Everybody Comes from Somewhere

Everybody Comes from Somewhere

In this residency students will be engaged with arts integration through culture and living traditions by engaging with the art of storytelling. Students will learn how to conduct fieldwork and take oral histories, as well as present their collections within the context of a storytelling concert.

Through storytelling “Everybody Comes from Somewhere” is a folk art and civic engagement residency designed to celebrate and uplift individual and communal cultures. Depending on the length, residency components may include 1) a storytelling assembly,  2) writing “Where I Come From“ poems,  3) learning how to log observations in their neighborhood through fieldwork, 4) taking an oral history of a family member, and 5) sharing oral histories through performance.

The residency celebrates the diversity and similarities of cultures within communities. Interviews are conducted through the lens of either Immigration, Migration, Childhood Games, or Crafts/Family Pastimes. Participants transcribe the interviews into stories, edit their stories for a performance that includes audience call and response, and perform a school-wide storytelling assembly. Elementary through High School.

Residencies include a school-wide assembly by the artists, Queen Nur, Storyteller and Dwight James, Percussionist. The classroom residency continues with Queen Nur. Students learn how to conduct ethnographies (fieldwork) and use their observations to write poems and create original verses to the “Everybody Comes From Somewhere” song.  The revised song is presented as an opening to the student storytelling concert. For shorter residencies, the concert includes individual “I Come From” poems. For longer residencies students also learn the technique of taking oral histories through a workshop format and performing those stories with the elements of storytelling from the oral tradition.

Artist Background

Karen “Queen Nur” Abdul-Malik is a nationally renowned award winning storyteller, teaching artist and folklorist. Sharing her gift, she has performed in venues from the Opening of the Smithsonian NAAMCH to Equity Theater on Broadway, to the National Black Storytelling Festival. Traveling abroad Queen has presented for the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon and PANAFEST in Ghana. She is the Emcee for the NEA National Heritage Fellowship Awards Concert (2019-2020). Queen has been awarded The Community Collections Grant by the Library of Congress to document community and the National Storytelling Brimstone Grant for her innovative community-based programs. In 2023 she was awarded as a New Jersey Heritage Fellow. 2018, she received the NJ Governor’s Teaching Artist Award and was YANJEP Artist of the Year. Queen has her MA in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College.

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