Storytelling and Trauma
Special Focus - Abuse
2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference


Friday 12th March 2021 – Saturday 13th March 2021
Lisbon, Portugal

This event has been moved online due to COVID-19.
The experience of trauma is central to the human condition, but how we understand our experiences and explain them to others remains a subject of ongoing debate. The drive to tell the story of personal, communal and national traumas has taken many forms, ranging including oral and written narratives, visual art and music. The acts of creating and receiving these works has provided a means of coming to terms with traumatic events and their legacies. Though trauma may take many forms, abuse is arguably one of the most potent because of the physical, emotional and mental harm that comes with abusive interactions. For many who experience abuse, the desire to give voice to their trauma is countered by social or cultural attitudes about what constitutes abuse, what sorts of feelings are legitimate, which perspectives are worthy of being believed, and so forth. Yet, the omnipresence of stories and images of trauma and abuse across cultures and historical periods directs our attention to the ways the sharing and remembrance of pain – our own, and that of others – provides a way toward bearing witness, contemplating, processing and resolving the pain arising from this particular trauma. It is precisely because so much pressure can be brought to bear upon survivors to keep their trauma silent that it is crucial to explore the relationship between abuse and trauma.

The 2nd Global Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference – Storytelling & Trauma: Special Focus Abuse provides a platform for exploring how storytelling enables trauma caused by abuse to be brought to light, processed and re-signified through the connection between memory and communication, entailing what Cathy Caruth calls “an act of departure”. Disruptive experiences impact survivors’ self-perception and world awareness, both of which are informed by the fullness of individual experiences. It is therefore essential to approach the relationship between trauma, abuse and storytelling from an inter-disciplinary approach that is able to apprehend the implications of empathy, desensitization, witness, pain, confrontation and resolution of problems, and the simultaneity of past and present as these concepts are understood across relevant cultural, religious, psychological, political, geographical, linguistic, literary, artistic, technological, scientific, social and philosophical dimensions.

From the conversations and dialogues which take place, our intention is to form a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.

Key Topics

We welcome participants to share research, best practice, case studies, art, performances, personal narratives and other relevant approaches. Proposals on any relevant topic are invited, particularly those from clinical, NGO, activism, fine and performing arts, legal, law enforcement, religious, victims/survivors perspectives. Please note it is also our intention to provide a fruitful, safe and respectful sharing space.

At the end of the conference, our aim is to further develop the discussions and dialogues into new and continued interdisciplinary research, workshops and publications which will help us make sense of the topics discussed in relation to the contested aspects of the discussions.

We welcome proposals from a wide range of perspectives and voices, on topics including but not limited to:

  • Types of Abuse Abuse relating to im/migration  |  Abuse experienced in war, civil war, conflict  |  Violence, torture, and atrocity  |  Culturally/nationally sanctioned abuse  |  Abuse in religious/spiritual contexts  |  Abuse in medical/scientific practice  |Abuse in family/friendships  |Abuse in the workplace  | Institutional abuse  | Abuse targeting vulnerable groups: LGBTIQA++, BIPOC, people with disabilities, etc. |  Abuse online/gaming/social media
  • Genre and Medium Literary, artistic and filmic storytelling of trauma and abuse  |  Life writing genres (autobiography, memoirs, letters, ethnography, etc.)  |  Testimony as storytelling trauma: fiction vs. non-fiction, official history vs. reality  |  Private versus public storytelling about trauma and abuse  |  Writing trauma: healing and transformation
  • Issues and Outcomes Truth and Reconciliation  |  Activism/NGOs  |  Trauma and memory  |  Healing: survival and resilience  |  Therapy  |  Empathy, allyship, solidarity, activism  |  Pedagogy, education, and social awareness  |  Shame, taboo, and suffering  |  Wounding, loss, death, grief and mourning  |  Spectral spaces, haunted geographies, memorialization  |  Fake news  |  Trauma and abuse during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Case Studies
  • We particularly welcome creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, photography, installations, and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate.

What To Send

The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, problem-solving sessions, case studies, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Creative responses to the subject, such as poetry/prose, short film screenings/original drama, installations and alternative presentation styles that engage the audience and foster debate are particularly encouraged. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.

At the end of the conference we will be exploring ways in which we can develop the discussions and dialogues in new and sustainable inclusive interdisciplinary directions, including research, workshops, publications, public interest days, associations, developing courses etc which will help us make sense of the topics discussed during the meeting. There is an intention, subject to the discussions which emerge during the course of the meeting, to form a selective innovative interdisciplinary publication to engender further research and collaboration.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday 4th September 2020. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chairs.

