'Open narratives': Narrative as collaborative co-creation through collective cultural memory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Narrative ethnography is a testimonial of accumulated knowledge, narrated as a subjective personal experience for an interpretative audience, built on the format of storytelling. Recently, the digital paradigm has enabled the narrative to extend as a collaborative exercise where the digital media acts as a mediator of the narrative. This article is an attempt to develop a new form of narrative structure, evolved through collaborative dialogue between the community. The digital media acts as a trigger for narration based on memory ultimately generating a collectively constructed story as opposed to the traditional notion of narrative being constructed by a teller for a reader. Developing on the theory of collective cultural memory of Jan Assman (1995), the narrative is created within a community as a collaborative co-creation. We begin with generating an autoethnographic first person narrative content using digital media e.g.images /video, which acts as a mnemonic device, triggering the narrative dialogue. The narrative is thus generated in a workshop format, where the images are displayed on the screen and the community refers to them while they narrate memories. The collaborative exercise allows addition, correction and validation to the narration. This paper discusses a narrative we recently conducted in a rapidly changing urban space within India. This exercise is part of our larger agenda of understanding architectural place and its transformation under the influence of embedded technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOpen Design for E-very-thing
Subtitle of host publicationCumulus Working Papers
EditorsCecile Kung, Elita Lam, Yanki Lee
Place of PublicationHong Kong
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-60-0081-7
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventCumulus Conference: Open Design for E-very-thing - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 21 Nov 201624 Nov 2016

Publication series

NameCumulus working papers
PublisherCumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media
ISSN (Print)1456-307X
ISSN (Electronic)1795-1879


ConferenceCumulus Conference
CountryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
Internet address


  • Narrative ethnography
  • collaborative co-creation
  • collective cultural memory


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