First speakers announced for The Story 2012

The first batch of tickets go on sale today at noon, via our Eventbrite page, so its time to announce our first speakers.

Matthew Sheret  and Simon Thornton are coming along to talk about music, the lost art of telling a story through sequencing album tracks, and the new patterns of attention around online music. Matthew is’s Data Griot (which basically means storyteller). As a writer and editor Matthew has worked for Newspaper Club, 4iP, Thomson Reuters and Dentsu London, and has contributed to Plan B, Solipsistic Pop and Electric Sheep among others. In 2008 Matthew co-founded We Are Words + Pictures, a team who work to promote the work of comics book writers and illustrators in the UK. He also edits and publishes the comics anthology Paper Science. Simon started  working in recording studios in the late 80s where he met a young Norman Cook and has had strong working relationship with him ever since; through chart-topping projects such as Beats International, Freak Power, and the multi-platinum album selling Fatboy Slim. An obsessive about the process of recording and its technology, he continues to work with Cook as well as many varied side projects, including music for Award winning computer games. I’ve wanted to run a session about storytelling and music at the last two Story conferences, so I’m really pleased we’ve got Matthew and Simon talking this year.

Jeremy Deller is one of the UK’s most fascinating and provocative artists. His work explores issues of collaboration, folk culture and politics through installations, video pieces and performances. In Acid Brass, he connected the brass band tradition of northern collieries to contemporary Acid House music, linking them through their shared background in working class culture. In 2009 he created Procession for the Manchester International Festival, a celebration of folk culture and urban tribes, and has worked with Alan Kane to create the Folk Archive project. Jeremy will be talking about The Battle Of Orgreave, a remarkable reconstruction of the battle between miners and police in Sheffield in 1984. Considered a turning point in Margaret Thatcher’s attempts to undermine union power in the 1980s, The Battle of Orgreave was renacted in 2001 with the collaboration of local communities affected by the miners’ strike, local policeman, and battle re-enactment societies who usually spend their weekends performing civil war battles. The Battle of Orgreave is one of my favourite works of art from the last few decades, and I’m really glad that Jeremy will be coming to The Story to talk about the work and the visceral emotions it generated.

Liz Henry is a writer, blogger, poet and polymath who is a developer at BlogHer and one of the most respected speakers and writers about technology and culture. In 2011, Liz (along with Andy Carvin from NPR and others) started questioning the identity of a prominent Lesbian blogger in Syria called Amina Abdallan Arraf al Omari. Liz’s forensic search for clues about the truth of Amina’s blogging uncovered a remarkable story that led to the revelation that Amina was actually Thomas McMasters, an American student living in Edinburgh. Liz will be at The Story this year to tell the remarkable story of the Amina affair, and what it can teach us about truth, social networks, and how literary fictions can affect real world politics.

So – that’s the first three speakers, and I hope you’re as excited as I am about the stories they’ll be sharing next February. I’ll be putting up more next week when the second batch of tickets go on sale.