Southeast Asia Library Group (SEALG)
Women are important storytellers and bearers of cultural heritage in Laos. However, their voices are rarely heard outside their communities, due to their traditional homebound responsibilities and their lack of confidence in participating in public forums. At the same time, traditional folktales and legends are in danger of dying out, as an older generation passes on and young people prefer entertainment from television and the internet.
With this in mind, the Luang Prabang Film Festival and the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre launched the Women and Folktales Project to empower ethnic minority women in Laos and document and disseminate traditional stories using film.
Funded by the US Embassy Vientiane, the project filmed seven women, from Hmong, Kmhmu, and Tai Lue villages around Luang Prabang Province, recounting 19 traditional folktales in their native languages. These films were translated into Lao and English, subtitled, and are now archived within the digital libraries…
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The Story of Story in South Asia is a project aiming to explore the shared elements in the narratives of Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical Hindu traditions.
The research aims to explore the role of story in the shaping of religious ideology in early South Asia, showing how Hindus, Buddhists and Jains used story to present and contest their ideas of self and other, and past, present and future. It will also consider how certain generic characters, such as the king or the sage, suggest points of contact between these religions.
The project is a joint venture between Cardiff University and the University of Edinburgh running from January 2013 to the end of 2015.
The three-year project will culminate in story-telling events in Cardiff and Edinburgh, a new book based on the project’s findings and various academic articles and papers to be shared among the academic community globally. We will also be convening a panel at a major international conference in order to raise awareness and critical discussion of our research theme amongst other scholars. There are also plans for a television documentary series that will explore how story has impacted on our past and on the modern world with an emphasis on South Asia and its diaspora.