The purpose of this citizen media project is to make visible Roma women’s voices in the online environment through digital story telling. After being provided training on digital photography, Roma women from Tg Frumos will be given the tools and the support to self-document their lives behind the households’ fences. Together with young people, Roma women will be protagonists and narrators of the digital stories the project will generate and widely distribute. A blog reflecting the dynamics of the process of implementing it will be another media endeavor to widely spread Roma citizens’ voices.
What locality or neighborhood will your project focus on?
Describe the specific population with whom you will be working.
Roma people constitute the biggest ethnic minority in Europe and Romania is one of the countries where the highest number of Roma lives. Due to the paternalistic education they receive and to the lack of an adjusted formal education system, many Roma women are confronted with exclusionary practices in the public sphere, and expected to be hard-working wives/ mothers in the private sphere. Thus, their voices are underrepresented not just online, but at many levels of the public sphere. This project regards Roma women and aims to provide them the opportunity to “digitally talk” about their house labor which is many times invisibilised. Due to a low level of familiarity with internet tools, working conjointly with Roma young people will foster a collaborative engagement with photography.
Who else will be on your team to help implement the project?
Andreea Racles – PhD student at the Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (Germany) https://uni-giessen.academia.edu/AndreeaRacles
Matei Budes – expert in media and digital storytelling
Vitali Trocin – photographer and visual artist
Mihaela Diana Podariu – president of ASIRYS Association and project manager of community development initiatives
Larisa Zugravu – International representative and English teacher at Trinitas school in Tg Frumos
Marin Cretu – Romani language teacher in Tg Frumos
Nicu Hocica – BA in Psychology, young Roma from the community
What kinds of news, stories and other content will be created?
This project emerges as a response to under-representation and misrepresentation in the mainstream media of Roma women. In a technologically saturated world of imagery, giving Roma women the camera means empowering and allowing them to voice ideas about whom they are and which are their struggles. After introducing Roma women and young people to digital photography, the project will result into:
– at least 6 digital stories reflecting self-narrations about their household work and their role in the family, disseminated on several mainstream media platforms (Facebook, YouTube)
– a blog constantly actualized with info about the implementation of the project, and participants’ reflections on how they live this experience
– an online photo-voice exhibition
– a Facebook page
What technologies and digital tools do you plan to use in the trainings?
Describe the connections that you or your organization have already established or plan to establish that will contribute to the success of the project.
The project will be coordinated by Andreea Racles who knows closely Roma women in Tg Frumos due to the contacts she created while doing her field research. VIRA Association, with an already well-known experience in providing training on visual methods to young people, will provide the two workshops: 1) on digital photography&storytelling, 2) dedicated to technicalities of assembling the final digital stories. ASIRYS Association, based in Tg Frumos, will be extremely helpful with the contacts they have in the community and with an intense activity of promotion. The third partnership is with the main library in the town which will provide the computers and the space for the workshops. The Culture House is a potential partner where the storytelling screening could take place.
How many participants do you think will be trained in your project?
A minimum of 18 people will be trained in digital photography and digital storytelling. At least 6 of them will be Roma women, each of them participating with one of their children, aged more than 15. Due to Roma women’s lack of familiarity with internet tools and digital cameras, their children will be those assisting them throughout the process of photographically documenting their daily lives. Apart from these 12 people (Roma women and young people), 6 other youngsters (ASIRYS volunteers) will participate at the training in order become mentors of each of the 6 small groups. Apart from technical support, these mentors will be essential actors in spreading the digital stories.
Describe which technologies, tools, and media you will focus on when training participants.
Vira Association and ASIRYS, have experience in using photography and video techniques in community based projects. While VIRA trained young people in visual methods of documenting their community, ASIRYS hosted in Tg Frumos several international projects focusing on media outputs. During the first workshop, professionals from each of these organisations will train the participants in the use of digital cameras and the basics of internet use. The second workshop is meant to introduce the participants to the basics of programs needed for assembling the digital stories (such as videomaker, power point), and thus to prepare the final outputs. At the same time, participants will be taught how to easily disseminate the digital stories s via social media platforms (mainly via Facebook).
