An Interview with Micaela Blei, Award-Winning Storyteller, Educator, and A Finding Aid to My Soul Host!

The Committee on Public Awareness (COPA) is collaborating again with our favorite professional storyteller, Micaela Blei, for our archivist and archives-centric storytelling event, A Finding Aid to My Soul, on October 6, 12:00 pm — 1:00 PM CT.

Micaela Blei, PhD, is a storyteller, educator and editor based in Brooklyn, NY. She’s a two-time Moth GrandSLAM winner, former Director of Education for The Moth and former third grade teacher who has told stories, taught storytelling workshops and hosted shows around the world. She gives keynotes and research talks on storytelling and empathy at conferences and universities nationwide. Micaela’s stories can be heard on The Moth Radio Hour and podcast, the acclaimed podcast Family Ghosts, and many others. You can find out more about her upcoming online courses and hear more stories at

Check out our first interview with her in 2019.

This is your third time hosting COPA’s A Finding Aid to My Soul. Last year we took this event online for the first time. What surprised you about last year’s event? What do you think the benefits are of an online event? 

It was a surprise how well it worked! I was nervous at first: it was our first time working together for a show that was fully online. But I was thrilled when people shared their reactions— that they found it meaningful, connecting and most of all fun. I think the benefit of an online event— and this isn’t news to us, now that we’ve been doing things online for over a year— is accessibility. It was amazing to see people logging in from all over, who might otherwise not have made it to a live event.

You offer coaching and storytelling workshops to all kinds of groups. What is it like working with archivists? 

I find archivists to be really fun to work with, partly because of my own personal fascination with libraries and archives! I worked in an archive as an undergrad (at Beinecke, for the amazing Pat Willis) and it has always felt like the career I never had. Also, archivists understand stories! You all are immersed in stories all the time, and you’re communicators in so many modes— to the public, to stakeholders, to the people whose archives you are stewarding. In short— you’re my favorites.

Is there anything else you’d like to share regarding your work as a storyteller and educator? 

Just that I’m thrilled to be back working with SAA and I truly can’t wait to work with some new archivist tellers this year!

Listen to a story by Micaela Blei, Arielle Petrovich, instruction and outreach archivist at the University of Notre Dame; and Kira Lyle, grad student at the University of South Carolina on Archives in Context podcast, Season 3, Episode 2: Finding Aid to My Soul, Part 1.

Don’t forget to pitch your story! Last week our call for stories for “A Finding Aid to My Soul” Virtual Event went out.

Pitches are due August 31. Selected storytellers to be notified by Sept. 5. 
Pitch it here! 

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