About the project

We create dynamic and immersive storytelling experiences based on traditional African stories using new and emerging technologies, such as Virtual Reality and Virtual Humans, to celebrate and share oral traditions of storytelling. In addition to retelling these stories, we are building a Library of culturally relevant digital assets to contribute to the preservation and sharing of both tangible and intangible heritage.

Motivation

The problem: Works of African orature, owing to their innately participatory nature, cannot be properly documented via films or books. This limitation arises from the fact that narrative in legacy media, and in general written cultures, is typified by a linear progression of plot. Oral storytelling, on the other hand, tends to be more iterative. It combines song, chant, banter, mimicry and more, merged with costume, dance, and gesture. These are brought to life through social interactions with an audience in a multimedia extravaganza.

The solution: In a rapidly changing world, emerging technologies such as VR and Virtual Humans, can help us preserve the traditions of oral storytelling as well as the timeless tales told across many different communities. These new methods of retelling old tales provide us an opportunity to share, celebrate, and experience this intimate relationship between a storyteller and their audience.

Team

Melisa A. Allela

Project Lead, Creative Content Developer (Concept Art /Character Design/Animation), Programmer

Brandon J. Young

Cultural Researcher, Creative Content Developer (3D Modelling, Sound Editing) and Script writing

Timothy A. Akello

Script writer, Communication and Outreach

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