Describe the facilities where you will hold the workshops.
Both workshops will take place in a space equipped with computers and internet connexion, provided by the third partner – the main library in the locality. This room contains 8 computers with a classic design, easily manageable by the participants. ASIRYS association will provide a projector that will be needed for the digital stories screenings. The space for these screenings will be allocated by the Culture House in Tg Frumos.
What is your current relationship with the community with whom you plan to work? What makes you the most appropriate individual or organization to implement this project?
I (Andreea Racles) started to get to know Roma women once I began my fieldwork stay in Tg Frumos. I carried out ethnographic research seeking to explore notions related to Roma people’s sense of belonging. Thus, I have a close relation with some of the families in the community. During my site visits, I have seen that there is a stringent need to give voice women since men are those who usually tend to take over the word. I have previously tried to empower women by giving them the digital camera in order to capture household related aspects. But men were always those taking this role, assuming that their wives were not able to use digital tools. Since Tg Frumos will be under my observation for about two years, I intend continuing using the digital storytelling method on long term basis.
What specific challenges do you expect to face when planning and implementing your project?
One of the challenges is that at the beginning men might be reluctant to the fact that “their women” are given the main role. Most of the times, in their household constellation, men are used to represent family’s voice in almost any circumstances, women being in charge with those activities that have no visibility outside. Another challenge is that the participants might not constantly use the achieved internet abilities due to the lack of internet at home or because internet is not part of their daily routine. However, the partnership with the library will allow them to use internet facilities there. Moreover, the young participants do have more access to internet and will spread the world the digital stories, continuing maintaining Roma women voices alive in the online environment.
How will you measure and evaluate the project’s impact, specifically: your primary participants, the wider regional community, or the global digital community?
In indicators, the project looks as follows: at least 18 participants (6 Roma women, 12 Roma and non-Roma young people), 6 digital stories uploaded on the official YouTube channel, 1 blog reflecting the process of implementing the project, 1 Facebook page created for the 6 digital stories with at least 1000 followers, at least 2 digital stories screenings and 1 photo voice exhibition. Apart from these numbers, the women’s reflections about their experience as digital story tellers promoted on the blog, will enable us to understand to what extent they felt empowered. We will also follow the online reactions of people who were not directly involved in the project. Since digital cameras will remain theirs, we will monitor if they will continue uploading photos on the Facebook page.
If your project were to be selected as a Rising Voices grantee, what would be the general timeline of project activities in 2014?
June – Informing the partners about the results of the selection process; purchasing the 6 digital cameras
July – Selecting the participants; setting up the blog and the facebook profile for the project
August – First workshop (training in the use of digital cameras; presenting the concept of the project)
September – October- the participants will collect pictures and video material from daily life activities; meetings on regular basis in order to make sure they advance with the self-documentation process; blog actualization; Second workshop (training on digital story telling tools and assembling the digital stories)
November – realization of the digital stories as final outputs; digital stories screenings; photo voice exhibition
December – intense promotion of the digital stories.
Detail a specific budget of up to $2,500 USD for operating costs.
1100 USD – purchasing the 6 digital cameras
200 USD – workshops expenses
150 USD – traveling expenses for one expert from VIRA for the two workshops/trainings
250 USD – traveling expenses for the photographer who is an artist in Berlin
100 USD – contribution for electricity and internet expenses at the third partner- the library
100 USD – internet and electricity expenses for ASIRYS’s office
150 USD – translation costs (translating the content of the digital stories, excerpts from the blog and from the Facebook page from Romanian into Romani language)
150 USD – translation costs (translating the content of the digital stories, excerpts from the blog and from the Facebook page from Romanian into English)
100 USD – costs for the digital stories screenings and for the photo voice exhibition
Besides the microgrant funding, what other support can Rising Voices provide for your project to ensure its success?
Alternative support could be the diffusion of our digital stories on the global digital community and mediating contacts with organisations overseas implementing projects alike. Perhaps, brief consultations on punctual issues during the implementation would be also of a great help.