Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Campfire Stories

Ronald Fedoruk.

Qu├ębec dramatist and filmmaker Robert Lepage has addressed the enduring, possibly eternal, institution of a select group of storytellers collaboratively entrusted with the responsibility of preserving the story. Gathered around the campfire, our distant ancestors would remember, relate, share and combine all that they knew. In the process they preserved, maybe even invented, culture. The narrative has been passed on orally, from one generation of storytellers to the next, without any more technology than a campfire.
In the past 500 years, the technology of print has allowed the story to be presented in written form. As new media develop and we look for new ways for the narrative to be presented in digital form, we can use models that come from either oral for literate origins. Since some of the best story presentations are performative in nature, demonstrative rather than explicative, it is logical to assume that new forms and new technologies can be driven by the same demonstrative and performative impulses that motivated our ancestors.
Today's campfire is a much more complex and demanding campfire, with much more seductive technology. But the process for the artist is unchanged. Someone must have the responsibility to ensure that stories are preserved, retold, and reinvented. Someone must pursue the creative endeavours that define a rich and healthy culture. It is storytellers who must fuel the campfire.


Ronald Fedoruk  (Canada)
Associate Professor
Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing
University of British Columbia

Ronald Fedoruk (MFA Theatre, University of Victoria) has been teaching Scenography at UBC for the past fourteen years. His other teaching duties include the first year Arts Foundations Program, and he served a term as Head of the Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing. He has 30 years' design experience, including six years as the Scenographer for Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, and he has been Canadian representative to the International Theatre Design Organization (OISTAT).

  • Story
  • Narrative
  • Orality Hypertext
  • Hypermedia
  • Computer
  • Future

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)