Earlier this month, ARDA’s Project Coordinator; Rebecca Ebenezer-Abiola set off for Sydney, Australia to attend and present at the ‘Sydney International Storytelling conference’. She has since returned but is still basking in the excitement of the conference and all it stands for.
The Sydney International Storytelling conference focuses on the tradition and practice of Oral Storytelling with the aim of preserving and promoting storytelling and its relevance within many areas of education, health, welfare and artistic performance.
For Ms. Ebenezer-Adeola, this hit close to home as at ARDA, storytelling is a part of our identity. For years, we’ve communicated development messages through storytelling. It is the ARDA way to generate stories from the target communities and then utilize these stories as a tool for learning and development.
This lends a degree of authenticity to the productions. For instance, in one of our drama design workshops, we were told about a woman in a polygamous marriage who was targeted for kidnapping and murder because her junior wife’s family blamed her for the death of their relative. Elements of this single tale were then spun into various plotlines for a number of our dramas. In this case, the themes of polygamy and spousal competition are very well known to many Nigerian communities, regardless of demographics.
In addition to attending the conference, Ms. Ebenezer-Adeola also used the opportunity to share ARDA’s work with a wider audience. Her poster presentation titled ‘KAYEMO’ which means – ‘let the world know’ in Yoruba language, centered on amplifying the voices of marginalized groups through storytelling. The poster also highlighted ways in which ARDA uses various forms of storytelling to address social issues.
Various professional workshops held during the course of the conference. The use of storytelling in education, community building, as a tool for healing and well-being and many other fields and situations were explored in these workshops. In addition, there were sessions to help attendees develop their storytelling skills and techniques. It certainly gave Ms. Ebenezer-Abiola a fresh perspective and some new ideas for our storytelling techniques.