In the third week of November we read the first two chapters of the Mapping Memories book. Working with youths, especially refugee youths, is a tricky business. It requires a lot of sensitivity and care to interact with youths of such various backgrounds. I was deeply moved by Professor Lambs experiences of working with these youths. She mentioned one particular case of how these kids were being ridiculed for sharing their stories in an assembly. Kids were being disrespectful but before Professor Lamb or another staff member spoke up a 16-year-old girl spoke to the whole room. She challenged anyone in the audience to go up and speak in front of everyone and share a personal experience. She had commanded the room and left utter silence in her wake—truly inspirational.
Participatory media is a very powerful tool that allows people to collaborate to share not only their stories but important messages. Media, when used effectively, is a great way to cause change and make people aware about certain issues–it’s wonderful a project such as this exists to assist youths in such projects. The first chapter of Mapping Memories is an introduction into the project and explains the significance and goals of the workshops. Basic questions such as “Who is a youth?” and challenges youth face are answered. Most importantly, the chapter asks the motives of working in a participatory media project. By participating do you hope to strengthen certain skills or contribute to a campaign? I think the way this manual is presented is done very well. The layout is very visually appealing with a good balance of graphics and text. I really like it that the photographs do not contain captions. As discussed earlier on this forum it really gives the viewer the opportunity to analyze the photo for themselves and figure out the message. Having a caption would take away from the visual appeal of the pages in addition to omitting the opportunity for the viewer to make their own assumptions. In addition to photographs there are drawings by participants that really stand out amongst the photographs.
My questions to the class are, how do these drawings enhance the manual? What is their significance and what impact do they have on the viewer?