Traditional Stories and Interactive Storytelling

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Traditional Stories and Interactive Storytelling: Exploring Innovative Ways to Learn from the Ancestors

This page presents educational resources for developing interactive tools in traditional storytelling by teachers and researchers in the fields of ethnobiology, ethnobotany, ethnoecology, human ecology, anthropology, biology and related fields. This is a memory and a follow-up from the workshop: “Stories of the Ancestors: Uncertainty and Resilience in a Vulnerable World”, developed during the 13th International Congress of Ethnobiology held in Montpellier, France. The session was co-chaired by Simone Athayde and Elaine Sponholtz, from University of Florida. The objective of the workshop was to explore innovative ways to learn and share knowledge through interactive storytelling, weaving arts and sciences.

In the session, we explored the message and the role played by myths and traditional stories in coping with uncertainty in a world of increased risk and vulnerability. To do this, stories were shared with the audience using innovative and interactive tools, exploring new ways to “experience” and learn complex scientific concepts. We applied experiential learning (learning-by-doing) and constructivist approaches to adult learning in groups.

The participants had the opportunity to experience a diversity of interdisciplinary tools and methods for cultural interaction (such as participatory games and activities, role playing, musical instruments, hands-on activities, craft making, storytelling, theatre, multimedia), in the exploration of myths, storytelling and divination.

The organizers and scholars conducting the workshop will creatively share scientific knowledge of characters, themes, elements and symbols brought out by the myths and stories.

Through this Wikiversity page, people will be able to access and contribute resources and ideas for the application of the approach and methods developed in the workshop in their own work, including the education of ethnobiology and related fields.

Let’s collaborate to share ideas and develop the theoretical and methodological approaches for interactive storytelling of ancestral stories!

Some questions addressed in the workshop

• What is the role of stories in teaching traditions and our common cultural heritage?

• What is the role of myths and symbols in indigenous peoples’ cultural resilience?

• What are the ways in which myths and traditional stories bridge the gap between humans and nature?

• Can powerful stories help us cope with uncertainty?

• What do traditional stories have to offer humanity in an age of increased uncertainty and risk?

• How can new technologies support and enhance cultural interaction and learning?

• How might scientists, artists and local people work together to improve the human condition on Earth?



1) The Contribution of Socio-ecological Meaning in Graeco-roman, Biblical and Polynesian Myths to Climate Change Education. Presenters: Dr. Sonia Vougioukalou - Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent; Dr. Maria Kokolaki - University of Kent & Institute of Educational Policy, Greece; Dr. Evangelos Kyriakidis - Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies & Initiative for Heritage Conservancy, Greece; and Gerald McCormack - Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust.

2) Health, Sangoma Divination and Vulnerability in South Africa. Presenter: Ayesha Ahmad, PhD student, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, UK.

3) The Epic of Gilgamesh as a Cautionary Tale: Mesopotamia, Mythopoetics, and Media. Presenter: Elaine Sponholtz, PhD student, College of Journalism and Mass Communications and Digital Worlds Institute, University of Florida, US.


Sensory walk interactive exercise

1) Air & Water, Forest & Rice in Today’s Cosmogonic View of the Palawan Highlanders Confronted to Nickel Rush (Philippines). Presenter: Nicole Revel, Senior Emeritus Researcher, CNRS, University René Descartes Paris V, France.

2) The Forest has Eyes: The Role of Traditional Stories in Biodiversity Conservation and Cultural Resilience. Presenters: Bruce Hoffman, Economic Botany Curator, Leiden Herbaria, The Netherlands; and Charlotte van t' Klooster, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam.

3) From Nature to Culture and Back: Indigenous Knowledge on Bees and Contemporary Challenges for Socio-ecological Resilience in the Amazon. Presenters: Dr. Simone Athayde, Tropical Conservation and Development Program and Amazon Conservation Leadership Initiative, University of Florida; Dr. Vivian Zeidemann, School of Natural Resources and the Environment and Tropical Conservation and Development Program, University of Florida, US; and Lianne Jepson Guerra, University of Florida College of Education, Distance Learning Program.


Interactive tools:

• Interactive poetry reciting

• Digital storytelling

• Role playing

• Sensory walk

• Puppetry

Concepts explored in the session:

• Stories, cosmologies and attitudes towards nature

• Traditional stories, myths and socio-ecological resilience

• Oral traditions and cultural resilience

• Ancestry and contemporary continuum of tradition

• Epistemology and interdisciplinarity

• Experiential learning