Our annual education storytelling event is back for a third year on Feb. 12. Register for free tickets (while they last), and leave us a voicemail with your idea for a talk.

Share story

Though most of us interact with public schools at some point in our lives, not much about that experience is universal. The stories we tell from our time in the education system are affected by many factors, including the incomes of our parents, our race and how we learn.

Ignite Education Lab is an opportunity to share the story of your education with the world.

Maybe you suffered because you never had a teacher who shared your heritage or religion. (Or maybe you did have one, and he or she changed your life.) Maybe you fell into the school-to-prison pipeline, leaving prison with 30 felony convictions, but went on to receive a master’s degree (that’s a true story, told at Ignite Education Lab last year). Or, perhaps, your time as a teacher gave you empathy you didn’t have as a student.


Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that spotlights promising approaches to persistent challenges in public education. It is produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

· Find out more about Education Lab  

We want to hear those stories and more. Do you have one you’d like to share? Do you know someone else who might? To start, all you need to do is leave us a voicemail at 206-464-2200 describing the talk you envision.

What is Ignite Education Lab?

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Since 2006, Ignite Seattle has held nearly 30 events that bring together Seattleites for speedy talks on a variety of topics. We borrowed this format (with permission) to allow educators, parents and students share their stories about schools and schooling. Ignite presenters use 20 slides with each slide timed to appear for 15 seconds. Check out some of the presentations from our event last year.

This year, Ignite Education Lab will take place the evening of Feb. 12 at Seattle University’s Campion Ballroom. Tickets for up to four people are free until Dec. 31, so it pays to act quickly. You can get them here.

What are the requirements to pitch?

We accept pitches from people of all ages, employment and educational backgrounds. Our general prompt has been: Tell us about an experience that illuminated a larger truth to you about education.

To pitch, call 206-464-2200 and leave us a voicemail. Your ideas do not have to be completely fleshed out. We’re just asking for a general concept. No business pitches, or stories promoting a brand/company. Make sure to spell out your first and last name, and include an email address. If you want to be extra sure we received the message, send a follow-up email to edlab@seattletimes.com. Put “Ignite Education Lab” in the subject.

What’s the deadline for pitching?

Dec. 31. Get moving!

Why should I pitch a talk?

As a speaker, you have the opportunity to share truths and affirm those who have had experiences similar to yours.  We’re looking for stories that will speak to people from a wide range of economic, racial and gender backgrounds. If you happen to work in education, this is also an opportunity to share what you’ve learned over the course of your career.

If my talk is accepted, will I get help along the way?

Yep. If your pitch is chosen, you’ll receive coaching and advice on how to mold your storytelling style to Ignite’s format.

I don’t want to give a talk, but I know someone with a good story to tell. What should I do?

Send them to us! We can encourage them to apply. Leave suggestions in the comments, or email edlab@seattletimes.com.