Tallin Tallin is a Mandinka phrase used to denote the beginning of a story...
Translated into English it means, "Are you listening? I am about to begin"
Tallin Tallin Update
We achieved our initial target, with 15 days to go which is AMAZING!! As we have 14 days left of our campaign our next goal is to fund the distribution of the Tallin Tallin books to primary schools in the Gambia for free. Please see updates for more information. Thank you to everyone who has supported so far!
To learn more about our Tallin Tallin project read on...
Tallin Tallin Story Project
When starting out in 2014, Tallin Tallin's aim was to locate and document the rich tradition of storytelling in The Gambia, West Africa: stories told around African fires at night; evening entertainment that has captured the imaginations of children and adults for so many years. The project is now at the stage where we can collate these stories into a beautifully illustrated book, to be distributed to every primary school in The Gambia so that they can be shared and enjoyed for generations to come. We are hoping that you can help make this happen!
Why this project matters...
In The Gambia, schools and libraries often contain many generously-donated books from Europe and America, but none of these have a solid rooting in, or understanding for, the landscape and the people of the places they are located. Gambians have very few books or illustrated documents of their own stories; instead, oral storytelling is the traditional way of relaying rich narratives to the younger generation. For generations these stories have enthralled and amused listeners, sparked discussions and debate, nurtured creativity, and taught important cultural and moral values. However, as younger Gambians are increasingly living away from their extended families, and TV and radio are being introduced, this form of storytelling is becoming rare. If these stories are not preserved, and engagement with them ceases, there is a real risk that as the generation that knows them passes they will be lost to this rapidly developing country forever.
It is vital we act now... as the collecting progressed we found that many of these stories remained only faintly in the memories of people, and many had lost their memory of them altogether...
How we are helping...
Tallin Tallin has recorded, translated and transcribed 43 of these stories. Now we are finalising the illustrations for 30 of these stories to be printed and bound as books, to be used as a Gambia-centric rather than Western-centric teaching aid in every primary school in the country; preserving them both digitally and in paper form.
The project will revisit these stories, get younger generations listening to them again, and introduce them into schools. In doing so, we will create a resource that celebrates local heritage and culture, encourages engagement with literacy, and has direct relevance to the people of The Gambia and their culture, landscape and society.
Now that's something to smile about!
About the stories
The stories are moral stories, a cross between folklore, fairytales and fables. Animals talk, plants come to life, magical creatures appear and shapeshifters are everywhere. The stories take the listener or reader on a journey through West African landscapes: hopping into a cotton tree, being tempted by a kabaa fruit, and getting chased by a larger than life calabash. They are funny, sad, empathetic, and a celebration of life.
The journey so far...
Up to now, we have travelled 914km across The Gambia collecting stories, in 7 different languages, that have been audio recorded, translated and transcribed into English.
Printing workshops were held with women in The Gambia to create patterned papers, inspired by African fabric prints. From these, paper cuts of the various characters and objects featured in the stories have been made, and these are collaged to create the illustrations for the book.
What will be created from this Kickstarter Campaign
With your support, we will print 1000 beautifully illustrated, high-quality hardback books, each with 200 pages, containing 30 of the Tallin Tallin stories we have collected during our trip across The Gambia. These books will be written in English, so that they meet the requirement of the Government of The Gambia that pupils in school be taught in English. We will then ship these books to The Gambia, where they will be distributed to every Lower Basic school in the country, free-of-charge.
We are working with a printing company to make this happen within the budget specified should the campaign be successful.
The other excellent news is, we have full approval from The Gambian Ministry of Education.
Timeline and Budget
Along with the books we will be distributing a digital version of the illustrations along with the audio recordings in native languages. The money has been raised privately for the digital version to be completed.
Money has been privately raised to cover the costs of the pledges, fees and marketing for this campaign, if it is successful, Therefore the budget and target for this Kickstarter is to cover the printing and shipping costs alone.
