided reflection. These experiences become the foundation for incorporating Absent Narratives into your life, workplace, community, and curriculum.

Purpose: This professional development offering engages participants with Absent Narratives as human experiences that change minds and hearts and build a brighter educational and economic future.

Goal: To foster learning that leads to personal change through self-awareness that facilitates alternate ways of understanding; both in terms of immediate awareness and in terms of understanding the cultural and individual assumptions influencing practices, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions.

Registration Questions: Thien Nguyen August, 651-772-4254, thien@mnhum.org
Other Questions: Shandi DiCosimo, 651-772-4255, shandi@mnhum.org