From Orality to Image: Traditional Qatari Narratives and the Visual Media is a UREP project whose aim is to preserve and re-present traditional Qatari culture by adapting cross-generational oral narratives into text and graphic form. We are using traditional Qatari oral folk tales as the basis of a series of graphic stories. These graphic stories will be collected in an anthology targeted at all readers who are interested in Qatari culture in general, and young adult readers in particular. We believe that these stories, which are both informative and engaging, could be of valuable use in the classroom and beyond to educate young readers about traditional Qatari culture and lore, to promote literacy, and to instil an appreciation for reading and the visual arts.

The main aims are: To increase awareness of Qatari history, tradition and culture among the general reading public and particularly among young adults in Qatar and beyond; To increase reading among young adults who may be resistant to books and other materials that do not support their specific learning styles and/ or relate to their socio-cultural context; To provide opportunities for general and young adult readers to explore a text-based graphic medium to stimulate interest in reading, the visual arts, and Qatari culture; and To encourage bilingual literacy in Arabic and English by presenting versions of the graphic stories in both languages.

Overall, we regard our project as a way to help realize important national objectives and, moreover, that furthering these initiatives will in turn play a critical role in the development of a robust knowledge-based society in Qatar enriched by the contribution of the arts and humanities. The development of science and technology plays an important role in the growth of any modern society, including Qatar, but for a knowledge society to truly thrive, it must also develop artistic and humanistic values, including creativity, innovation, literacy, preservation of heritage and the fostering of cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.


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