Travelling Together

Emma Dawson Varughese will be wowing children and adults alike at this year’s festival with her KARVAN installation. Emma describes this experience as: 

“ a 16ft artistically renovated caravan in which you are invited to travel around the world through fiction and poetry. The KARVAN takes its name from the Persian - kārvān - and just as the caravanserai of the old trade routes would travel, so does this 21st century KARVAN - albeit much shorter distances! The journeys that people make in the KARVAN can transport them to locations they have never had the occasion to explore, it can encourage them to read and furthermore, it can encourage them to read outside of their usual fiction worlds.”

Emma is also an academic, specialising in post-millennial Indian literary and visual cultures and is deeply involved in modern storytelling and what it means to current society and cultures. I asked Emma about her process for creativity and her practice . . . 

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? 

A: A commitment to accept life as a continuum of change and development and to harness this for creative output.

Q: What inspires your creativity? 

A: People and their various expressions of living; the way in which people 'see' and experience life and in turn, creativity communicate these experiences. 

Q: Give one piece of advice to your younger self. 

A: Accept the turn of events more readily, take strength from 'perceived' failures.

Q: Who is your artistic idol & why? 

A: I don't have one as such but I am always inspired by artists who capture the exceptional of the 'everyday' in their work: Lowry's paintings, Mahfouz's novels, Banerjee's graphic novels and Samira Makhmalbaf's films. 

Q: What is your key goal with your artistic practice? 

A: Through KARVAN: 'together we travel', I explore 'Othering'. How do we live with and in difference, how do we define difference and what does that mean for our (daily) lives and our identities as community, national or global citizens? My artistic practice looks to explore these ideas through the medium of literature and poetry, in doing so those who 'travel' with the KARVAN not only participate but contribute to the experience and the meaning of 'travelling together'. 

Q: If you could be any literary character, who would you be and why? 

A: Phileas Fogg - who else? 

Q: What do you want your tombstone to say? 

A: I’m not sure I’ll be having a tombstone...

KARVAN is just one of the FREE events at the 2018 Settle Stories Festival. Alongside it in the Market Place will be a 50ft inflatable Whale and art and craft tents - all of which are FREE on both Sat 7th and Sun 8th April. Don't miss the Settle Stories Festival.