Facts through fiction

Updated: Oct 11, 2019, 07:33 IST | Dalreen Ramos |

The country's first science-centric storytelling festival takes shape with unique narrative techniques, puppets, music, and workshops

Venkatraman has been a storyteller for over 20 years
Venkatraman has been a storyteller for over 20 years

It's the week of the Nobel Prizes. A recognition awarded annually via a fund bequeathed by the Swedish chemist and businessman Alfred Nobel, it epitomises outstanding work across the sciences, literature, and peace. But as the former two continue to be looked at as binaries in society, there isn't enough room to explore the intersection between science and the arts. That's why the country's first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) storytelling festival that will be held tomorrow at Worli's Nehru Science Centre is a much-needed start.

(From left) Lubaina Bandukwala; Usha Venkatraman

Titled Scifari, the event was founded by Usha Venkatraman with Lubaina Bandukwala, the founder of the Peek-a-Book Festival of Children's Literature, as co-curator. It comprises sessions with expert storytellers using unique narrative techniques, puppets and music in English, Marathi, and Hindi. Venkatraman says, "The genesis of the festival goes back 24 years. I was explaining Indian classical music to children and started connecting math and music together, the taal and rhythm being based on mathematical calculations. But the idea for an event started building up in 2010 and gained momentum in January 2018."

The day-long festival will see her conduct three sessions herself including one on basic physics, cybersecurity, and chemistry. Elaborating on the second one, Venkatraman says, "The story is based on two detective children who jump into a chat room within a tablet. I talk about what we need to keep in mind while children use such chat rooms, putting out your personal information and the genuineness of information conveyed."

The event will also feature two workshops helmed by science educator Amitabh Pandey. While one will teach kids to make a sundial in the outdoors, another session will have children creating a large-scale solar system and walking through it. As Venkatraman says, a story opens a doorway for children to uncover the mystery. "We want attendees to make an informed choice."

ON October 12, 9.30 am onwards
AT Nehru Science Centre, Dr E Moses Road, Worli.
LOG ON TO insider.in
COST Rs 250

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