• Concept Note
  • Themes
  • Plenary Speakers
  • Performers
  • Demonstration
  • Craft Bazaar Powered by Hastkala Setu
  • Registration
  • Organising Committee
  • Interdisciplinary Scientific Committee
  • Important Dates
  • Contact
  • References

The need for sharing stories has been as old as humanity. The mere opposite of silence is said to be the birth of a narrative. (Price, 1985). The ‘narrative turn’ in the last century heightened the awareness that narrativity is fundamental to all human existence (McAdams, et.al, 2001, Bruner, 1986 and 2002). Consequently, attempts have been made to explore how narratives impose meaningful order in apparent chaos (see Bal 1997; Hinchman & Hinchman 2001), play a crucial role in delineating human subjectivity (Kerby, 1991), resist cultural oppression in telling such as Jean Rouch’s film Les Maîtres Fous (1955). Purposeful applications of stories by both researchers and field practitioners followed as reflected in employment of stories for learning and knowledge transfer strategies (Tyler, 2004), language competence building (Holing, 2006), health behaviour changes (Hammel, 2018), crafting signature stories in organisational context, facilitating culturally responsible interaction across borders and for creation of digital communities in movements such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo.

These constant reinventions in stories have increasingly expanded the conventional definitions of storytelling where “a teller projects mental and emotional images to an audience using the spoken word including sign language and gestures, carefully matching story content with audience needs and requirements” (Council on Storytelling, 8). Interestingly, fluidity and plurality, as manifested in varied genres, techniques, platforms, methodologies and expressions, have been defining features of storytelling in the India context. India, not only has storytelling traditions rooted in 22 official languages recognized in the 8th Schedule of Constitution, but also has oral tales in lesser known 780 languages enlisted in People’s Linguistic Survey of India. Multiple folk retellings and performative renderings of Sanskrit classics such as the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Jatakas, Kathasaritsagara and the Panchtantra serve highlight the incessant negotiations and transactions between mythology, legend, and history, between the high and the low traditions, between the oral and the written formats, between singing and telling, between education and entertainment. Some of these rich folk traditions display sophisticated understanding of the craft of storytelling. For example, the oral tradition in Konkani language identifies close to 200 categories of stories which could be narrated under specific conditions to specific audience in specific locales such as a pipal tree, grazing pastures, in temples, in the front yard of the home, in the backyard of the home, depending on the season, temperature etc. (Devsare, 2016).

Kathakari International Symposium at Anant National University seeks to capture this centrality of storytelling with the aim to discuss, deliberate and demonstrate how stories work, how we use them, how they move about, how they change and how they change us.
Kathakari celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the 2003 UNESCO Convention of the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Storytelling adds to the rich corpus of elements of the intangible heritage of humanity. UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development at AnantU promotes Kathakari International Symposium as a major activity in 2023.

This Call for Papers/Posters invites an expansive array of interdisciplinary topics on the cultural, political, historical, and contemporary aspects of storytelling including but not limited to topics listed under the sub-themes:


  • Content, Context and Functions within Oral Storytelling traditions

  • Continuities and Transformations

  • Oral Narratives and Performing Arts

  • Storytellers as Change Agents


  • Stories from the Margins: Gender/Caste/Race/Community/Sexuality

  • Erasures, Gaps and Absences

  • Storytelling for Protest and Collective Action

  • Power Politics in Storytelling: Lies, Distortions, and Manipulations


  • Stories in traditional arts/ crafts/ plastic arts/ Museums/ Photographs/ Architecture/ Installations/ 2D Art

  • Words and Visuals in Graphic novels/ Comic Books/ Comic Strips/ Cartoons/ Illustrations

  • Graffiti and street art in City Making


  • Adaptations across Media

  • The intersection of technology and culture

  • Storytelling and Principles/Elements of Design

  • Digital Media and filmmaking/Attention Economy


  • The business of storytelling

  • Stories that Heal: Therapy and Counselling

  • Storytelling and Principles/Elements of Design

  • Environmental Storytelling

  • Storytelling in advertising and marketing

Prof James Hegarty

Prof James Hegarty

Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions, Head of School, School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff University

