My name is Melisa Allela, a PhD student at Technical University of Kenya.
My research topic is Storytelling through Experimental Animation: Challenging Traditional Frameworks of Representation which focuses on storytelling through experimental animation by exploring the use of animation techniques and emerging technologies as a medium for relaying works of African oral communication (orature). Additionally, my research also focuses on how individuals can retell works of orature that were recorded on text.
Mawazo Institute has provided lessons in academic writing, planning and budgeting, as well as grant application and management. This has been highly beneficial since this study is not a taught PhD which also translates that skills such as academic writing are not dealt with.
As someone who has applied for grants unsuccessfully before, through this training, am able to fully gain an understanding on the limitations in my application. Issues such as who your team members are and what their expertise is in are considered by the grant mangers especially in knowing whether the team will be able to implement what they have set out to do and how they will interpret their budget. In the previous times, we had a big budget and a small team that could not properly articulate all the stipulated objectives. Another vital thing i took from the training is the importance of tapping into other platforms that would be relevant in grant management research
Africa orature, owing to its participatory nature, is difficult to document when you record it since it loses the interactivity between the story teller and the audience. To solve this, am working on creating a model for retelling works of orature while maintaining its interactive capacity. To accomplish this am using virtual humans (3D avatars) that can interact with human persons in models. Am hoping this can pick up discussions in animations world as there is a little discussion and production in Africa literature and how it can be applied in telling works.
In conclusion, I’d like to encourage women in research to embrace and view emerging technologies as things you can tap into and how these new technologies can inform your culture and the world.