Beyond the Border – Wales International Storytelling Festival will be launching its CASGLU (GATHERING) sessions internationally online for Welsh and sub-Saharan African storytellers to gather and discuss their creative work as storytellers online.
Thanks to funding from the British Council’s Working Internationally grant programme, Beyond the Border is hosting six online meeting spaces from March 2021.
Launched during lockdown, Beyond the Border’s CASGLU sessions have been held on a Friday morning online as a meeting space for storytellers. Through regular sessions which last an hour to 90 minutes, storytellers discuss hot topics of artistic interest and mutual concern, share practice, develop ideas, network and build relationships.
Each session, facilitated by Beyond the Border’s bilingual Engagement Co-ordinator, Tamar Williams, begins with provocations by 1-2 artists/guests, followed by breakout rooms to discuss in small groups. Through CASGLU/GATHERING, artists build relationships and challenge one another, increasing their individual sense of agency as well as their identity as part of a community with growing critical mass.
International CASGLU will open up sessions on the first Friday of each month starting from March as spaces to gather international artists, creating opportunities for storytellers from initially three Sub-Saharan African countries (South Africa, Ghana, Kenya) to meet Welsh storytellers, share work, articulate themes and creative agendas which are inspiring and engaging them.
Beyond the Border’s Artistic Director, Naomi Wilds said, “As an organisation dedicated to promoting and supporting the traditional skill of oral storytelling, we are especially keen to hear from oral storytellers. However, the sessions will also be open to artists working across multiple artforms whose work links to telling or re-framing narratives. There’s potential for rich dialogue exploring bilingual and multiple language storytelling and work in translation, with follow up collaborative digital creativity addressing global audiences’ appetite for innovation, as well as authentic traditional stories.”
Sinead Russell, Director of Literature at the British Council, said: “We are delighted to support Beyond the Border’s International CASGLU project. It will provide a timely opportunity to bring together storytellers from Wales and Sub-Saharan Africa to share and explore their work, and to build connections. The British Council’s Working Internationally grant scheme, which supports this project, aims to provide opportunities for organisations in the UK and around the world to work together in new ways, on a wide range of literature programmes. We look forward to seeing the project develop.”
There is also the possibility that digital ideas from International CASGLU could be supported by Beyond the Border in the future, supporting professional development, facilitating new collaboration and enabling artists to gain a much stronger understanding of each other’s’ work.