No matter the degree to which people were affected by last year’s Camp Fire, everyone has one thing in common: They all have a personal story to share. And next week, California State University, Chico will give those affected by the fire and the community of Butte County a chance to share their stories.
In partnership with the Butte County Library, the Berkeley-based storytelling platform StoryCenter will visit the University’s Meriam Library on Thursday, March 28 to collect and record stories from the community about the Camp Fire.
Intended to provide a space for those impacted by the Camp Fire to share their narratives of resilience and recovery, the StoryCenter Listening Station will be available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Meriam Library, Room 252. StoryCenter will return April 8–26 to continue collecting stories as part of the Remembering the Ridge Camp Fire memorial on Monday, April 8.
“The Camp Fire has rewritten the entire history of our region, and we want to preserve the first-person accounts and memories of those who want to tell their stories,” said Patrick Newell, dean of the Meriam Library. “This initiative will allow those impacted by the fire to share their experience and help others recognize the impact it has had on our community, region and state.”
StoryCenter will act as the archive and storage for all participants’ stories. The collections would allow for researchers, documentary makers, organizers and advocates to have access to the recorded testimonies and narratives.
Participants will retain all publication and use rights associated with their activities. StoryCenter will not make use of any recordings without prearranged written consent.
Past Listening Station initiatives include “All Together Now,” an exploration of intergenerational Civil Rights stories and conversations, and “Real Family,” which uses adoption stories as a means for healing and connection. Reflecting on the Camp Fire will provide another opportunity for community members to heal by sharing their stories, while putting into context how historic the blaze was to the Ridge and Butte County, Newell said.
“We’ve experienced individually and collectively so much trauma in the aftermath of the fire, and I’ve encountered people in the community who process their story by telling it,” Newell said. “We think it’s important that we provide people a chance to tell their story, recount what is important for them and explain how they are recovering from such devastating loss.” Those who require an accommodation in order to participate in the StoryCenter Listening Station or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.