HiperBarrio Receives The Golden Nica 2009 In Linz, Austria

Gabriel Jaime Vanegas Montoya and Alvaro Ramirez lifts the Ars Electronica Prize

Gabriel Jaime Vanegas Montoya and Alvaro Ramirez lifts the Ars Electronica Golden Nica Prize

This is a proud moment for the Rising Voices grantee HiperBarrio from Colombia. In June we reported that HiperBarrio had won the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica awards in the Digital Communities category and with it a 10,000 euro prize. Last Week HiperBarrio members Gabriel Jaime Vanegas Montoya and professor Alvaro Ramirez Ospina were in Linz, Austria to receive the prize.

Professor Álvaro Ramírez Ospina shares his reactions:

The afternoon and evening had a faint light gray while the rain still soaked the streets. The fog stretched a mystique over the landscape of a city beautifully split in two by the banks and bridges of the Danube river.

In a spacious Conference/Music Hall located in the center of the famous Brukernhaus building of the municipality of Linz the annual ritual of presenting Prix Ars Electronica 2009 awards began to take place with a rare and exceptional speech. [..]

To our surprise, the first category to receive the award proved to be Digital Communities we were invited to go on stage to answer a short interview about HiperBarrio, our philosophy, goals, achievements and plans for the future.

Amazing moments. Words came out of our mouths and just a big applause made us realize that it was time to stop talking. Not much later the Golden Nica statuette was delivered to Gabriel Jaime under a strong ovation. Shocked and stunned by emotion we did not manage to thank anybody.

Seconds before and still on stage y began to get, one by one, images of Luisa, Santiago, Yuliana, Carmen, Nora Catalina Deneiber, Marcela CatiRestrepo Diego, Viviana, J., Henry, Hugo, Beatriz Alvarez, Caligula, Alfredo Marulanda and Guillermo Alvarez (who just completed VideoBarrio for a new job) and many others who have supported us in this adventure that has been HiperBarrio-ConVerGentes during these two years.

I was also overwhelmed by the happy faces of the girls and boys of HiperBarrio-Ituango and reflected about this amazing journey and the challenges ahead: to expand the network to other locations and libraries and to become a formal institution with all the advantages and implied challenges.

Professor Ramirez at a Reunion in Ituango

Professor Ramirez at a Reunion in Ituango

An article in Equinoxio describes [es] it as a proud achievement for Colombians:

In an emotional moment, a video was presented to the audience at Ars Electronica that shows the achievements of the Hiperbarrio around La Loma, presenting an alternative living environment to young people in a sector that has characterized by violence from armed groups, unemployment and lack of opportunities.

After receiving the award Professor Ramirez said that it is not only a recognition of the work, but also a commitment to reach other communities which are isolated by poverty and violence.

Gabriel Jaime Vanegas, director of the Library La Loma, who joined the project of Professor Ramirez, highlights how libraries participating in Hiperbarrio have transcended its original role to become centers of meeting, exchange of experiences, solidarity and mutual support. The challenge ahead is training its members to share the experience in other sectors. (machine translation)

Terra Noticias reported [es]:

‘When people who have no access to media, are given the opportunity to tell their stories and show that there are, then take the opportunity, “said Ramirez to the public.

Speaking to EFE, Ramirez, a professor at the University of Bengen (Norway) and one of the initiators of the project, said the initial idea was that “people who do not have Internet access can blog ‘

Future Places 2009 congratulates HiperBarrio for its success and says:

We believe HiperBarrio is a great example of how digital media can make a difference in a particular socio-cultural context.

HiperBarrio was also featured in the Elespectador.com [es].

Accompanying the visitors of Freshno Digital. Photo: Catalina Restrepo

Accompanying the visitors of Freshno Digital. Photo: Catalina Restrepo

Last month HiperBarrio received a goodwill visit from the digital community of Fresno, a town and municipality in the Tolima department of Colombia. The two group met for the first time during the Campus party. Catalina Restrepo writes [es]:

Our visitors were 4 people in the town of Fresno (Tolima) that belong to digital Fresno project that aims to show the world what is that community. The purpose of the visit (the idea came to Campus – Party in the middle of a conversation with Carolina Botero and Diego Malavera) was that visitors were aware of the dynamics Hiperbarrio work and learning among all generated for transmission in their surrounding communities

Arriving on Sunday, we decided to plan some tours and accompanied them. They enjoyed touring the botanical gardens, the Park of Wishes and Municipal Planetarium.

I was pleased to hear them say that they were astonished at what we have achieved with Hiperbarrio. (machine translation)


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