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Convergentes: A Community Despite The Differences

It is great to see Convergentes restarting activities with new vigor. Convergentes, a part of the Rising Voices grantee HiperBarrio project, is a creative community of citizen journalists of La Loma in Medellín, Colombia.

convergentes workshop

What does a typical citizen media workshop in La Loma organized by Convergentes mean? Álvaro Ramirez Ospina writes:

You receive 10 or 12 smiling faces, a group eager to share knowledge, some tables and chairs, 10 computers connected to broadband.

This Sunday the theme was sound. They came to learn, play and manage Audacity, an excellent program that also allow you to record sound live, lets you edit what you've recorded.

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The Convergentes team after the Audacity Workshop

Miss Ligeia posts some photos of the workshop and writes:

For nearly two weeks, between this bunch of excuses that life offers us to be together, we try to take a group photo, and even if it missed the presence of several of us, we shared a joyful evening.

The outreach program as declared earlier has already started. Álvaro Ramirez Ospina ventured in Ituango, a beautiful village of Northern Antioquia to “create another community of authors of HiperBarrio”:

The Catholic University of the North has proposed to us to potentiate the interest of a group in the Diocesano Juan Pablo II school, most of them girls, who wish to use the new tecnologies of self-publishing through blogs to write about their lives. The idea is that they can do it through photographs, texts and videos, both individually and on the group blog “The secret beauty of Ituango” which will soon see the light.

Besides attending the initial workshop on photography, they followed me the first steps in the creation and use of blogs within the open software platform WordPress.

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Álvaro Ramirez Ospina walks up the slope of Ituango, photo by Jairo Arley M. Palacio.

Here is a blog about Ituango [sp].

Catalina Restrepo Martinez wrote that on the 25th of April:

several of the Convergentes members were participating in FLISOL (Festival Lationaemericano Install free software), held in the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín.

It's really wonderful achievement to unite people around events like this gathering…if you can build a community despite the differences, if identity can be constructed from the territory and if you can believe in collective construction of knowledge and on the convergence of both.

She also noted how this project has made La Loma significant for them although the infrastructural challenges are present:

Yes, we can talk about the talks, the full moon, those who were, who still, but more important is the transformation of the neighborhood that has been generated in our minds. The perception of a territory that has become more humane and less indifferent.

In another post Catalina writes [sp] about her dreams, challenges and realizations.

Sondelaloma reports that some local schools barred students with piercings on their body to enter classes and comments “it makes me think that we still live in a closed society and this is unfair.”

Three new members have joined Convergentes. One of them, Henry Barros, who was coordinating the video workshops has opened a videoblog called The Mutant Blog. He writes:

These few weeks it was fascinating to learn the process to use the tools of new media in a useful way … has been an enriching experience.

I have named this space the mutant blog. It will be nourished with a gallery of videos dedicated to the urban cultures of San Cristobal La Loma, Medellín. And it will contain mostly stories of groups, groups and supporters of various forms of musical expression.

Hiperbarrio was recently nominated for the Ars Electronica 2009 awards.

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