Re-told is a storytelling tool that helps younger generations document their families’ oral stories, whilst preserving their cultural heritage and recording dying dialects and languages.
Through ethnography and fieldwork research with two descendants of Orang Pulau, Singapore's indigenous islanders, Wan and Asnida, we learned the importance of documenting stories about cultural traditions that are slowly disappearing. Oral storytelling, despite its integral role in indigenous cultures, was found to be overlooked as a communication method in today’s increasingly visual world. Together we co-designed a multisensorial workshop to understand the younger generations’ relationship with their cultural heritage. The results demonstrated a disconnection between young people and their roots, including lacking knowledge of the dialects and languages spoken by older family members.
As an intervention, we created a digital tool that would turn everyday families’ stories into an audiobook. Capturing all of the recorded stories in their original languages, along with the written translation, Re-told then delivers a keepsake book that can be passed on for generations. By having a digitised family archive of cultural anecdotes, the audio data crowdsourced by the Re-told community can also be contributed to conservation initiatives such as Indigenous AI to slow down the threat of disappearing languages.