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Dr Skye Morrison

Dr Skye Morrison

Canadian Educator, Researcher & Designer in Traditional Crafts including Collaborative Design & Folk Life
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Dr Eric Miller

Director, World Storytelling Institute, Assistant Director, East West Center for Counselling and Training
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Dr Madan Meena

Dr Madan Meena

Independent Artist and Folklore Researcher. Hon. Director, Adivasi Academy, Tejgadh, Chotaudepur, Gujarat
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Ami Ganatra

Ami Ganatra

Author of Mahabharata Unravelled & Ramayana Unravelled

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Dr Anunaya Chaubey

Dr Anunaya Chaubey

Provost, AnantU & Director, Anant Fellowship, AnantU Salzburg Global Fellow
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Prof Dr Amareswar Galla

Prof Dr Amareswar Galla

UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums & Sustainable Heritage Development, AnantU
Emeritus Faculty, The Australian National University, Canberra
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Dr Diti Vyas

Dr Diti Vyas

Associate Professor of Communications and Writing, AnantU
Researcher in Children’s Literature and Gender Studies
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Pandavani is a traditional narrative singing style from the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. It tells the stories of the Pandavas, the five brothers from the Indian epic Mahabharata. The stories are sung in a local dialect and accompanied by a tambura (a stringed instrument) and a pair of wooden clappers. The main singer, or vidushi, is typically accompanied by a chorus and a harmonium player.

Pandavani is a centuries-old tradition that has been passed down through generations of families. It is typically performed by women and is considered a form of devotional music, as it tells the stories of the Pandavas, who are considered incarnations of Hindu gods.

The performance style of Pandavani is characterized by its emotive and powerful singing, precise rhythms, and deep understanding of the stories and characters of the Mahabharata. The performances can be quite dramatic, with the singer often acting out the characters and scenes as they sing.

Dr Teejan Bai

Dr Teejan Bai

Recipient of Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri Awards
Renowned International folk singer and performer for Pandavani

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Dastangoi is the art of storytelling that developed around the stories of valour and adventures of Amir Hamza, an Arab hero, a thousand years ago. These stories became popular when they entered the Urdu canon and the art form reached its zenith in the 19th century North India. But with the demise of Mir Baqar Ali, the last known exponent of the art form, in 1928, the form also died with him. The modern revival is an effort of two gentlemen, SR Faruqi, the noted Urdu litterateur, and Mahmood Farooqui, who conceived the modern format of the art form.

Poonam Girdhani

Poonam Girdhani

Dastango, Theatre & Film Actor

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Rajesh Kumar

Rajesh Kumar

Dastango, Veteran Theatre Actor

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Intergenerational Transmission of Culture through Storytelling from students of Vasanth Shala

Vasant Shala, run by the Adivasi Academy, Tejgadh offers multilingual education in the Chhota Udaipur district of Gujarat. In its curricula and pedagogy Vasanthala gives primacy to the children’s oral and cultural traditions of tribal communities. Their stories, poems, songs, art, and theatre connect students to their cultural heritage and also give them an opportunity to understand from practical, hands-on learning experience and develop sensitivity and respect for diverse cultures.

Demonstration Stories Lineup
1.Ek Yayo Ane Sui (mother and child) by Vasantha Bhill
2.Banevi and Chito (Jamai and Lion) by Parshu Dhanak
3.Jamai ni Jadu by Ketan Bhill
4.Dosa ni Kachindo (Granny & Girgit) by Ranjan Rathava
5.Lalchu Chuha (Greedy Rat) by Viraj Rathva
6.Dosa ni Kukda by Alisa Bhill

The Hastkala Setu Yojana project in Gujarat is an initiative of the Commissionerate of Cottage and Rural Industry, Government of Gujarat, with the aim of creating a favorable entrepreneurial ecosystem in the state for traditional arts and crafts. The project covers 33 districts in Gujarat and has trained 14,479 artisans through 529 capacity building programs.

