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Melissa Gilliam

Director of Ci3 at the Univ of Chicago, Gilliam’s team is working on the Kissa Kahani project, which seeks to understand youth through gender and social norms.

Melissa Gilliam
Melissa Gilliam
outlookindia.com
2016-03-04T23:13:01+0530

What is the aim of the Kissa Kahani project?

To gain a deeper understanding of Indian adolescents and factors that influence their well-being.

What are your expectations from it?

To learn from 15-24-year-olds through traditional research surveys and by engaging them in humanistic approaches. Secondly, to understand their gender and social norms through video narratives.

How did the idea come about?

We have used storytelling to communicate more deeply with communities and learn about the interplay of many factors that shape us.

What is the process for the project like?

We share different appr­oaches to storytelling and aesthetics.

How much awareness did you find among the youth when it comes to contraceptives?

Let’s say we are not finding a lot of awareness other than knowing about condoms.

What kind of content will come of it?

Several 3-5 minute video docus made by youth in Luc­know who describe important moments in their lives.

What are the different kinds of techniques used to understand the youth?

In addition to surveys and interviews, we are using life-course narratives, story circles, body mapping, and games to learn about youth.

How was interactions with youngsters like?

Initially, some were timid or aloof. Slowly, they shared personal stories highlighting their perspectives on a range of topics.

Were they comfortable with the recording equipment?

It was an initial barrier but our help eased their transition.

How are the end results like?

We are hearing beautiful and moving stories.

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