Here There and Everywhere: The Art Of Collaboration
Place: Part VII   Educational

Voices Beyond Walls

Nitin Sawhney • India/USA • MIT Research Fellow and Lecturer
Julie Norman • Canada • Professor at Concordia University
Anne Paq • French • Photographer and Human Rights Activist
Raed Yacoub • Palestine • MS student at Lund University

in collaboration with Les Enfants; Le Jeu et l’Education (EJE), a French-Palestinian NGO in Bethlehem; and the participation of community centers including the Freedom Theatre in Jenin; the Yafa Cultural Center in Balata Camp, Nablus; the Lajee Cultural Center in Aida Camp, Bethlehem; the Woman and Child Centers in Shu’fat Camp, East Jerusalem; the Al Aroub Play and Animation Center in Al Aroub Camp near Hebron; the African Community Center and Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Old City, Jerusalem; and with help from volunteer collectives of independent Palestinian and international, independent media technologists, filmmakers, photographers, educators and activists.

As Nitin Sawhney writes, “Voices Beyond Walls is a participatory media initiative that supports creative expression and human rights advocacy among marginalized children and youth (ages 10-25) through digital storytelling workshops, new media production and global dissemination of their work. It was founded in 2006 to serve youth and communities in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem; though it is envisioned as a broader initiative that can be replicated with community centers to support marginalized youth among inner-cities and impoverished settings anywhere.

“It consists of a program of digital media training and capacity building with local community centers, collaborative digital storytelling and mapping workshops conducted with children and adolescents, ongoing evaluation and assessment, screenings/exhibitions as well as follow-up opportunities for learning and creative engagement with the communities. Weaving together original stories, drama, poetry, photography, music and digital video, youth in this program learn to express their own perspectives on history, culture and everyday life in the refugee camps, as well as their dreams and aspirations.

“Since 2006 the program has been conducted in refugee camps with hundreds of participants, resulting in over 70 digital media shorts. These have been screened with photography exhibits locally and internationally.”

Woman’s Center, Jabaliya Refugee Camp • Gaza, Palestine
Al Aroub Camp • West Bank, Palestine • Summer 2010 • Re-imagining Gaza

Note: The program was supported by the EJE, Sharek Youth Forum in Gaza, the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT), the MIT Center for Future Civic Media and the Genevieve McMillan-Reb Stewart Foundation.