The project acts as a bridge between the artisans and budding entrepreneurs by creating incubating facilities to link them to potential markets such as the Crafts bazaar. These linkages have resulted in the generation of sales of ₹.22.10 crore by the artisans.

The main goal of the project is to design and implement an integrated model that enables rural entrepreneurs to have access to entrepreneurial opportunities for their livelihood generation and sustainable development. By supporting traditional arts and crafts, the project aims to create successful grassroots entrepreneurs and preserve traditional skills and knowledge.

Crafts that will feature at the Bazaar @ AnantU

Bandhej – Also known as Bandhani, is a tie and dye craft practiced in Gujarat and Rajasthan. It involves twisting, tying and dyeing fabrics to create beautiful patterns in colors like yellow, red, blue, green and black. The patterns are used to create sarees, shirts, kurtis, lehengas, salwars, dhotis and other Indian garments, with cottons, pure silks and georgette and chiffon being used.

Mata ni Pachedi – Kalamkari is an ancient hand-painting technique using natural dyes and a tamarind pen. The name derives from “kalam” meaning pen and “kari” meaning craftsmanship. Designs are drawn and filled in by hand, using vibrant earthy colors like mustard and indigo. In Gujarat, it’s known as Mata Ni Pachedi, with the central theme of Mataji.

Block Printing – It is an ancient method of printmaking where intricate patterns are hand-printed onto textiles using wooden blocks. The carved blocks are a work of art and create a raised texture on the fabric. Gujarat is famous for various block printing techniques such as Ajrakh, Saudagiri, Khadi, and Batik.

Bead Work – Gujarat is known for its bead craft, where local craftsmen make intricate decorative items and jewelry by weaving together multi-colored beads. This technique, called bead weaving, involves using seed beads to create both two-dimensional designs and three-dimensional objects. Bead weaving is a thriving tradition in India, practiced by both men and women.

Leather Craft Work – The Meghwals of Rajasthan brought the leather craft to Gujarat’s Kutch district. They transformed raw hides into useful products. Over time, the craft has evolved to meet modern demands while retaining its durability and longevity. The tanning, coloring, and processing of leather result in unique and long-lasting items.

Bamboo Craft Work – Bamboo craft is an ancient and durable craft, popular for its versatility and availability. The Kotwalia community in Narmada district of Gujarat are traditional producers of bamboo crafts. It is an affordable material used to create everyday items like stools, mats, baskets, as well as decorative pieces. Recently, it has also become popular for making fashionable items like ashtrays, flower vases, and picture frames.

Agates – Agates are colorful stones mined in Khambat, Gujarat, which is one of the world’s largest stone bead working centers. The sturdy crystal is broken, heated, chiseled, bleached, and polished to create beautiful beads. Agates come in various colors like yellow, moss, rose, black, white, and grey hues, with the blood-colored stone being the most popular. They are used for jewelry and decoration purposes.

Hand Embroidery – Kutch Embroidery is a traditional craft of Gujarat, practiced by the tribal community of Kutch District. It involves stitching mirrors or glass pieces onto cotton fabrics using silk or cotton threads. The designs are inspired by daily life, animals, birds, flora, and religious places. Each community has a unique style that has evolved over time.

Click here to register today and reserve your spot at the Kathakari International Symposium on Storytelling.

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Conference Chair
Dr Anunaya Chaubey,
Provost, Anant National University
Ph.D. in English Literature, Patna University;
Salzburg Global Fellow
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Co – Chair / Mentor
Prof Dr Amareswar Galla, PhD
Professor and Director, International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership;
UNESCO Chair on Inclusive Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development
Emeritus Faculty, The Australian National University, Canberra
Salzburg Global Fellow
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Dr Diti Vyas
Associate Professor;
Ph.D. in English Literature, IIT Gandhinagar
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Co – Convenor
Jasmine Gohil
Professor and Associate Dean, Academic Affairs;
Master’s in Urban Planning, Bhaikaka Center for Human Settlement, APIED
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Project Management
Sharvari Mehta
Manager, International Center for Inclusive Cultural Leadership
Anant Fellow in Built Environment (2017-18)

