Savita Uday

Arts Education
2017-2018

Grant Period: One year and six months

Savita Uday is a researcher, educator, farmer and folklorist. She runs a not-for-profit organisation called Buda Folklore. Based in Honnavar in the Uttara Kannada district, Buda has, over the years, been deeply engaged in documentation and reinvigoration of folk practices of the district, especially those in the Gokarna-Ankola region. Savita herself runs a space in Angadibail, a village near Gokarna, from where she has been working very closely with the members of the Halakki, Siddi and the Kare Okkalu communities of the region in an attempt to revitalise many of their artistic and culinary practices. This grant enables Savita to facilitate storytelling sessions in the school involving teachers and members of various tribal communities.  

The three communities that reside in the Gokarna-Ankola region have a wealth of songs and stories as part of their oral traditions. These stories, among other things, talk about the flora, fauna, agricultural and food practices, rituals, and beliefs of the region. They also foreground their own relationships with the land, river and the sea and all other things that are part of their local environment. This project aims to bring in singers and storytellers from the communities as teachers / facilitators who will enable for the students a richer understanding of their own social, cultural and environmental context that will connect their classroom learning to  live experiences.  

The school chosen for this project is a Government Primary School in Angadibail. The project will involve students and teaches of classes fifth, sixth and seventh standards. Over a period of a year, Savita will conceptualise and facilitate sessions where members of the Halakki, Siddi and Kare Okkalu communities, the school teachers and the students will come together to document folk narratives, share and create their own stories and prepare illustrated storybooks. Stories narrated in the class by community members will be documented in audio and text formats. Following this, students will be encouraged to collect stories from parents and grandparents in their own homes. There will be storytelling competitions for the children in order to encourage them to create and narrate stories. Subsequently, these stories will be illustrated and compiled as a picture book. Visual artist Antara Mukherjee, who has been working with Buda for many years, will be the resource person who will work with the children to create the illustrated books.

Savita sees this project having a two-fold objective; a) to document and revitalise the fast disappearing oral tradition of the communities; b) to enable a deeper and richer learning experience for the students by locating their education within their own contexts. 

The outcomes of this project are an illustrated storybook and audio and textual documentation of the stories which will all be part of an exhibition in the school. The Grantee's deliverables to IFA with the final reports will include the illustrated storybook, audio and textual documentation of the stories along with video and still documentation of the process and the exhibition.

This grant is made possible with support from Citi India.