The Other Story Project
The Other Story Project began on September 25, 2015. The project collects real life stories and personal experiences from people who are locals of a city or who happen to be visiting it for work, family, or leisure. The first cycle of story collection has been taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The story writers are people that come from different social classes, occupations, locations, and age; they are fighters, coffee lovers, divorcees, and travelers; they are hopeful, inspirational, and adventurous.
All the stories in the story collection are 1) anonymous, 2) handwritten, and 3) no longer than a single A4 page. The stories are handwritten at the exact moment of expression, and are exhibited/published without editing or alterations. The project urges people to write in their language of preference, be it Arabic, English, or any other. However, it necessitates that stories are hand-written; symbolizing the human writer, and his/her mood, emotions, scribbles, and speed, and preserving the individuality of each anonymous story.
The Other Story Performance Series, The Other Story Book, and The Other Story Podcast are all works in progress growing from this project, and they all enter the social arena through storytelling to highlight our shared humanity, and to record the eclectic voices of a place in a time in history.
Fatima Al-Banawi started collecting stories in her home city, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on September 25, 2015.
Al-Banawi received a Masters Degree in Theological Studies from Harvard University, where she focused on Gender Theory and Issues of Identity in contemporary Middle East.
Prior to that, she was a Psychological Caseworker at the Family Protection Society in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a private charity organization combating women & child abuse. An integral part to her research interests stems from her experience with these women and her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Effat University, Jeddah.
Al-Banawi’s research work continues to explore the dichotomy that emerges as a result of class, privilege, and race, and the varied forms of resistance and power structures. Al-Banawi aspires to deepen the conversation and strengthen the bridge between social impact work and the arts, hence combines consultancy, writing, and performance in her work.
In 2010, she co-founded the Theatre of the Oppressed Jeddah Chapter. Later in 2015, she launched The Other Story Project, a platform that documents and represents personal narratives through storytelling, and later co-starred in 2016’s celebrated feature film Barakah Meets Barakah.