Gather round, let us tell you our story of 2018.
It’s THE most wonderful time of the year… we hope you’re looking forward to a well deserved few days of rest. But before you do, gather round, and let us tell you our story of 2018!
A year packed with amazing collaborations…
This year we were invited to New York University to give a guest lecture on our storytelling process as students built innovative story maps. They wowed us and we were privileged to later share their work alongside their amazing Professor, Tao Goffe, as panellists at the University of the West Indies’ Caribbean Digital V Conference.
We were juggling a very different (but welcome) scenario at more or less the same time, as we were one of only 10 startups selected to attend the TechBeach Retreat in Jamaica. Here we had fun and thought-provoking conversations with some of the best minds in the tech world.
A search for who we really are…
At Plantain, we believe that recording, sharing and celebrating our personal histories helps create a more connected world. Key to our view is that by reflecting on the legacies we’ve inherited (the good / the bad), we develop a more grounded and dignified sense of self. We were happy that our perspectives (more about them here) were shared in the media, such as in this Atlas Obscura article, and on this blog.
We also volunteered to help families struck by a terrible flood in the region late this year. While out in the field, we found two young women trying desperately to salvage photos of their father, who had passed away not long before. Because we work so much with photographs here, we decided to create this tip sheet to help preserve what is oftentimes the only thing left connecting us (and future generations) to our loved ones. 🧡
And then the Books…
Of course, we continued crafting a wonderful range of bespoke books, some leaning heavily on research, others on existing oral histories.
Through them, we travelled to N. America, over to Scotland, England, the Great War’s frontlines between France and Germany, down to Italy, Corsica, Portugal, over to Venezuela, Trinidad, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Phew!
The books include one of the most dynamic ever, the most poetic, the most glamorous and debonair, and one of the prettiest ones too. We’ll soon have photos for you.
The quote we loved most this year…
This said Oliver Sacks, the celebrated professor of neurology on turning 80. He goes on to say that his father told him his 80s had been his life's most enjoyable decade. But in our post on ageing, we spoke of how that feeling is in stark contrast to younger generations’ eventual regret at not having recorded their elders’ life stories before they passed on.
Other than... us… What else grabbed our attention in 2018?
How about this study, on how, when you see something, a great part of what you perceive is determined by your memory and past experiences(!).
This poignant article, which beautifully highlights the emotional distance between migrants and their children.
Then there was Michelle Obama describing, in her memoir, the struggle she felt reconciling her very personal ambitions, and those of her family’s, "I hoped to be exactly like my own mother and at the same time nothing like her at all. Could I have everything?"
Related to Windrush, THOSE house parties greatly popularised Reggae and its eventual recognition by the UN as a global cultural treasure.
The media also highlighted the push to return Africa’s loots, with one coordinator asking of his audience, “What do you think will happen to any African country if we could sneak in [to Buckingham Palace], pick that crown, and come back home with it?”
On a less serious topic, do you know the literal translation of your country's name? What does where you're from mean?!
And finally, the concept of Jolabokaflod – the Icelandic tradition of Christmas eve reading.
On that note... as you sit with your loved ones this season, why don't you record some of your (or their) stories? If you need guidance or want to gift them a book (big, or small), then just let us know!
It takes a great community to make the work that we do possible. As the year comes to an end, we are left feeling grateful and so a great thanks to you for your continued support...
From all of us here, we hope that you have a season filled with family, love and laughter, and we look forward to catching up with you in the new year!