Monday, June 28, 2010

Let the training begin!

The Training of Trainers (ToT) for the West Bank VBW group kicked off today at the French-German Cultural Center in Ramallah. Representatives attended from youth centers of various refugee camps, UNRWA, and Right to Play. Our morning sessions included icebreakers, an overview of Voices Beyond Walls workshops, and an introduction to photo aesthetics and camera use. In the afternoon we divided into small groups and ventured outdoors for a community mapping/photography exercise that will help with story development tomorrow. The group of 24 trainees delved into discussions about how to activate imagination, the uses of student films, and about the role of facilitators in guiding but not constraining youth projects. These conversations will surely continue over the next two days.

Sample Activities for Introducing Photography to Children:

In small groups, one person takes a picture of another from three different angles, then passes the camera to another child to practice.

Shot Challenge

Write four or five body parts on the board (e.g. nose, ear, eyes, hand, foot). Ask a student to roll a die or pull a number from a hat. Write that number next to one of the body parts. Repeat for each body part. In small groups challenge the students to take pictures that include that number of noses, ears, eyes, etc. The number of body parts in the photo should be exact--no more, no less!

Training of Trainers -Ramallah - Day 1

(c) Anne Paq/

1- group discussion
2 and 3- Photo exercises
4- Presentation of the community maps
5- Communication with Gaza workshop via skype

Aerial mapping pilot workshop in Al Aroub camp, 26.06.2010

From the sky!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Aerial mapping pilot workshop in Al Aroub camp, 26.06.2010

(c) Anne Paq/

We had a great pilot project of aerial mapping in Al Aroub Camp, led by MIT expert Jeff Warren. Jeff is a researcher at the MIT Media Lab conducting photo mapping work using low-altitude kites and balloons. He's done this mapping work with communities in slums near Peru, fisherman during the oil spill near the coast of Louisiana, and many other areas. More about his work on:

Jeff did the pilot on the roof of Al Aroub Play and Animation center, together with Voices Beyond Walls team, trainers from the center who will work with us on the Re-Imagining project, and some children. Everybody was amazed on how high the kite could fly, bringing up a simple digital camera, which was continuously taking pictures. The results were striking. We do hope to use these technics during the actual workshops. As Jeff explained, costs can be reduced by making kites or balloons from recycling materials, making it accessible for communities.

Aerial mapping pilot workshop in Al Aroub camp, 26.06.2010


(c) Anne Paq/

Friday, June 25, 2010

Launching the Re-imagining Project in West Bank and Gaza in Summer 2010

Welcome to the Voices Beyond Walls blog. This summer our teams are launching a program of parallel workshops in the West Bank and Gaza, as part of our new Re-imagining Project.

The “Re-imagining Project” is a program of digital video, photography and storytelling workshops that supports Palestinian children and youth in expressing their cultural identity, personal narratives, and creative visions through participatory digital media.

This project is a collaboration among Voices Beyond WallsLes Enfants, Le Jeu et l’Education (EJE), UNRWA and participating community centers in Al Aroub and Jabaliya refugee camps.

The program consists of the following key activities in summer 2010:

I.    Conducting two 3-day Training of Trainers (ToT) sessions in Ramallah and Gaza City between June 28 to June 30, 2010. It will be conducted with 20-30 Palestinian volunteers from local youth centers, to provide participatory youth media training and prepare them to serve as potential workshop facilitators.

II.   Conducting at least two 3-week digital storytelling workshops between July 4th to July 25th, 2010 with around 20-25 children (both boys and girls aged 10-15), in collaboration with community centers in Al Aroub camp in the West Bank and Jabaliya camp in Gaza. Many joint activities will be conducted among children in both workshops via video conferencing and online sharing.

III.  Conducting baseline surveys, ongoing monitoring, and follow-up evaluations with all participants in the training and workshops in collaboration with EJE and UNRWA.

IV.  Screenings and exhibitions of the youth media work in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, as well as international festivals and venues abroad in 2010-2011.

We have an exciting international and local team of filmmakers, artists, photographers, researchers, educators and community youth activists involved this year. The project is sponsored in part by the Genevieve McMillan-Reba Stewart Foundation, Sharek Youth Forum, and the MIT Center for Future Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Stay tuned for regular updates on our blog and website: