The Storytelling Collective

The concepts of journeys and migration are fundamental to understanding the modern world and its inter-connectivity. Through the Ancient Journey’s and Migration module we can see how such an idea should not be limited to the modern world. The ancient world was all too familiar with movement.

We want to emphasise the importance of storytelling and the sharing of culture that can come about from these concepts of migration. The Storytelling Collective is a project being undertaken by students from the University of Exeter’s Department of Classics and Ancient History. Our goal is to establish refreshed methods of discussing migration, journeys and the stories and networks that are created through them.

Our project is designed to present and engage in activities that promote alternative means by which one may perceive both ancient and modern mobility in addition to ideas of cultural interaction. It is important that this project helps develop an understanding of journeys as an individual experience as well as a phenomenon that relies on connectivity and interactions. Using our knowledge of the ancient world, more specifically the ancient Mediterranean, we aim to study the nature of migration, journeys and stories through a plethora of ancient sources. However, this should not eclipse the importance of the more modern collective story-telling nature to our project. The goal of our project was to take charge of activities that allow ourselves and the wider public to think about ideas of migration and journeys in the modern world but with the importance of the ancient being brought in throughout; mobility based around cultural interaction being a large part of this.

The project:

We engaged in numerous and increasingly diverse means by which to construct our project. One sub-project was to establish new entries for the Oxford Classical Dictionary. We felt as our project developed there was an ambiguity to some terminology which we may provide clearance on and therefore improve for future audiences.

Another sub-project consisted of using ties between culturally specific phenomena to define stories and this process of journeying and migration. In the case of our project we wanted to emphasise the importance of music and ancient pottery. This consisted of project members gathering together resources for a showcase on how cultural intersections could occur around such phenomena.

As these pages will detail, part of our efforts were directed towards Pilton Community College in Barnstaple. Here, team members provided several hour-long sessions to the young students; allowing for the children to interact and think about migration and journeys in new ways.

To help us with aspects of our project we requested the help of Giocherenda. A group of young refugees from Africa who arrived in Italy with the fascinating idea to create and build games that promote the concepts of storytelling and sharing. We invited the group to help engage in a presentation on their knowledge and experiences. We also had the Giocherenda take part in the school project. This helped the children become more aware of the means by which stories can be told and how these can be used to look beyond the ancient Mediterranean, to more modern-day perspectives.

This project was not without its challenges, but we would not hesitate to take part again in order to experience what has truly been a culturally enriching and educationally diverse project. We have wholly appreciated the opportunity to create it our Storytelling Collective and we hope you may take something from it.

We are grateful to all our funders: The Exeter University Classics Department, Classics Society, Archaeology Society, ExTalks, and The University of Exeter's Annual Fund. With especial thanks to: The Giocherenda, Refugee Support Devon, Plinton Community College, Christopher Gill, the Pegasus Journal and our module supervisor Elena Isayev.

Enjoy the journey.



Written by: Andrew Mallon.

Edited by: Isobel Phillips and James Johnson.

Image copyright Vectorshock: