All posts by Maya

Voices from the Cape


Antonio from Arukun working with a camera - copyright Community Prophets
Antonio from Arukun working with a camera - copyright Community Prophets

Community Prophets has been getting a lot of press this month for their Voices from the Cape project, which worked with children in the Arukun community in Cape York Queensland in a participatory video, animation and music project in 2008. Continue reading

Blogging as a research tool

So I’ve set up this blog in aid of my PhD research. In all honesty I started blogging at the encouragement of one of my supervisors. I have also come to think that this blog may be a useful method  for all my supervisors, friends, colleagues and family members to keep track, should you choose to read regularly, on what I am doing and thinking while I do this project.

The best function of this blog is, potentially, as a point of contact between the various practitioners and projects that I am connecting with in my work, and maybe even some I don’t know about yet. I really hope to hear from others who are interested in similar things, to provoke discussion and to share some images, stories, experiences and reflections. Over time I hope to build up an online curated exhibition of works from a cross section of collaborative art and ethnographic projects around the world. Lets see if we can make this happen….

In starting to blog in earnest I want to declare two things:

  1. I have spent WAY too much time learning about wordpress and fiddling with aesthetics etc… it is a distraction from the core of my interests, so please excuse any aesthetic discomfort my choices, past and future, cause you.
  2. I am uncomfortable about blogging, it being a weirdly public and potentially self indulgent past time, but chosing to do it to keep you all informed and to see if I get some dialogue going… its an experiment, lets see…

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picking up the threads

Around the world, in communities large and small, are people working on projects to tell local stories, document their people, crafts, events, places, histories, dreams, memories, struggles, myths… 

In recent years we have seen an explosion of ways in which people are working together to creatively tell their own stories – participatory photography, collaborative film making, community writing, digital story telling. People come together in circles – under trees, in corner stores, studios, living rooms,  classrooms – some hi-tech, some makeshift – and share their stories. Inspired, they pick up cameras, art materials, pens and pencils, recording equipment, note books, and start recording. Fragments of stories emerge at first, but over time narratives take shape, and are put out in the world in one form or another.

Why are people all over the world increasingly using creative methods to collaboratively tell local stories? Who are they communicating with? What kinds of stories are being told and how are they told? What experiences, possibilities and constraints do people experience when they work together making art works and creative expressions about their own communities, lives, cultures, perceptions? Continue reading

Participatory Visual Education

Over the past weeks I have had a number of conversations with Yang Kun, a visiting research fellow at the Research School of the Humanities at the Australian National University, from Yunan in China. He has been involved with Yunfest, an independant documentary film festival in China, as well as in Participatory Visual Education or PVE projects in Yunan.

Since 2005 Yunfest has had a “Participatory Visual Education” category for entries from participatory film making projects, providing a great platform for works made in this collaborative way to get a wider audience and for makers to network with each other.

There are 6 films of the first DVD released from stage one of the PVE project, some as long as 30 minutes, others only a few minutes long. The 2nd stage of the project involved the creation of a small book – with photos, drawings and stories from people in the participating communities about traditional crafts and stories. The third stage will be released at this years YunFest, held in Yunnan in March 2009. These are films made in partnership between community members and a researcher, and, if the stage one films are anything to go by, they will be very interesting.

Check out the YunFest site for lots of info on films and the overall yunfest project.