Speculative Storytelling in Wayanad

Speculative Storytelling in Wayanad

This was the output of a 5-week course in Wayanad in Kerala, India in the aftermath of the floods of 2018. The Intervention is an educational tool that asks, How it is possible to build aspirations for the future using storytelling?

While studying the Paniya community in Kerala, I was first introduced to the severity of caste issues in India. I have covered all my research about the tribe here The Disenfranchisement of Adivasis in Kerala trying to find ties between their past oppressive histories and their current conditions.

With this project in particular, I have also written a complimentary piece that fills up a lot of the gaps here .

We wanted to let the children create their own stories using our tapestry tool. However, we also decided to make a sample tapestry just as a test prototype. Gopika and Veda used a simple stitching method with any waste cloth to help the kids create these stories.

We needed cultural context to make the stories relevant and reachable to the kids. We needed to use metaphors that came from within the community and not entirely from our heads. For this reason, we organized and analyzed, whatever we knew about the community under the Causal Layered Analysis. The CLA helps us identify the invisible threads that run under societies and services. This was where we derived the metaphors that we used in the story.

Their traditional dance, ‘Vattakalli’ is inspired from the movement of elephants, so we wanted to keep the elephants central to the story. The elephants represent their belief in themselves. The rain and the floods were an obvious reference to the 2018 floods.

People Involved: @GopikaVerma, @JahnviVegad, @VedaSeshan, @MicahAlex

My contribution: Literature Review, story writing, story boarding, activity guide, Participatory Design, Speculative Design

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