Programme Category: Sacred Universe
Date: 24-25 January 2014
Venue: Mahasarakham University, Thailand
This is the second of two workshops on the Art of Storytelling planned as a component of SEAMEO SPAFA’s project on “Southeast Asia’s Untold Stories”as presented in the 6th Five-Year Strategic Plan (2012-2016). SEAMEO SPAFA’s participation in the First MSU International Storytelling Festival was a success, and provided a forum for seven traditional storytellers from the region to share their stories with conference participants, which amounted to more than 300 people.
With such success, the Western Languages and Linguistics Department is pleased to provide partial funding for the MSUISF2014 at the BP Samila Hotel and Resort, Songkhla, and seek collaboration with SEAMEO SPAFA again. The major theme of the festival is environment, both natural and cultural. This falls into the scope of the present project that SEAMEO SPAFA is co-organizing with APCIEU concerning educating through illustrations. Following the SEAMEO SPAFA–APCEIU project framework, SEAMEO SPAFA will participate in the MSUISF2014 through a storytelling workshop session to recount stories about Southeast Asian festivities as illustrated in traditional paintings (identified and selected by the SEAMEO SPAFA–APCEIU project). The festival comprises the following planned activities:
- 2 Keynote Addresses
- 5 Master Class Workshops
- 2 Storytelling Showcases
- 2 Storytelling Concerts
- 2 Story Sharings and Swaps
The inclusion of storytelling techniques in teaching methodologies, regardless of the discipline, is quietly but quickly gaining momentum as its benefits are now being recognized by educators in many fields. The problem is that most people feel inadequately trained to use storytelling as a teaching tool. The Art of Storytelling Workshops would seek to begin to address this perception, and provide examples for teachers at secondary and tertiary levels. Although stories have been around since time began, what is quite often overlooked is that there are many traditions that are predominantly oral, and thus many stories that are not recorded. For this purpose, the Art of Storytelling workshop seeks to record stories, previously not found in print, that emanate either from people themselves or from material sites displaying visual depictions that tell a story or are in fact representative of a story – historical, archaeological, or social.
- Provide a forum for Southeast Asian storytellers to share their stories with an international audience
- Record oral stories on Southeast Asian cultural environment and festivities
- Encourage the use of storytelling as an educational tool
Methods to Achieve Objectives
SEAMEO SPAFA will work with collaborators and regional partners to identify storytellers to lead the workshop session. Guidelines and materials will be provided to storytellers beforehand to facilitate their storytelling performances during the workshop session. The workshop session and the stories told will be recorded.
This workshop is the second activity of SEAMEO SPAFA’s “Stories from Southeast Asia Revealed” programme, and thus will provide significant input for future activities. The workshop session will be recorded and disseminated through different means, while stories told will be documented. It will also provide additional but crucial data to the SEAMEO SPAFA–APCEIU Illustrators for Education project.
It is envisaged that the Art of Storytelling workshop, that will complement a series of activities on storytelling at the festival event, will reinforce the significance of using stories as a teaching tool, and highlight the traditional wisdom found within the stories. Previously unrecorded stories that are transmitted orally only will have been recorded for the benefit of future generations.
On 24-25 January 2014, SEAMEO SPAFA in collaboration with Mahasarakham University, Thailand (MSU); Taksin University; Songkhla Municipality; and the Indigenous Wisdom Learning Center of Songkhla, Thailand held the “Art of Storytelling Workshop” and participated in the “Second MSU International Storytelling Festival (MSUIF2014)” in the southern province of Songkhla, Thailand. Songkhla was chosen as the location for the workshop in order to coincide with MSUIF2014, which allowed for a greater audience-reach. The main theme of MSUIF2014 was the environment, both natural and cultural.
SEAMEO SPAFA’s storytelling workshop entitled “Telling Stories to See the World”, which was the second activity of SEAMEO SPAFA’s “Stories from Southeast Asia Revealed” programme, facilitated storytellers in recounting stories about Southeast Asian as well as Korean festivities as illustrated in traditional paintings. The traditional paintings were identified and selected by SEAMEO SPAFA together with APCEIU in a joint project entitled, “Cultural Understanding through Paintings of Southeast Asia and Korea”, which is a Southeast Asian-Korean collaboration.
Storytellers who participated in the workshop included: Mr. Agus Nur Amal, a renowned storyteller/actor from Aceh, Indonesia; Ms. Charlot Cachuela, an art facilitator/storyteller from Museo Pambata, the first children museum in the Philippines; Mr. Thant Zin Soe, the founder of a volunteer storytelling group in Myanmar; and Ms. Alicia Dong Joo Bang, a storyteller/educator from South Korea.
The storytellers, together with other international, local and youth storytellers, participated in storytelling concerts on the beach of Songkhla town and at a fisherman’s village of a nearby district. In addition, they told stories to primary and secondary school children at a local municipality school to provide cultural exposure to students and to bridge cultural gaps through storytelling.
Participants in the two-day festival comprised approximately 30 MSU students and professors, 14 international storytellers, 400 school teachers and their students, as well as a large number of villagers and interested individuals in Songkhla and nearby provinces.
Overall, the “Art of Storytelling” workshop was able to reinforce the significance of using stories as a teaching tool and highlighted the traditional wisdom found in the folklores.