In a world impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the pressing need for innovative approaches to comprehend, document, and contribute to post-pandemic recovery has become increasingly evident. Positioned at the forefront of this endeavor, King’s College, Nepal, proudly announces its participation in the prestigious tri-national research initiative, “Re-storying Community: Arts-based Digital Storytelling for Community Inquiry.” This tri-national collaboration includes esteemed post-secondary institutions such as Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Canada, Paro College of Education in Bhutan, and King’s College in Nepal. We are honored to announce that “Re-storying Community: Arts-based Digital Storytelling for Community Inquiry” is supported in part by funding from the Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF). NFRF supports world-leading interdisciplinary, international, high-risk / high-reward, transformative, and rapid-response Canadian-led international research.
Working with international experts in cross-institutional collaborative contexts, we believe this initiation marks a transformative journey that seeks to redefine the role of community spaces and voices from the community, especially of youth, in the global narrative of post-pandemic recovery.
The primary objective of the project is to understand and foster sustainable community development in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative investigates how youth engagement and community participation can play a pivotal role in shaping communities as spaces of knowledge production. It seeks to understand how youth and community members collaboratively explore, construct, and communicate their responses to sustainable community development post-pandemic. As an inquiry tool, their stories will be collected, through the development and application of arts-based digital storytelling using mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
The project responds to the UN socio-economic recovery framework and offers a collaborative model that explicitly links academic research and community practices. This project aims to analyze digital storytelling opportunities and challenges, aligning with SDGs 3, 4, 5, 11, and 17 to contribute to health, education, gender equality, sustainable communities, and collaborative partnerships.
First team meeting: March 21, 2023. Members from SFU, Paro College of Education, and King’s College were in the planning meeting.
Within the framework of this initiative, we will delve into distinctive avenues that reflect the unique context of Nepal. We aim to display the resilience and vibrancy of Nepal’s youth in the face of unprecedented challenges. Our primary focus lies in conducting empirical studies, on specific experiences during the pandemic and its nuanced journey towards recovery. In close collaboration with local communities and youth, we will navigate this research landscape and authentically capture and represent their diverse experiences. Furthermore, our commitment extends to active knowledge mobilization efforts, creating multimedia content, academic publications, and community showcases that contribute to the global dialogue.
Dr. Ching-Chiu Lin, an Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University, leads this project on digital storytelling for sustainable living and pedagogy through working with researchers in Bhutan, Nepal, the United States, the UK, and Canada. Her research builds a global network exploring community art education, digital media, and art teacher education, providing a robust foundation for our exploration. The following individuals guide this initiative at King’s College: Narottam Aryal, President of King’s College, will take the crucial role of an expert providing consultation on public policy related to issues of education and entrepreneurship in the Global South. He will support the capacity building and knowledge mobilization for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) participating in the research. Udgum Khadka, Head of International Collaboration at King’s College, is the Director of the Nepal hub for the research. In this role, Khadka will oversee research development, communication, and execution. Dr. Bhawana Shrestha, Co-founder of My Emotions Matter and Assistant Professor at King’s College will assist the research development in community sites in Nepal and act as the team’s expert in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Embarking on this initiative, we look forward to collaborating with the aforementioned prestigious institutions, understanding our unique context, and actively contributing to global COVID-19 recovery efforts. Our focus extends beyond exploration; we aim to authentically represent Nepali youth’s experiences and shape narratives that resonate globally. Through dynamic engagement, we aspire to redefine the role of community as a vital space for knowledge collection, making our efforts integral to the ongoing global post-pandemic recovery. In our journey of exploring youth spaces and Re-Storying communities through digital platforms, we strive for meaningful connections and impactful contributions.
– By Prashanna Thapa (Project Assistant)