"Story Mile" Revives UAE Tradition of Storytelling


March 6, 2014

“Story Mile 2014”, the 2nd edition of Zayed University’s “Al Kharareef Club” storytelling initiative, has recently been launched as part of Abu Dhabi Festival, representing the UAE’s mythology at the 6 Continents Festival located in Khalifa Park.

 Commemorating the World Storytelling Day (March 20), the Story Mile-a gateway to the UAE’s Pavilion at the Festival, is an open air exhibition that showcases 50 original traditional Emirati fables and fairytales written and illustrated by Zayed University students featuring 24 archetypical characters authenticated by the Department of Heritage, Culture and Information Sharjah.

The pieces narrated in English and Arabic to be aired on English and Arabic radio during this month.

Al Kharareef Storytelling Club celebrates the tradition of storytelling by preserving, retelling and creating Emirati fables and folktales. The students wish to continue sharing the oral storytelling history of their ancestors and grandparents that is being lost with time; and safeguard Emirati culture rich and evident in the UAE.
Story Mile was designed to re-introduce Zayed University to the rich Emirati tradition of storytelling as they get engaged in the acquisition of language development. The project has grown from a classroom initiative to a commission from Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation (ADMAF) to create original stories for the 10th Anniversary of the Abu Dhabi Festival.  

It has blossomed into a rich cultural literacy project that highlights the best of Emirati visual and narrative art in a collection of traditional Emirati fables and fairytales.  While the project was assigned to Zayed University in English, Sheikha Al Yazia's ZOWD Foundation were generous in their support in assisting to fully translate the project into Emirati dialect, the language of the characters.