Your support is vital in making Tallin Tallin come to life
As a backer of the project, you are directly helping to preserve these stories and bring them to a new audience. Just £10 of your money is equivalent to providing one book, which could impact around 100 children in one Lower Basic school in The Gambia. Achieving our funding goal will enable us to provide books to 1000 schools, and positively impact around 100,000 children.
We are extremely grateful to everyone who supports this project.
Meet the Team
I am the creator of Tallin Tallin, I am an artist working in immersive and site specific theatre. Working with communities both nationally and internationally, I develop visual ideas and narratives to create large-scale performative installations and make projects happen within places they seem fit.
I have been visiting The Gambia since 2004, in 2005 the idea of Tallin Tallin started to hatch.
“I noticed that schools and libraries had many generously donated books from Europe and America, but none of these have a solid rooting or understanding for the landscape and the people of the places they are located.
As a child stories and poems were what sparked my imagination, they expanded my thoughts and creativity and encouraged me to explore and be curious. The landscapes I saw and read about in my stories were the same as those I would walk through on a Sunday afternoon with my family; I would run through and get lost in the same grasses and flowers that were depicted on the pages of my books. In 2014 I started to make this important project happen.”
Eleanor is a photographer and archivist, we have developed the grass roots ideas of the project together and travelled many miles collecting and documenting the oral stories. She has been the person who captures the wonderful moments along this journey.
Naomi Kyuck Cohen
Naomi is a theatre designer and has been my faithful collaborator in storyboarding, papercutting and illustrating for Tallin Tallin.
Malang works for WYCE, he is at the heart of Tallin Tallin project; he is the Gambian coordinator, and has been integral in reaching out to different communities in The Gambia. He is the chatter and explainer, without whom this project would not have been possible.
Oli has been a part of Tallin Tallin since 2014; he has been a fellow traveller collecting stories and an essential part of their transcribing.
WYCE (Wonder Years Centre of Excellence) have been essential in the project so far, providing guidance and support. If it wasn't for WYCE the idea of Tallin Tallin wouldn't have started.
If you are outside of the UK but have friends and family in the UK then we are happy to send your reward to a UK address. It will save you a little on postage.
Risks and challenges
As an artist specialising in large-scale and immersive theatre, a lot of my work involves working with local communities and their stories. I am aware of how important these stories can be to those who know them, the special place they hold in people's hearts, and the need to use them respectfully. I have done everything I can to make this project as ethical as possible from the very beginning, and it has got to this stage through many years of working with the same communities in The Gambia. Everybody who has participated in the project by sharing their stories is aware of the project's aims and its intended outcomes. People in The Gambia really want Tallin Tallin to happen; they are deeply aware of the importance of these stories, and the real risk that they may be lost, and are excited by the prospect of them being preserved for future generations. We know they would be so glad if you could help that prospect become a reality!
Many of the projects that I work on involve managing large budgets and adhering to a fixed timescale (nobody wants to see a piece of theatre that isn't finished!), and I am confident in my ability to complete this stage of the project in a timely manner. We will, for example, work to employ the correct company to ensure that all of the paperwork involved in the shipping and release of the books is handled smoothly. Nevertheless, in The Gambia timescales can change rapidly - the locals call this "Gambian time" - and so, with this in mind, I have included some 'wiggle room' in the project timeline. Nevertheless, "Gambian time" may take place at any time and so we are prepared to be flexible, within reason, as to timings once the books reach The Gambia. We think this project could make a real impact on people in The Gambia for years to come, and so we would rather wait a little longer than planned in order to complete the project properly.
Following this stage of Tallin Tallin, the next challenge is to ensure distribution of the stories to communities throughout The Gambia, including in rural areas. I will be working with my colleagues in The Gambia who I have been working closely with for over 13 years to create a close team of distributors including myself, to ensure this project is delivered to exactly who we intended it for.
If you have any questions, we would be happy to to answer them, post in the comments on this page or email us from the contact page on www.tallintallin.comLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)