Gangtok, January 23, 2013
Acoustic Traditional embarks on a historic project, yet again, in an effort to take forward the movement for the conservation of indigenous oral history and folklore in the country.
Taking forward the success of the organisation’s 3rd Annual National Confluence, Festival of Indigenous Storytellers, held at Darjeeling last year in December, the NGO will now work with over 30 storytellers from as many ethnic / tribal communities across the country. The ‘Lost Stories’ Project is what will make this possible.
“The Confluence gives us a window to interact with storytellers from around the country. However, the event is organised for 3 days only and much of the focus remains in bringing the ‘relevance’ of our stories through interactions with NGO representatives, media, professional storytellers and academicians. As such, the duration of engagement with participating storytellers is usually limited. And there was a realisation that storytelling and engagement with storytellers should be at a regular pace with a creative process of dissemination to engage with a broader group of stakeholders,” says Abhishek Pradhan, Operations & Media Head, Acoustic Traditional.
The ‘Lost Stories’ Project will bring together over 30 tribes and their storytellers from across India and the South Asia-Pacific region in a unique effort to record some of our / their vanishing myths, legends, folktales and sacred stories and to advocate for the need to conserve what we are losing in terms of our rich intangible heritage. The outcome will be a publication (audio/visual) of the narratives shares.
The Project also hopes to study areas of similarity in the stories, myths, legends and oral history between the various mountain and forest communities. Supported by the Global Institute (www.gisdel.org), the Project will also look into areas of capacity building, especially in terms of dissemination and sustainability for community-based organisations.
Beginning this January 2013, the project over the following eight months (until September 2013) will play a critical role in uniting mountain and forest people for the first time and promoting rare oral traditions through the Mountain Storytelling Centre, Darjeeling, set up through the organisation.
The Project will focus on stories and storytellers especially from communities in the region alongside communities that are in decreasing numbers in the country.
With the documentation sessions already started from the 5th of this month, the first two months will focus on storytellers from around the region – Sikkim and Darjeeling – and
feature those who have been a part of various AT documentation projects since 2010.
With storytellers coming from around the country on a weekly basis from February onwards, the Project offers a glimpse of hope in the conservation of vanishing folklore and storytelling tradition of mountain and forest communities – something that has been an integral part of a community’s traditional wisdom, spiritual philosophy and identity.
The Centre also begins its first Mountain Storytelling Centre Lecture Series this
weekend which will host series of lectures by various academic speakers (including
video conferencing) on the ‘need to conserve indigenous oral history and folklore’ at the
Mountain Storytelling Centre, Darjeeling, alongside a storytelling session. Two of the
speakers, Kachyo Lepcha and Shivani Aggarwal are currently working in Sikkim.
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