The following names are in alphabetical order

Chaubey Abhishek

Assistant Professor, AnantU

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Fernando Joel

Assistant Professor, AnantU
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Gaur Akash

Assistant Professor, Moving Images, AnantU
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Dr Gowreesunkur Gaitree (Vanessa)

Associate Professor, AnantU
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Dr Mohapatra Subhalaxmi

Associate Professor, AnantU
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Nair Neha

Assistant Professor, AnantU
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Pandey Amitabh

Professor and Head, Communication Design, AnantU
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Roy Risha

Assistant Professor and Lead, Sustainable Fashion and Textile Design, AnantU
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Sagara Sharmila

Associate Professor, AnantU
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Dr Soni Roma Madan

Professor, AnantU
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Dr Sood Ashima

Associate Professor, AnantU
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Dr Vyas Diti

Associate Professor, AnantU
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1. Please submit a 350-word abstract/A3 poster mock-up and a 200-word biographical statement with the subject line, “Kathakari 2023_Abstract Submission_Theme Name” on or before 15th January 2023 for round 2 to storytelling@anu.edu.in. The abstract/poster mock-up submission should indicate the theme clearly. The selection of abstract/poster mock-up will be announced on 1st January 2023 for round 1 and 1st February 2023 for round 2.

2. Final posters and full papers must be submitted on or before 15th February 2023 for round 1 and 5th March 2023 for round 2.

  • A. The full paper submissions must be no less than 1500 words and no more than 5000 words in length and must adhere to the APA 7th edition referencing style, with a font size of 12 in Times New Roman and must be double spaced. High-quality submissions would be considered for publication. More details will be announced soon.

  • B. Posters can either highlight research results dealing with the conference tracks or present their creative rendering. The poster should be in A3 size with 20+ font for titles; 12-point font or larger for text, using a sans serif font (e.g. Arial, Calibri, Geneva, etc.)

Call for Papers / Posters – Round 1
Abstract Submission: 15th December, 2022
Notification of Acceptance: 1st January, 2023
Full Paper Submission: 15th February, 2023

Call for Papers / Posters – Round 2
Abstract Submission: 15th January, 2023
Notification of Acceptance: 1st February, 2023
Full Paper Submission: 5th March, 2023

Please feel free to direct any question or comment to: storytelling@anu.edu.in

Bal, Mieke (1997) Narratology: An Introduction to the Theory of Narrative. 2nd edn. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Council on Storytelling (1980). Miscellany. The Yarnspinners 5.(4), 8.
Devsare, Hari Krishna (2016). भारतीय बाल साहित्य.. Trans. Indian Children’s Literature. India: Sāhitya Akademi.

Galla, Amareswar (2008). The First Voice in Heritage Conservation. International Journal on Intangible Heritage Vol 3, pp. 09-25.

Hammel, S. (2018). Handbook of therapeutic storytelling: Stories and metaphors in psychotherapy, child and family therapy, medical treatment, coaching and supervision. Routledge.

Hinchman, Lewis & Hinchman, Sandra (2001) Introduction. In Lewis Hinchman & Sandra Hinchman (eds), Memory, Identity, Community: The Idea of Narrative in the Human Sciences. New York: SUNY Press.

Honig, A. S. (2007). Oral language development. Early Child Development and Care, 177(6-7), 581-613.

Houston TK, Allison JJ, Sussman M, et al. Culturally appropriate storytelling to improve blood pressure: a randomized trial. Ann Inter Med. 2011;154(2):77-84.
Kerby, A. P. (1991). Narrative and the self. Indiana University Press.

McAdams, D. P., Josselson, R. E., & Lieblich, A. E. (2001). Turns in the road: Narrative studies of lives in transition. American Psychological Association.

Tyler, J. A. (2004). Strategic storytelling: The development of a guidebook for HRD practitioners using storytelling as a business strategy for learning and knowledge transfer. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Columbia University, 2004). UMI Dissertation Abst Price, R. (1978). A palpable God: Thirty stories translated from the bible: With an essay on the origins and life of narrative. Atheneum Books.