The Burlington Storytellers' Guild
“As the Travellers in Scotland remind us, stories are told eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart."
Michael likes to say he was born and raised in Canada and matured in Scotland. Having spent 10 years as a Child Care Worker, counselling adolescents in care and their families, Michael returned to University to study English Literature. His Masters thesis — a study of a long poem by the first Canadian-born poet Adam Hood Burwell — was published in 1988 and earned Michael an invitation to take up his PhD at the University of Edinburgh. While there, he taught in both the English Dept and the Centre of Canadian Studies, immersing himself further in the world of narrative.
In 1995 he began teaching English in the Upper School of the Rudolf Steiner School of Edinburgh, a post he held for the next 10 years. Here, he had the opportunity to integrate storytelling into his teaching and began his apprenticeship in the art of oral storytelling through the Scottish Storytelling Centre, becoming a member of the Scottish Storytelling Directory. During this period, he worked primarily with children and adolescents in schools and residential care centres.
In 2005, Michael left teaching to become a full-time storyteller and story coach. He co-facilitated the award-winning Juniper Peace Education Programme for Schools (with founder David Keith) in Scottish primary schools as well as working for the General Teaching Council of Scotland advising and assessing senior classroom teachers, helping them transform their classroom experience into compelling stories of professional development and practice for Chartered Teacher Accreditation. And at the same time, he continued teaching English as a private tutor and a supply teacher.
In 2009, Michael was invited by the International School of Storytelling in England to join a troupe of international storytellers on a tour of the Holy Land, working with Israelis, Palestinians, Arabs, Jews and others, using storytelling as a means of encouraging dialogue and mutual understanding. This experience marked a turning point in Michael’s career. Upon returning to Scotland, he established himself as a much sought-after StoryCoach, working therapeutically with women and men, community and corporate organizations across Scotland and beyond. His clients have included the Scottish Parliament, the Church of Scotland, The National Museum and National Library of Scotland, the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, Robert Gordon, and Aberdeen, the Aberdeen Leadership Forum, the Scottish Marine Institute, Arthritis UK, Parkinsons UK, Action for M.E., Macmillan Cancer Research, Children 1st, Children in Scotland and many, many more.
In June 2017, Michael retired to his hometown of Hamilton to spend more time with his family. But storytelling still runs in his veins. As well as attending monthly gatherings of the Hamilton Storytelling Circle, Michael is also a member of the Burlington Storytellers Guild and the Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada. He is also the founder of the online Academy of Storytelling (http://academy-of-storytelling.teachable.com) where he shares his experience and knowledge of storytelling and is the host of the weekly radio programme “The Teller and the Tale” on Blues and Roots Radio (bluesandrootsradio.com)
“Storytelling is my spiritual practice. I’ve been privileged to have been mentored by such storytellers as Lisa Bloom, David Campbell, Doug Lipman, Michael Margolis, and Tanya Taylor Rubinstein and to have met so many wonderful men and women with amazing stories to share."
"Words can not do justice to the profound impact your workshops made on my life. Thank you Mr. Michael Williams. You are a shining soul." Catherine Ann, Artist/Performer
"Michael has taught me that Storytelling is not just about words and the story, its about taking your audience with you on a wonderful journey.” Calum L., Storyteller and Actor
"As a member of the audience, let me say that the evening was delightful. The room in which you performed was magic.” Dean V., Storyteller and author