The German American Heritage Center presents Dr. Ada Cheng's “Our Words, Our Truths: Storytelling as Performative Memoir for Collective Identity & Community Engagement" -- April 11.

Sunday, April 11, 2 p.m.

Presented by the German American Heritage Center

The art of storytelling from an immigrant's experience will be explored on April 11 when Davenport's German American Heritage Center presents the online program Our Words, Our Truths: Storytelling as Performative Memoir for Collective Identity & Community Engagement, a workshop in which Dr. Ada Cheng will discuss her own experience as a producer who creates various platforms for people to tell community stories.

A storyteller, solo performer, show producer, educator, facilitator, and speaker based in Chicago, Cheng was a tenured professor in sociology at DePaul University from 2001 to 2016, until she resigned to pursue storytelling and performance full-time. During her tenure at DePaul, she taught subjects on gender, sex, sexuality, masculinity, and immigration, and her collaborative project with the National Cambodian Heritage Museum Oral History in Action: Integrating Storytelling & Community Engagement received the 2019 Asian Giving Circle grant. Their joint project Storytelling, Healing, & Resistance in the Age of the Pandemic, meanwhile, received the same grant in 2020.

Cheng has also brought her two solo performances to theatres and universities across the nation. She debuted her first solo piece Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire in 2017 and has since performed it at the National Storytelling Conference, Capital Fringe Festival, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Boulder Fringe Festival, Des Moines' Kum & Go Theater, and Chicago's Collaboraction Theatre. She debuted her second solo show Breaking Rules, Broken Hearts: Loving across Borders in 2018, and has since performed it at the Exit Theatre in San Francisco, Theatre Row with the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York, and Theatre 68 with the Los Angeles Women's Theatre Festival.

A speaker for Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, Cheng is on the Board of Directors for the Chinese American Museum of Chicago; is a racial healing circle practitioner with Truths, Racial Healing, and Transformation Chicago; and is an adjunct faculty at Dominican University and a teaching artist with Changing Worlds. She currently works as the Education and Outreach Specialist with Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, doing training and programming on issues related to gender-based violence.

In Our Words, Our Stories, Cheng will reflect on four distinct questions: What does community-based storytelling mean? How can we use personal stories to critically reflect urgent social issues of our time? How can we utilize storytelling to create intimate and vulnerable community spaces? And how do we use personal storytelling for collective identity information and community engagement? Her workshop, which will be hosted live via EventBrite, is free to the public, but donations are greatly appreciated.

Our Words, Our Truths: Storytelling as Performative Memoir for Collective Identity & Community Engagement will be presented at 2 p.m. on April 11, and more information is available by calling (563)322-8844 and visiting

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