The challenges of globalization and diversity affect all of us as our interconnectedness radically grows. Much of Dr. Murphy-Shigematsu’s writing and speaking is directed toward spreading awareness and understanding of how to confront these issues. One approach is through workshops and storytelling events that explore history, culture, communication, and human relations and addresses the complexity of the increasingly multicultural and transnational nature of lives and identities in a globalized world.
Stephen has held workshops for governmental agencies in Japan, Singapore, UK, and US; universities such as Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley, and Waseda University; as well as high schools in Japan and US.
Below are his current workshops for 2016.
The Celtic Samurai is a storytelling of a boy’s journey in a family that crosses borders of race, nation, culture, and religion. Through storytelling, music, and visual images, it humanizes the life experiences of a boy born from the aftermath of a devastating war. As he moves from his grandparents’ home in Occupied Japan to the Irish American home of his father’s family in Massachusetts he confronts the stigma of being different, finding healing and empowerment through connecting to his fragmented self and connecting with others. The Celtic Samurai, a form of cultural healing, has been presented in the U.S., Japan, the Philippines, and England.
When Half is Whole: The Multicultural Person, Family, and Society in a Globalized World, at the Institute for Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan, Tokyo. A storytelling of the book, When Half is Whole, narratives of 11 persons of mixed ancestries, Asian and American, who find meaning and purpose in their lives by connecting to their own multiple parts and also connecting to communities. The author's personal story is blended in as a way of illuminating the issues and struggles.
At Stanford University Dr. Murphy-Shigematsu co-founded the LifeWorks program of whole student development. His courses are based in compassionate mindfulness, and designed to cultivate vulnerability, humility, gratitude, acceptance, and responsibility. The radical curricula integrate contemplative practice into teaching and learning through anti-oppression scholarship, embodied practice, and creative expression.
Dr. Murphy-Shigematsu introduced a narrative approach of “cultural humility” to cultural competence training at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He also developed and taught Culture, Narrative, and Medicine for pre-med majors in Medical Anthropology and Human Biology. Here he demonstrates the storytelling approach in a seminar on Asian immigrants and health in the course Ethnicity and Medicine.
Storytellings in Japan, the U.S., and other countries in Asia and Europe are done at universities, conferences, and for community groups. Ed Sumoto, who runs a community radio station and outreach program with multicultural youth and families in Kobe called Mixed-Roots Japan, has sponsored a number of storytellings and discussions by Dr. Murphy-Shigematsu in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto.