“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also reap that broken dignity.” –Chimamanda Adichie
11.01.2018 – DESIS EVENT
This past November, Emily Carr’s DESIS Lab invited the Obakki Foundation and founder Treana Peake in for a late afternoon of experimental storytelling around her work with Refugees in South Sudan. This storytelling event, which brought together Emily Carr graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff was an opportunity for the community to hear, see and consider a multitude of narratives around the realities of refugees. Through a compilation of stories, each told in a distinct way, Treana shared perspectives and provided space for those gathered, to reconsider their assumptions about acts of flight and individuals forced to seek shelter from danger, or difficulty. The unthought,inexperienced and unimagined were brought to the fore.
A unique team, comprised of three masters students and three faculty members were on site documenting the different stories throughout the evening using their various modes and means of communication: design writing, photography, illustration, cartography. In the 3 months following the initial DESIS talk, the AHOS team held regular meetings to share the documentation they produced and formulate a concept for further distributing the 5 stories they heard at the event.
The AHOS team decided to create a loose-leaf publication of stories housed in a finished box. This allowed for each story to be treated individually and with a certain level of care. Through an combination of images, drawings, sound recordings, notes and other modes of documentation, each story was unthought and unimagined by the team.
The publication is itself a reflection and response to the stories heard at the event, and the dialogues that grew across the project. Encapsulated within the publication is a multitude of personal experiences, and parallel positions, which, in turn, each reader becomes a part of.
PASSING THEM OFF
Since the publication has been printed it was presented to the students of INDD 310 S002: Core Studio Industrial Design, facilitated by Heather Young. This undergraduate studio course asks students to “consider and address key elements being tackled by design today.” Building on current dialogue between Emily Carr’s DESIS Lab and the Obakki Foundation, students are utilizing the different resources made available through the Material Matters Research Centre’s Textile Adaptation Research Program (TARP) and the cloTHING(s) as conversation project. “Students will have the opportunity to work on an external facing project that addresses decolonial practices in design, the role of philanthropic endeavours in design, narrative (as a design tool) and the capacities of textiles and textile products in an arguably fraught political, social and environmental climate that is in flux.” (Source: https://www.connect.ecuad.ca/programs/courses/INDD/310/S002)