Tradition, Technology and Healing: Using Digital Tools to Transmit Oral Traditions


In what ways can young people draw connections between their lives today and oral traditions or culturally rooted poetry traditions that span generations? How can technology be employed to make traditional arts accessible in a remote learning environment? How can it serve students’ social and emotional learning in meaningful ways? What are the creative strategies teaching artists can use to center marginalized or unfamiliar traditional art forms while also helping their students center their own experiences? These are some of the questions presenters address in this session facilitated by City Lore Director of Education Programs and poet Sahar Muradi and featuring teaching artists Mei Kazama and Samira Sadeque. Mei Kazama presents on their experiences teaching the art of kamishibai, a traditional Japanese narrative form that brings together illustration, text, oral narration, performance and community engagement. Samira Sadeque shares on teaching poetry traditions such as haiku duels and praise poems by integrating video, anime, virtual guest visits and other tools and strategies. The session conveys the surprising potential presenters discovered in combining oral forms, technology and personal narratives in cultivating a healing space for young people to process their experiences of the last year, with a specific emphasis on the opportunities for culturally responsive and sustaining teaching through traditional culturally based art forms. Presenters share insights, resources, technology tools and sample lessons they developed, and invite the audience to share their thoughts and experiences and insights.


Mei Kazama, Teaching Artist, City Lore
Sahar Muradi, Education Director, City Lore
Samira Sadeque, Teaching Artist, City Lore

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Author profile

Title: 2280 Pasos Bajo un Cielo Nublado | Artist: Hernán Jourdan | Medium: Film

When I was asked to create a work of art exploring literacy, I wanted to create a dance but I had no dancers or a studio, so I chose to use my own body in the space I had, my yard. Fluent Nature is video of micro-choreography that explores what cannot be expressed with words, how nature has its own language, and how placing the human body in nature changes the story.

Title: What Is Me and What Is Not Me | Artist: Alex Chadwell | Medium: Music

My thinking on arts and literacy centers around the concept of literacies and artmaking as both sense-making and meaning-making processes that organically and inevitably overlap, intersect, and reciprocate. Compositionally, What is me and what is not me is a sound collage of sorts (there is no notation for the piece, and I'd be hard pressed to recreate it accurately) that abstractly and aurally represents the relationships between literacies and artmaking.

Title: A Curious Honeybee | Artist: Gideon Young | Medium: Film

Offering welcome through traditional and digital elements of literacy, A Curious Honeybee provides an experiential learning environment by activating visual, musical, natural, and emotional literacies.

Title: Tercera Llamada | Artist: Karilú Forshee | Medium: Audio

La Carpa Theatre is a project that I am currently directing in the Detroit Latinx community. The project aims to strengthen and uplift youth voices through devised theatre, in the style of the Mexican Carpas. This audio was created in the theatrical environment envisioned for our project. The ways in which literacies are re-defined are at the heart of La Carpa Theatre's mission.

Title: Literaseas | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite and ink on paper with digital edits

Title: A Riddle | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits

Title: False Binaries | Artist: MJ Robinson | Medium: Graphite on paper with digital edits