All submissions will be at least double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Team, The Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 18th September 2020.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 15th January 2021.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) type of proposal e.g. paper presentation, workshop, panel, film, performance, etc, f) body of proposal, g) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Storytelling Trauma Submission

Where To Send

Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:

Claudio Zanini (Organising Chair):
Len Capuli (Project Administrator):

Details and Information


Registration Fees

The cost for attending the conference includes:

~ conference registration fee
~ online registration
~ online abstract and programme submissions
~ access to the conferencing platform
~ ~ a virtual registration areas where conference information and materials will be available
~~  virtual ePoster possibilities
~ ~ virtual break out rooms
~ ~ virtual one-to-one meeting capabilities
~ ~ virtual networking rooms

~ electronic book of Abstracts
~ access to downloads of all conference materials
~ physical copy book of abstracts (on request)

~ participation in project output discussion session
~ live session with the publications team as part of a development meeting
~ discounted rates for any outputs emerging from the event

Calendar of time-lines and deadlines

Friday 4th September 2020
Abstract/Presentation submission

Friday 18th September 2020
Acceptance/Rejection notification

Friday 9th October 2020
Booking Form Submissions

by Friday 23rd October 2020
Circulation of Draft Programme
Invoices issued

Monday 23rd November 2020
Final date for payment

Friday 15th January 2021
Circulation of Revised Programme
Full draft of presentation to be submitted

Monday 22nd February 2021
Final programme to printing

The conferences, meetings and events we organise are not single ‘one-off’ events. They are part of a continual stream of conversations, activities and projects which grow and evolve in different directions. At the conclusion of every meeting, the question needs to be considered: What happens next? After all, there is little personal, educational or professional benefit in gathering people together from around the world and sharing all sorts of fascinating conversations if nothing further is going to happen as a result!

The possible ranges of ‘outputs’ which can productively flow from our meetings is a dynamic response to the dialogues, issues and engagements that take place during the events themselves. And as our meetings are attended by folks who come from different backgrounds, contexts, professions and vocations, what people would like to see developed as a result of our time spent together will always be potentially diverse, fluid and appropriate to what took place.

One range of possible outputs involves publication as a way of continuing the work of a project. Where publishing is a possibility, it is directly referenced in the Call for Papers, Presentations and Participation. Other possible outputs may include, but are not limited to:
~ social media platforms such as Facebook pages and groups, blogs, wikis, Twitter, as vehicles for continuing dialogues, disseminating knowledge and information and bringing new people into the work of the project
~ reviews; reports; policy statements; position papers/statements; declarations of principles
~ proposals for meetings, workshops, courses, schools
~ collaboration gateways, platforms and media
~ personal and professional development opportunities: faculty development; mentoring programmes; cultural cruises; consultancies; summer schools; personal enrichment programmes

The range of outputs is dependent on how little or how much you would like to become involved. Don’t let the end of the meeting signal the end of your involvement with the project. Please get involved, bounce ideas around, think out loud – we’d love to hear about what you’d like to do and are always happy to talk about what is possible.

Payment Process
Participants must complete the online booking form by Friday 9th October 2020 at the latest.
After the deadline has expired, an invoice will be drawn up and sent to you; the invoice will contain all the necessary information for you to pay by bank transfer, cheque, Paypal or credit card.
The invoice must be settled by Monday 23rd November 2020.

It is the responsibility of delegates to ensure that payment is made by this date. Failure to receive payment will result in your booking being cancelled.

Payment Methods
There are a number of ways payment can be made.

Payment can be made by cheque, in GBP (£ sterling) only and must be drawn against a bank with headquarters in the United Kingdom. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Progressive Connexions’ and sent, with a copy of the booking form, to:

Dr Rob Fisher
Progressive Connexions
Priory House
149b Wroslyn Road
Oxfordshire. OX29 8HR
United Kingdom

We regret we cannot and will not accept cheques made payable in currencies other than GBP Sterling.

Bank Transfer Payment may be made using bank transfer. There will be an option to pay in either GBP (£ Sterling) or Euro (€). Full details to enable a bank transfer are made available on your conference invoice. If paying by this method, you must agree to pay all charges at the sending and receiving banks.

By Invoice
You may request that an invoice be sent to you which you may forward to your institution. It is your responsibility to ensure that the invoice is paid before the payment deadline.

Your invoice will include a link to pay through a secure and encrypted online payment system. Please click the link to use this method.

Credit Card
Payment may also be made using credit card. We cannot accept American Express or Discovery as a form of payment.

Payment may also be made using Paypal. If paying by this method please send us the email account connected with your Paypal account and we will forward you a request for payment.

We strongly recommend that all delegates take out some form of travel or other insurance in relation to any and all travel arrangements or accommodation booked in regard to the conferenceThis should include cancellation insurance in the event of unforeseen or unexpected circumstances.

All fees are payable in advance. No delegate will be permitted entry to the conference if an invoice is still unpaid.

What’s so Special?

A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.


A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.


A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.


An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.


An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.


Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.


Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.

Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network inspiring inclusive interdisciplinary research, publishing and collaboration