The Colorado Switchblade
The Colorado Switchblade
Crafting New Worlds: Exploring the Fusion of Anthropology and Storytelling with Michael Kilman

Crafting New Worlds: Exploring the Fusion of Anthropology and Storytelling with Michael Kilman

Dive into a Thought-Provoking Journey of Culture, Creativity, and the Evolution of Narrative Art

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Hello Switchblade Community,

In our latest episode of "The Colorado Switchblade," we had the pleasure of sitting down with Michael Kilman, an author, anthropologist, and an adjunct professor at CU Denver. Our conversation ventured through the realms of storytelling, cultural anthropology, and the transformative power of narratives in shaping our world.

The Intersection of Anthropology and Storytelling

Michael brings a unique perspective to storytelling, drawing from his background in anthropology. His work, including the textbook "Build Better Worlds: An Introduction to Anthropology for Game Designers, Fiction Writers, and Filmmakers," co-written with Keira Wellstrom, aims to empower creators with a deeper understanding of cultural systems. This approach enriches storytelling, making it a potent tool for cultural change and community building.

The Romero Theater Troupe: A Case Study in Social Change

Kilman's graduate research on the Romero Theater Troupe, a social justice theater group in Denver, underscores how storytelling can foster community connections and activism. Their approach to narrating community members' experiences on stage offers a powerful testament to storytelling's impact on societal issues, from environmental justice to labor rights.

Navigating Today's Media Landscape

Our conversation delved into the complexities of modern media. Michael highlighted the importance of diverse narratives and the responsibility to tell more truths, particularly in an era where information is abundant yet often polarized. He stressed the significance of critical thinking and understanding biases in media consumption.

The Role of AI in Creative Writing

An intriguing part of our discussion centered around AI and its role in the creative process. Michael shared insights on using tools like ProWritingAid and ChatGPT for enhancing writing, viewing them as assistants rather than replacements for human creativity. The key, he suggests, is to leverage these technologies to refine our craft without losing the artistry unique to human experience.

Advice for Aspiring Storytellers

To young creatives, Kilman's message is clear: embrace your truth, reflect deeply, and engage with your community. He encourages budding artists to see their work as part of a larger conversation, a communal experience that transcends individual expression.

Click the above image to read more of Michael Kilman’s work on his Substack.

Final Thoughts

Our discussion with Michael Kilman was enlightening and thought-provoking, reminding us of the profound impact storytelling has on our world. Whether it's through literature, film, or any other medium, narratives have the power to change perspectives, challenge norms, and even shape the future.

We invite you to listen to the full interview on "The Colorado Switchblade" podcast. Join us as we explore these themes in depth and discover the endless possibilities that storytelling holds.

Stay creative,

Jason Van Tatenhove, The Colorado Switchblade

Jason Van Tatenhove, an acclaimed author and consultant, intricately blends his expertise in writing and political activism. He penned the non-fiction work ‘The Perils of Extremism’ and several fictional titles set amidst the scenic backdrop of Estes Park, Colorado, such as ‘Colorado’s Chance: The Firewalker.’ As a consultant with Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a vocal contributor to MSNBC and CNN, Jason casts a discerning eye on violent political extremism and misinformation, even testifying before Congress on these pressing issues. His writings have found a home in various publications, including Newsweek, Salon, Giant Freakin Robot, and Estes Park Trail-Gazette, seamlessly traversing through diverse media landscapes across Colorado.

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The Colorado Switchblade
The Colorado Switchblade
The Colorado Switchblade slices through the tangled underbrush of legal and political discourse, from the peaks of Estes Park to the national stage, uncovering the pivotal stories and cultural debates that shape our democratic experience. Helmed by Jason Van Tatenhove, this platform fuses compelling narrative with astute political commentary, spotlighting Colorado's local sagas, captivating fiction, and in-depth podcasts. With a keen eye for detail and a storyteller's heart, The Colorado Switchblade carves out a space where every story is told with precision and every analysis cuts to the core.