EXL LAB: Quest for Sanctuary

The USC Dornsife Office of Experiential and Applied Learning, EXL LAB, creates experience and maker-based programs and events for students, faculty, and staff in association with campus departments and offices, and secondary schools associated with the university. 

Quest for Sanctuary flyer


“Every child needs a faery godmother, someone to turn to in times of peril.” ~ Terri Windling, Author and Editor of The Armless Maiden

“This is what faery tales do. They give us hope that we can somehow be saved, rescued, healed. Transformed in some way for the better. As we travel with the faery tale protagonist through the dark and dangerous forest, as we suffer with them and triumph with them, we follow them back into the brightness of a world renewed. Faery tales are an instruction manual for psychological healing.” ~ Kate Forsyth, Author of The Wild Girl

Wednesdays, 5-7 pm, Sept 27-Nov 8, URC Fishbowl… Dinner provided!

Registration is open! Apply here.

For thousands of years, fantasy and faery stories have captured the secrecy, the intimacy, the hidden knowledge, and hopeful promise of comfort and refuge for children in distress. These stories offer an escape to a safe place where we can process our feelings when life’s dangers and mysteries threaten to overwhelm us. Within the emotional sanctuary of the faery tale, we find the shelter and security that frees our imagination to explore and discover who we really are. The trials that faery tale heroes face illustrate the process of revelation and transformation: from youth to adulthood, from victim to hero, from passivity to action. Within faery tales, we can mend what is broken; here, we can be reborn and love again.

Uniquely for a literary genre, faery tales are historically associated with women’s voices rather than a literate elite. This lends a particular familiarity, accessibility, and variety to the tales, prompting folklorist Marina Warner to call faery tales “a common language of the imagination.”

In this five-part series of workshops and speaker events, we invite USC students, faculty, and staff to sit together around the candlelight and listen to acclaimed contemporary fantasy authors as they tell their favorite faery stories, read from their own work, and speak about their creative process, ultimately guiding us to explore and discover our own. We will experience how these tales engage and entertain while also serving as a valuable tool and model for emotional well-being, healing, and personal growth.

Apply now!

For more information: Kiel Shaub

Kiel Shaub

Kiel Shaub, PhD, is the Academic Curator (AC) for EXL Lab, an experience-based program initiative at the USC Dornsife Office of Experiential and Applied Learning under Associate Dean Tammara Anderson. As AC, Kiel develops, designs, and teaches dynamic experiential and maker-focused programs and events with USC faculty and the Lab’s non-academic partners.

Previously, Kiel taught as a lecturer in the English Department at UCLA, where he earned his PhD. In the English Department, Kiel enjoyed teaching introductory courses on critical thinking, reading, and writing, as well as advanced courses on the literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While at UCLA, Kiel also co-taught “The History of Modern Thought,” part of the College’s innovative Freshman Cluster series.

Dr. Shaub would love to hear from you!