At La Loma: VideoBarrio and ConVerGentes

Alfredo Marulanda tells us what has been going on at La Loma de San Javier:

The last workshop given was on editing, formats and narrative resources; I´m worried about the little productivity of the group, we have established that during these days they would begin formulating or establishing projects. On Saturday October 6th I´ll go back to La Loma to work with the group of ConVerGentes (with whom we worked last Saturday as well), specifically about the production of documentaries, there is a very interesting project which requires much attention, Videobarrio will also be at this workshop, I would like very much for the Videobarrio participants to integrate themselves a bit more with convergentes since they have good projects and I think that between the two of them great work can get done.

Next week I´ll be informing you ow what we saw in the workshop and of what we talked regarding the projects to take on.

Welcome to HiperBarrio

HiperBarrio is a socially geared program in citizen media based in Medellin, Colombia.

Our objective is to help people in the working class neighborhoods in the hillside slopes surrounding Medellin to tell their stories through videos, blogs and images, empowering them with the possibility of deciding how they wish to represent their lives, their communities and Colombia to the rest of the world through online media technologies.

Medellin has experienced a cultural renaissance in the past few years where peace has spread through our city. This is mentioned in the podcast interview made by David Sasaki, Director of Outreach for Global Voices:

First we become acquainted with Medellín, Colombia; its violent past, its current tenuous peace, and the mathematician mayor who is comissioning gigantic modernist libraries in the city's most impoverished neighborhoods.

In the second part of this podcast, which will be published later in the week, we'll focus on the HiperBarrio project and learn how a few motivated Medellin bloggers are headed to the hills of their city to teach the tools of citizen media to working class youth.

You can listen to the first part of the podcast here: Medellin, Colombia: From Kidnapping Capital to Renaissance City

The second part of the podcast here: HiperBarrio: Local Stories, Global Audience

We believe in blogs, in Creative commons, in finding simple solutions to commonplace problems, in sharing knowledge in social and personal growth through the appropriation of common spaces such as the public libraries and neighborhoods where our projects will take place.

The Public Library Network which has become a cornerstone of our project. The Library Network and their objectives travel parallel to ours:

Promote Capacity and Social Capital Development: Libraries should continue to be entities for building society and strengthen cultural identity, foster participation, develop capacity, complement social practices and the educational and cultural spaces; they should stimulate the communities to transform information into knowledge but to do this, they must use ICT and they need to transcend the barriers of space and time and provide access to local and global information. Each of the libraries will play a central role in their community by developing information centers with access to internet, online catalogues, virtual libraries, etc. The development of local capacities will also go hand in hand with the development of local content. The leaders of the 36 libraries of the network will be trained and empowered to be content contributors. This will serve two purposes, the development of local relevant content and the capacity development of those researching and producing the content. In the future the network will offer services for users so they also become content contributors and participants in virtual communities.

Norman Oder from the Library Journal writes:

Five new libraries are parts of the Parques Biblioteca concept: “library parks” for education, recreation, and culture. In the slum of Santo Domingo Savio, with a population of 170,000, the Parque Biblioteca España “includes a library, auditorium, Internet rooms, day care center, and an art gallery,” the Times noted. “Such a beautiful thing, right here with us,” observed one resident. “Who could have imagined that?”

The Public Library Network has agreed to provide us with access to their fully equipped computer lab with wireless internet access at the Library Park España in Santo Domingo Savio for our bimonthly workshops. In exchange for this, participants will create videos representing their communities´ values which will be published in the Library Network´s website.

So far there is a video production team called VideoBarrio located in La Loma de San Javier, and a blogging team called ConVerGentes which began prior to conversations with the Library Network, as well as an intensive workshop in citizen media which lasted 3 days and was named “Ciudad Comunicante”. In Santo Domingo a week long workshop also took place: tallersantodomingo.

Our plan is to make all this community generated content visible and available to a wider audience by placing it in visible spaces in internet, translating articles and subtitling videos, a process which began with the recipe for a connected community from the “Ciudad Comunicante” workshop.

All these are reasons why Juliana Rincón, Jorge Montoya and Álvaro Ramírez, Mauricio Múnera, Diego Gómez and Juan Diego Estrada have united their efforts through HiperBarrio and are working together to create skills in these communities, delivering tools and knowledge which will make the participants able to tell their stories and document their own history.