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KTP conference – Bath Spa University
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KTP conference teaches the art of storytelling at Bath Spa University

Monday, 11 September, 2023

This September, Bath Spa University played host to the national KTP Associates Conference - Telling Your Story. Attended by delegates across multiple industries and delivered over two days, the conference explored the importance of narrative in building and sustaining a successful personal brand and business. 

Through a mixture of talks and workshops, delegates unpacked the stories they tell about themselves and held a microscope up to who they are and what they’re capable of. They looked at how stories of success and failure have played a role in shaping the trajectory of businesses, both big and small. 

Bath Spa University’s reputation for creative ventures, coupled with its idyllic grounds, made Newton Park the perfect location for the two-day conference, inspiring the delegates to expand their understanding what business means to them. 

After an introductory address from Professor John Strachan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Bath Spa University, delegates welcomed Richard Lamb, the KTP Programme Director of Innovate UK with ‘An Introduction to KTP and the Importance of Storytelling.’ 

Richard laid the groundwork for a morning of inspirational lectures, explaining that storytelling supersedes the traditional avenues with which we associate it and how understanding the mechanisms of telling a good story can aid you in your career.  

He explained how KTP has flourished through storytelling. That, without those narratives, the company wouldn’t have been able to levy the support it needed to succeed. He said: 

“I stand on the shoulders of every programme manager that has gone before me, telling the stories of KTP. And I benefit from their stories, the stories that we’ve accumulated as a programme over the last 48 years. Without those narratives, we wouldn’t be here today.” 

Susannah Lipscombe, Historian, Author, Broadcaster and KTP Ambassador, also presented a five-minute, rapid-fire evaluation of how storytelling can be utilised in more analytical roles. She explained the benefits of research having an emotion pull. How, by moving beyond analysis to an emotionally engaged story, you can maximise your commercial potential - understanding what you do, why you do it, and why people should consume it. 

Wrapping up the morning was Professor Bambo Soyinka, Chair of the Research Centre for Transcultural Creativity and Education at Bath Spa University and AHRC Programme Director for Story. 

Bambo combined innovative research and the idea that story is a skill, essential within life, learning, and work. 

She seeks to play a key part in shaping narrative-based research in the UK while helping people find purpose and passion within their careers. In her lecture, Bambo highlighted the role story plays in helping us innovate and change. 

Bambo outlined the power of telling a story through your CV, of understanding the minds of the people you’re applying for and what kind of applicant they’re after. By thinking of yourself as a character, you can think of your CV as a story. She asked delegates to participate in an exercise to help find their character, asking them a series of questions such as, ‘What gets you out of bed in the morning?’ and ‘What’re you good at?’. 

By prompting the delegates, Bambo framed story as something you can live. She said: 

“It’s not just telling stories; we don’t all have to be great novelists. It’s about going deeper than that, understanding the deep structure of stories and how they work, then using those stories within your work and everyday life. Our tagline is: ‘Your story, find it, live it, share it.” 

The conference aimed to leave delegates with a thorough understanding of how storytelling can be utilised in a professional setting, ready to use what they had learnt in their own careers. 

You can view the full programme of speakers on the KTP brochure and find out more about KTP on its website

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