Four talks & workshops that will help you become better at storytelling, photography, interviewing – and knowing what art is.

Toro Town Storyworks' Mikkel Elbech will be
the presenter and instructor in all four.


Cutting Through the Noise:
Storytelling for Creatives and Small Businesses

Shoot, Select & Edit:
Identifying How to Become a Better Photographer

That’s A Good Question:
The Craft of Interviewing

The Darwinian Definition of Art:
Art is a naturally occurring phenomenon, even



The story you present about yourself – as well as your project, service or product – is all-important to your success. And the more limited your resources are, the more important it is that you get it right the first time. If not, your story will not be able to cut through the noise of today's media landscape.

This is a workshop targeted at everyone, who understands the value of PR and marketing, but whose time and budget do not allow for any detours. This is particularly relevant for creatives and small businesses, who often tend to focus more on the work itself than how to communicate it. 

The workshop helps you identify the shortest possible route between you and the people you want to reach – whether they are journalists and editors, members of the public, or possible business partners and sponsors. Thus, it significantly increases your chances of cutting through the noise – and actually being heard.

When the workshop is over, you will leave with:

  • A unique and inspiring story about your project, service or product
  • An overall plan for how to communicate it to the most important target audiences

The workshop consists of two main parts:

  • Defining the most effective story
    • Presentation:
      An introduction to the craft of storytelling in the context of PR and marketing. You will learn how to:
      • Pick the elements that make up the most effective and relevant story, while also ensuring that you don't oversell your story
      • Tap into the concerns of your audience and, if possible, society at large
      • Balance your personal passion with the professional approach that ensures your audience will both be excited by your story and take it seriously
    • Exercise:
      Based on what you've just heard in the presentation, you will face the exciting challenge of writing the story of your own project, service or product.
    • Discussion:
      Your story, as well as those written by the other workshop participants, will be analyzed and developed further through group discussion. 
  • Communicating the story
    • Presentation:
      Once you have your story down, it's all about communicating it to the right people. And there are many ways to go about this, including the following – all of which will be discussed in the presentation:
      • Traditional PR
      • Social media
      • Your own website
      • Professional networks
      • Opinion pieces
      • Events
      • Advertising
    • Exercise:
      In this exercise, you will create an overall communications plan that maps out the most important people to target and the most effective channels to reach them through.
    • Discussion:
      Your plan, as well as the plans of the other participants, will be analyzed and developed further through group discussion.



  • The full workshop is 7 hours (including lunch hour and breaks).
  • A half-day workshop (3 hours) that focuses on one of the two main parts is possible, too.
  • A 1-2 hour presentation format without exercises (but with Q&A) is also an option.

Participants: 5-15 for the workshop format. No limit for the presentation format.

Interactive elements: All workshop participants should bring along a concept for a project, service or product that they wish to communicate. This will be focal point of the exercises and subsequent group discussion.



This workshop will teach you how to identify both your strengths and weaknesses as a photographer. No one has mastered all aspects of photography. There are always ways to improve your craft. But for many photographers, it is difficult to identify exactly which aspect that needs improvement the most.

The approach is simple. The craft is divided into three: Shooting, selecting and editing.

  • Shoot:
    In this part of the workshop, you learn which aspects of your shooting process need improvement the most. And many parameters are at play, when you're trying to get that really great shot.

    There are the technical aspects of the camera, of course. But your surroundings and your use of either natural or artificial light are easily as important. And when you are photographing people, your social skills are quintessential.

    To capture that magic RAW file, all the different parameters have to come together.
  • Select:
    A somewhat overlooked aspect of good photography is the selection process. Many photographers tend to focus too heavily on the technical aspects when selecting the best photos.

    Sure, it's sharp and well-lit – but how is the atmosphere? Are the eyes sparkling, or does your subject have that "out to lunch" look on his or her face? Is the composition interesting? And once you've cut maybe hundreds of shots down to two or three final candidates, how do you pick the final shot to print, share or send to your client?

    This part of the workshop will teach you to be the best possible curator of your own photos.
  • Edit:
    Too many would-be-amazing photos are suffering from either a lack of editing, or simply an unhelpful kind of it. The days of "straight from camera" pride are long gone. There is no photo taken that wouldn't benefit from at least a minimal amount of post-processing.

    To release the full potential of a great capture, there is a wide array of parameters to adjust. There are obvious ones like adjusting the exposure and the composition, but it's just as likely that careful work on the lighting or colors is what will make all the difference. Or maybe it's a subtle retouch, a tight re-crop, or a conversion into a powerful black-and-white image.

    This final part of the workshop teaches you how to look at your unedited shots and release the potential within them.

Duration: Flexible, but typically in the 2-to-3-hour range.

Participants: 5-20.

