Storytelling innovator

EducationWorld January 2019 | People

Dr. Shreepali Patel is the Cambridge (UK)-based director of Anglia Ruskin University’s StoryLab (SL, estb.2017), an interdisciplinary institute that researches different genres of storytelling and analyses their impact on society. Patel is also co-promoter of Eyeline Films whose first documentary was the Emmy award-winning The English Surgeon (2007).

Newspeg. Dr. Patel was in Mumbai to attend the six-day CILECT (Congress of International Association of Film and Television) Schools Conference held in November. The 150 delegates at CILECT discussed and debated ideas relating to films and television education and emerging audio-visual media. In her address to delegates, Patel highlighted the research activities of StoryLab and its impact on broadcast media.

History. An alumna of Cardiff University with a Ph D from Anglia Ruskin, Patel has produced over 30 documentaries (including the BAFTA award-winning Dawn), BBC Radio 4 programmes and moving image exhibitions during the past two decades, often working in hostile environments and political and celebrity arenas. In 2005, she promoted Eyeline Films with producer/director Geoffrey Smith.

Direct talk. “StoryLab was established to research and devise impactful ways to present stories about women trafficking, vulnerability of minorities and international inter-generational identity issues. We are engaged in developing multimodal strands of understanding the intergenerational identities of migrants, particularly those who moved from India to East Africa and then to the UK and US before returning to India. We are researching the cultural influences of lifestyles, fashion and music on these people in society. Simultaneously, we are developing new processes and practices for emerging technologies in cinema, sound and special effects which highlight the experiences and narratives of these migrant communities. My visit to India was to learn about the diverse contexts within which existing and emerging filmmakers are creating stories,” says Patel.

Future plans. Enthused by her experience of India, Patel wants to engage with audio-visual film communicators in India. “StoryLab has established global partnerships with institutes and researchers in USA, Australia and Europe and is planning to extend its reach and collaboration to India and East Africa. We are currently working with media partners to develop novel ways to deliver our research output to schools, galleries and audiences via different media platforms,” she says.

Way to go Sis!

Paromita Sengupta (Bangalore)

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