Empathy and Storytelling: Fiction

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Kód Zakončení Kredity Rozsah Jazyk výuky Semestr
311MESF zápočet 3 24 hodiny výuky za celý semestr (45 minut), 57 až 72 hodin domácí příprava anglicky letní

Garant předmětu

Jméno vyučujícího (jména vyučujících)



Our public discourse is polarised, our social fabric is torn. We suffer from a general lack of empathy, which is reflected in the stories we tell. Emotions, identification, and empathy are central to all storytelling, but many filmmakers tend to view these as byproducts of their craft. This workshop puts emotions and empathy at the center. The ethos is that empathy can be used as a tool for story development on a number of levels, such as structure, character development, and plot. The workshop is titled “Empathy and Storytelling: Fiction” and draws on my personal experience as a scriptwriter and on my research on empathy and how it relates to storytelling.

The approach is practical, playful, and creative, as the students develop their own fictional stories during the two-part workshop. Therefore it is firstly aimed at students of directing and/or scriptwriting, and at all students that have the desire to develop their creative practice, deepen their writing skills, and to make their stories more complex and emotionally engaging.

The aim of the workshop is to increase the student's knowledge and awareness of the importance of empathy in the narrative process and help them develop a mindset that is sensitive to the emotional elements in the stories they tell. An important aim is for the students to see the value in becoming more compassionate filmmakers and storytellers, and to give them practical means that help them achieve that goal – tools they can use in their future creative practice.

Výsledky učení

After completing the workshop the student:

Předpoklady a další požadavky

100% attendance is required during the three-day workshop.


Coplan, A., 2004. Empathic Engagement with Narrative Fictions. J. Aesthet. Art Crit. 62, 141–152.

Egri, L., 1972. The art of dramatic writing, New York: Simon and Schuster.

Gaut, B., 2010. Empathy and Identification in Cinema. Midwest Stud. Philos. 34, 136–157.

Keen, S., 2006. A theory of narrative empathy. Narrative 14, 207–236.

Nåls J., 2019. Making the strange familiar: the functions of empathy in intercultural film narrative, Univ. of Helsinki/Unigrafia, Helsinki.

Vaage, M.B., 2010. Fiction Film and the Varieties of Empathic Engagement. Midwest Stud. Philos. 34, 158–179.

Wondra, J. D., Ellsworth P. C., 2015. An Appraisal Theory of Empathy and Other Vicarious

Emotional Experiences, Psychological Review, Vol. 122, No 3., 411-428.

Hodnoticí metody a kritéria

Student will be assesed pass/fail based on their attendance, class participation and completion of the assignments given to them.


Visiting teacher: Jan Nåls

Jan Nåls has worked as a scriptwriter since the late 1990s, and as a script consultant and teacher in film and media since the early 2000s. In his creative practice, he explores themes of displacement, identity, and power. He also teaches scriptwriting and directing at Arcada in Helsinki, Finland. For over ten years he was part of an exchange program between Africa and Finland, an experience that changed his approach to stories, and led him to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Helsinki. His thesis explored the functions of empathy in intercultural narratives. He remains curious as to what moves us emotionally, and how we come to understand the other and the world around us.

Další informace

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