Interactive elements: All workshop participants are encouraged to bring along a selection of their own photos, which will then be analyzed and discussed with the other participants.



How do you ask the questions that will make other human beings open up and talk about their lives, their accomplishments, dreams and attitudes towards the world around them? That is the focus of this workshop, which teaches you how to prepare, conduct and edit captivating interviews.

To some, interviewing seems like a pretty simple craft: There's something you'd really like to know about someone, so you ask them about it – and then you relay what they answer. But, of course, there's a lot more to it.

Many interviews turn out bland, uninspired and very similar to a lot of other interviews given by that same person. The key ingredients when it comes to avoiding this are solid preparation and a genuine curiosity and interest in what your subject says – as well as firm editing skills.

This workshop walks you through the entire process that maximizes your chances of producing a memorable interview. Through exercises, you get to try out what you learn along the way, including phrasing the best possible questions and interviewing the other participants.

  • Preparing:
    The process begins as soon as you either landed your interview or an editor assigned it to you. The angling and occasion for the interview set the overall parameters you have to operate within, but you are often a lot less constrained than you might think.

    The biggest favor you can do yourself at this stage is to do intensive research on your subject and any topics you want to cover.

    Of course, this stage also contains the most important aspect of all of them – phrasing all the questions you want to ask.The workshop contains more than 10 specific tips on how to phrase questions that are likely to generate great answers.
  • Conducting:
    Entering into the active role of interviewer requires a few mental check-ups. Not only should you be highly familiar with the flow and content of the questions you are about to ask – you should also remind yourself which role you are taking on as an interviewer: Are you a headline-hunter, a critic, a friend, a fan, or a psychologist? Being aware of this will determine the outcome of the interview to an extent that is often overlooked.

    During the interview itself, you are doing many things at once, and it can be a challenge to keep track of them all. First and foremost, you are present in the conversation, actively listening to your subject.

    But you are also aware of which questions have yet to be answered, which one is fitting to ask next – and which ones you might have to phrase on the spot, because the conversation took an interesting, yet unexpected turn.
  • Editing:
    Once the actual interviewing is over, you still have plenty of work to do. The goal of the editing process is essentially to compose the interview by taking the best and most insightful sections from your raw transcription, tightening them up, and then placing them in a meaningful order. Sometimes that is simply the order in which things were actually being said, but sometimes it's definitely not.

    Adding a both catchy and appropriate headline is a craft unto itself. You also have to write an introduction that will let your readers make it through the entire interview without being confused about the topics covered and incidents that are being referenced.

    And even after all this is done, you still have to go through the whole thing and make sure that it's all coming together as well as it possibly can.


While this workshop is mainly targeted at journalists, it will serve to inspire everyone who wishes to improve their interviewing skills. This includes various professional contexts, such as hiring employees or conducting annual reviews. It could even be in private contexts, if you are struggling with what to ask people beyond "did you have a good time?" when they return from a vacation.



  • The full workshop is 7 hours (including lunch hour and breaks).
  • A half-day workshop (3 hours) with a prioritized focus on one of the three aspects (preparing, conducting and editing) is possible, too.
  • A 1.5-2 hour presentation format without exercises and activities is also an option.

Participants: 10-30 for the workshop format. No limit for the presentation format.

Interactive elements: Participants will be engaged in activities and exercises throughout the workshop.



Everyone agrees that art exists. Yet, we are far from a consensus when it comes to the definition of what art actually is. In this thought-provoking talk, an original, Darwinian definition of art is presented to replace all previous definitions. 

This talk challenges an array of common conceptions and definitions of what art is – as put forth by the likes of George Dickie, Arthur Danto, Thierry de Duve, Monroe C. Beardsley and Marcel Duchamp.

The new definition considers art a naturally occurring phenomenon. One that is tied directly to human evolution and our creative urges and abilities. A phenomenon that “begs to be explained in evolutionary terms”, as biologist David Sloan Wilson has put it.

Throughout the talk, the Darwinian definition goes head to head with previous definitions, thereby highlighting their shortcomings, their strong ties to subjective taste and the logical fallacies they are based on.

Special attention is given to Dickie’s famous Institutional Theory of Art. There is very little difference between the instances classified as art according to Dickie's definition versus the Darwinian definition. But the reasons why something is being classified as art differ greatly between the two definitions. In this talk, you will learn how the Darwinian definition renders the core of Dickie’s theory – the institution of art – entirely unessential to the process of classifying art.

The talk covers a wide array of discussions and entertaining examples of how the struggles of defining art have been dealt with in the past – from readymades and animal art to the problem of someone conferring art status on an entire mountain range.

Above all, it will challenge existing perceptions of art – and address the still-prevalent urge to reject something as art, simply because it falls outside of someone's personal taste.


Duration: 1 hour for the talk itself and a Q&A session.

Participants: No limit.