Amy Cronin DiCaprio
YEAH! Network (Youth Empowerment and Adolescent Health)
Two digital stories created by teens in the Adolescent Advisory Board, the youth leadership training component of the YEAH! Network, a community coalition working to address teen pregnancy in Hampden County. These digital stories each feature a “relational” theme, examining chosen family, friendships, and mentors and their protective and strengthening effect on the girls’ lives. Later this summer, the digital stories will be featured on the teen section of the YEAH! Network website, along with excerpts of a graphic novel on sexual communication and relationships that the teens developed.
Interpellation and Popular Culture Imagery
This project aims to examine the viewer’s reactions – identifications and
rejections – of selected popular culture images drawn from fashion, music, and dance, through the lens of questioning these impulses. The project centers on Louis Althusser’s notion that people feel “called” by certain things, spoken to by ideas or ideals. Attached to the media presentation is a performative element, allowing the viewer to respond, in survey and open-response format, to questions targeting these identifications.
Looking for Treasure: Urban Youth Explore the Outdoors
Adolescents between the ages of twelve and seventeen, living in the cities of Fitchburg and Leominster Massachusetts sometimes referred to as The Twin Cities of Central Massachusetts, participated in an after school program called the Outdoor Exploration Program (OEP). The OEP melded together elements of traditional leadership instruction with the treasure hunting activity called geo-caching. The goals of the program were to inspire leadership and environmental stewardship, to create partnerships between Trustees of the Reservations (a non-profit conservation agency) and Twin City youth agencies, to introduce participants to local trail systems, and to provide opportunities for participants to learn map-reading using a compass and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. This multi-modal presentation highlights the program and its benefits, and depicts the ways in which urban youth read, make meaning of and interact with the natural world.
The Right to Education in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: Community Voices
In this video documentary, Hurricane Katrina survivors from the Lower 9th Ward narrate their experiences with racism and classism surrounding the ways in which the Louisiana state and the US governments responded to Hurricane Katrina. Working with a team of researchers, video taped interviews were conducted with community members and students from the Lower 9th Ward which were analyzed and woven together to create this mini documentary. Drawing on three themes reiterated throughout the interviews, the video documents community members and students’ struggles in reclaiming their land and schools and creating an African centered curriculum. The video concludes by interviewees providing ways in which outsiders can work in collaboration with Hurricane Katrina survivors to help them rebuild their schools and return to their communities. The video’s narration and compilation was done by Dylan Larke, a White antiracist ally and a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. By making this film, it is hoped that survivors will be provided a forum to voice their experiences and concerns, thus providing the rest of the world with a small glimpse of the atrocities that took place post Hurricane Katrina and encouragement for outsiders to begin working in collaboration with survivors to restore their homes, schools and communities back to working order.
In a multifaceted environment of homonym words and heteronym meanings, Multimodal Media Production (MMP) can project to mainstream and/or counter-stream background concepts of culture, language, and social justice that are foregrounded in the (hyper-)media domain not merely as content-based concepts but mainly as context-situated experiences within a virtual space that is nonetheless systematized ideologically. MMP practices have the potential to (re)configure the ideological underpinnings not merely in the endogenous structural framing of the MMP but mainly in the exogenous experiences that permeate the notional framing of the MMP discourse, design, production, and distribution. In this sense, this MMP is a multimodal approach that draws upon virtual spaces such as YouTube and MySpace to analyze from a critical stance how MMP discourses utilize virtual spaces to foreground the events of the Greek student protests in December 2008. It examines whether the discourses of the MMPs, in their broader semiotic sense, (de)construct the oppressive-suppressive binary and/or (re)position the participants’ ideological roles on the victim-victimizer binary, and observes the (re)contextualization of the students’ variable locality within their variable social reality that is nonetheless (r)evolving.
Angela Ibrahim and Lauren Selfridge
Creating Our Stories: A Celebration of Queer Women and Gender Expression
“Creating Our Stories: A Celebration of Queer Women and Gender Expression” offers an opportunity for viewers to bare witness to the stories of queer women in Western Massachusetts. You are invited to experience their journeys through gender identity and expression: their struggles, successes, unanswered questions, and continuing evolution as women. The film serves not only as a tool for understanding these stories, but also as a means for celebrating the wide range of ways that queer women are able, one step at a time, to reclaim our identities as our own.
School Voices: A Documentary Project on Public Education
This project begins by looking at a sampling of voices from rural, urban, and suburban public schools in the state of Massachusetts, with hopes of moving into other states in the future as funding permits. Information was gathered primarily through interviews with students, but also with teachers, administrators, parents and community members. Participants were interviewed about their perceptions and beliefs regarding their own school experiences and about the role of education in the United States today. The objectives of the project are twofold: to give voice to youth and educators about their educational experiences – as well as more generally about what it means to be young today — and to illicit community feedback and dialogue about education reform. Particularly important in today’s climate of political and social change, is the hope that these narratives will help to inform those who make policy about the public education system and will make youth more central to this movement.
Displayed here for the purposes of this MMP are photographs and interviews with students from Northampton High School, as well as the start of a blog for the project. Images, video clips and text will be combined for exhibition. The exhibition will travel and will be displayed at community and art venues across the region, and there will be built into it an interactive component through which to gather feedback and dialogue from those viewing (thus widening the circle of discourse about education).