Posts tagged ‘FTX’

The slogan: “We work hard but we party hard too!”

June 13, 2010 at 8:43 am 2 comments

What are your views about the FTX Sana?

Sana Saleem, activist, writer, medical student and blogger has now decided to be Director, Producer, Star, Script Writer and Distributor all-in-one. Here she shares very briefly her experience of attending the first Feminist Tech Exchange in Islamabad.

June 13, 2010 at 12:13 am 1 comment

Jan talks about the Digital Story Telling workshops

Jan Moolman, one of the facilitators of the Feminist Tech Exchange, and a key member of the APC Women’s Program, talks about the Digital Story Telling workshops and what they entail.

June 13, 2010 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

So Jenny tell us about the APC Women’s Program

Jennifer Radloff, who is a part of the Association of Progressive Communications (APC) Women’s Program, talks about the APC Women’s Program and the capacity building work that she and others at APC are a part of.

June 12, 2010 at 11:56 pm 2 comments

Valentina tells us about the Story Circles

Valentina Pellizzer talks about the story circles and about the colours of Pakistan that she found so amazing.

June 12, 2010 at 11:52 pm Leave a comment

What are the Feminist Practices of Technology Cheekay?

Cheekay Cinco from the Association of Progressive Communications Women’s Programme talks about the Feminist Practices of Technology and her experience in facilitating the Feminist Tech Exclange in Islamabad.

June 12, 2010 at 11:46 pm Leave a comment

Creating our first Digital Stories as part of the FTX

I know it is not a very difficult task to create a digital story (especially with the kind of easy-to-use software that is available today) but the process of creating a story that is personal to you can be extremely stressful and can take a lot out of you. Remember also that for many of the women who took part in the FTX, this was a first.

Here is what the process involved:

The story circle took the most out of the majority of the participants as they reached into the deepest recesses of their soul to pull out a personal story. This element of the workshop took the longest time as well.

Once the stories poured out, full of emotion and accompanied often by tears and heartbreak, the facilitators broke them into parts so that they could help us all to put a story idea together with some clarity and focus. Once this was done we had to write our scripts. It is one thing to break down and ramble on about something that hurts you to the core. It is another to take a step back, look at what happened and clearly put the words down so that it can be developed into something you can share with others.

As the ladies (and our one male feminist) tried to put words down on screen, we realized that as we worked, what we were actually doing was starting the healing process.

The next step was to record the narration once Jan or Jenny or Val had looked at the scripts and told us if there were any amendments that were needed. We had been taught Audacity by Cheekay so we knew how to record, remove noise, increase the volume and edit the narration if necessary.

With the narration completed, it was time to visualize the story. This was tougher than one had imagined. Whether it was one’s own story or a story about someone else in which one was present. you had to be careful about who you depicted, whether to use visuals but annonymize them, whether to use sketches instead or to find abstract photos that would serve the purpose.

Once the visuals were found and worked on using open source manipulation software, it was time to merge the narration, the visuals and add the music and the transitions so that it became a story. We had been given a tutorial in both MovieMaker (for Windows) and iMovie (for Mac) so that we could put our digital stories together. Easier said than done of course. Some of us found we had too many visuals, others found there weren’t enough, syncing the narration with the right visuals was a challenge too. And we had a deadline to work with. Yikes! Tough facilitators wanted it done in time so that there could be a screening on the fourth day :). It didn’t help that everyone was trying to be a perfectionist, wanted their stories depicted just so!

There was frustration, there were cries for help and poor Jamal, the facilitators and some of us were called upon to assist at various stages of the exercise as data disappeared from laptops and the Movie making apps did all sorts of weird things.

It didn’t help that the internet connectivity was slow and intermittent and that the airconditioning played havoc with our lives. Headphones were broken and some laptops faced static issues.

We had been told that we should only use open source or licensed software and copyright-free images if we wanted to distribute the stories later or use them for training purposes. Certain websites were identified where copyright images and sounds were available.

It is not surprising that many of us worked through the night in order to finish our digital stories, and even then we weren’t really satisfied with them. We wished we had had more time, that we were better illustrators, better photographers, better script writers and narrators, better at putting together a movie.

But when the time finally came for the screening of the Digital Stories we had created, we realized that we had unnecessarily been too hard on ourselves.

As I viewed movie after movie, I was amazed at the way each story had been crafted. The sensitivity and the pain came through each story as did the courage of each of the women whose stories we saw and heard. The talent and technique, the artistry, the ability to put into words something so personal, so deep, so heartbreaking at times that all you wanted to do was go and hug the storyteller.

I think our facilitators were as surprised as we were at what we had accomplished in three days. As I watched them watching the visualization of the stories they had heard that first day, I saw some of the expressions – the empathy, the amazement, the pride and the joy of seeing the result of the process that they had started only a few days earlier.

June 12, 2010 at 11:19 pm 6 comments

The first Feminist Tech Exchange in Pakistan a pleasant surprise

I think that although I have always been an optimist, in many ways I am a cynic as well :). Although I was confident that most of the participants that we had nominated for the first Train the Trainer program of the MDG3 Feminist Tech Exchange were confident, dedicated, talented, hardworking, fun-loving individuals with a strong commitment to making a difference to the society and the community, I wasn’t really sure what the take-away from this first workshop would be.

Having attended zillions of conferences, seminars and workshops over the years, I am very often put off by the format of such things. There are facilitators or speakers who, through those much-dreaded Powerpoints, tell us how much they know, how much they have achieved and what we should do to join the ranks of the successful and be more like them.

Fortunately for us, the FTX facilitators turned out to be pleasantly very different. Jan, Jenny, Val and Cheekay have put a structure to the workshop no doubt, but the space has been very much ours. From the get-go participants have been encouraged to share, to create and to be a part of the proceedings.

It started with the three videos that we were shown. They showed each of us how a simple but impactful message could be created using very basic tools. It didn’t require one to be a creative genius or a nerd.

The story circles were powerful and totally unexpected. The sharing of experiences (our own or those in which we played a central role) revealed much more than any of us had really expected. The struggle, the abuse, the violence, the challenges and the eventual strength, confidence, success and empowerment that resulted from not letting the circumstances engulf us but deciding to survive instead and go on to empower others, was a message that came clearly through.

Sure there were tears as many talked about very personal experiences for the very first time but it resulted in catharsis of a sort although it was unbelievably draining. I think that the sharing of the stories and experiences created a bond between most of the participants. It also showed them that they were not alone, that things happened which were sometimes totally out of their control. It also spelt out quite clearly the many varied societal issues that exist and how some have managed to not only survive them but have got stronger because of it, and are now prepared to help others avoid similar challenges and issues.

More later. Have to attend Day 5.

In the meantime, here are links to blog posts put up by some of the facilitators:

The bright side of Pakistan: women

Sharing our stories in Pakistan

June 11, 2010 at 10:27 am 6 comments


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