We are pleased to share news that Dr Pawas Bisht has been successful in securing funding from the Being Human Festival 2021 for the organisation of a series of participatory storytelling workshops and a public screening and discussion event; the activity series is titled ‘Environmental storytelling between Stoke-on-Trent and New Delhi: Tackling Air Pollution’ and involves a collaboration with B arts, the leading participatory arts organisation working in Stoke-on-Trent. Being Human is the UK’s national festival of the humanities, led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. The 2021 edition of the festival is focused on the theme of ‘Renewal’ and runs between 11-20 November. The proposed activities would explore the festival’s theme from the perspective of environmental renewal and draws on Dr Bisht (PI), Dr Giraud (Co-I) and Dr Kidwai’s (Co-I) ongoing British Academy funded project on ‘Storytelling for Environmental Change’.
The workshops would engage young people (18–25-year-olds) from Stoke-on-Trent enabling them to produce their own stories about the problem of air pollution in their city and their imaginations of sustainable urban futures. The participants will engage in a two-way conversation with UK and India based researchers, environmental advocates, and filmmakers to share knowledge around environmental storytelling. Drawing on this dialogue, and with the mentorship of B arts based artists Martin Gooding and Natalie Willatt, the participants will produce four short films examining the issue of air pollution and environmental degradation in Stoke-on-Trent. A public event will be scheduled in the festival week (between 11-20 November) for the screening of the films and a discussion about environmental futures and the role of stories and storytelling in enabling cultural and behavioural change.
Overall, the proposed activity aims to:
Provide an opportunity for the development and sharing of community-led imaginations and stories of urban environmental renewal
Focus on engaging young audiences who are the most direct stakeholders in the development of environmentally sustainable futures
Build transnational connections and dialogue
Enhance community resilience and skills for the development of sustainable and hospitable environmental futures