Detoxing Narratives

Durationongoing
FundationThird Mission, in application
Project websitehttp://detox.univie.ac.at/

Stories and tales form a fundamental part of groups, communities and societies. The possibility to commonly refer to agreed important events and experiences made brings about a feeling of shared history, which is central for the constitution of groups and communities. Many of these stories and tales are being shared in everyday life, without further reflection. They become common cultural goods. Where there is no common ground, the implicitness of these references becomes obsolete.

On the one hand, there can be no common ground if the person did not grow up as part of the respective cultural environment, i.e. a foreigner enters the community as a newcomer. Secondly, in order to access the complex levels of the reference frame, a high level of language and intellectual ability is required. On the one hand, this implies an exclusion of those who do not possess the necessary language skills and of persons with "intellectual impairments" due to a perceived inability to comprehend and reproduce stories.

The project focuses on two points: First, it is assumed that stories and experiences that make up the reference frame are not mere reproductions of traditions. On the contrary, they make up a part of daily lives in communities where people do refer to traditional elements, but constantly reinterpret and broaden them by current experiences. This idea of continuous reinvention and performance enables entry points for newcomers and their contribution to the stories told, thus leading to the generation of new stories and provision of new access points.

The second starting point is the question of how these stories and tales are passed on, told and performed. Leaving the strict reference to written traditions aside, which require high levels of ability to understand abstracted language, opens up new modes of accessibility. This enables inclusive spaces of generating and performing stories and exchanging about experience beyond language and intellectual abilities.

 

Academic project team