film production + social action



Posts Tagged ‘change’

Emphas.is on the Story

By Tim Gauss

This post is part of RP’s art and media for social change blog series.

Just how far can innovative social media and art be used to increase global awareness of social injustices that otherwise go largely unnoticed? One answer may lie in Emphas.is—a funding platform encouraging photojournalists to pitch their stories and create an open dialogue with potential investors—everyday people who simply believe in the cause without looking for financial profit.  In return, these socially conscience supporters receive something more valuable—the shared experience and insight into the creative experience of the photojournalist.

Let us take for example a project proposed by Turkey based photographer Carolyn Drake – recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, the Lange Taylor Documentary Prize, and a Guggenheim fellowship. Carolyn began an in-depth photo-essay surrounding China’s “Go West” policy and the effects on the Uyghurs – a group of Turkic-speaking Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region that takes up one fifth of China’s land mass.

As a means to ascertain more control and utilize natural resources, the Chinese government has established it’s own “manifest destiny;” encouraging loyal Han Chinese to push westward. This in turn forces the Uyghurs to the fringes of their own territory – a place where cultural and religious rights are severely restricted and oppressed.

Birthed in the shadow of the Tibetan struggle for independence from China, the story of the Uyghurs is one worth shedding light on. In her own words, Carolyn “aims to challenge the politically slanted storylines by working toward a compassionate story of the Uyghurs told from inside their world.”

In a recent blog post, Carolyn has also offered a series of “rewards” dependent on the amount donated. These include signed postcards, MP3’s, hand sewn hats, pieces of Hotan jade, archival prints and even the chance to meet with Carolyn for a private workshop or lecture.

Although Emphas.is in its infancy, it appears as though it has established itself as an invaluable funding tool and people are taking notice. Recently, iconic street artist Shepard Fairey has collaborated with the Pine Ridge Billboard Project in creating limited edition prints that raise awareness for the Sioux Nation reservation camp injustices.

What truly sets Emphas.is apart is the fact that it allows for a deeper connection to the project by using a traditional social media tool to make supporters feel like they are more than casual observers.

Get involved in the story: http://emphas.is/

 


Malcolm Gladwell: Social Media Still Not a Big Deal

by: @tsweens

Full article here: http://dlvr.it/LrHGd

Malcolm GladwellAcclaimed social thinker and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell continues to assert that as far as promoting activism goes, social media is not the powerful tool it’s cracked up to be. Despite recent reports that rebels in both Egypt and Tunisia relied heavily on Facebook and Twitter to communicate, Gladwell believes that the websites offer little more value than that:

I mean, in cases where there are no tools of communication, people still get together. So I don’t see that as being… in looking at history, I don’t see the absence of efficient tools of communication as being a limiting factor on the ability of people to socially organize.

Gladwell goes on to point out that social media tools might actually be detrimental to revolutions in that they offer totalitarian governments the opportunity to “spy” on demonstrators.

I have to say, I’m a Malcolm Gladwell fan. I’ve read The Tipping Point and Blink and enjoyed them both. If we were not in the midst of working on a documentary that surveys the power of the Internet as a collaborative tool, I might have to agree with Gladwell. But right now, I still think I’d have to side with Clay Shirky.


Gawaahi: Video Storytelling in Pakistan

By @ChristieM

Happy 100th Anniversary to International Women’s Day! I’m a little late in my well wishes, but the sentiment is still there.

This is my first blog post for Righteous Pictures and after following Michael Kleiman’s always entertaining “This Week in RP” and Alexandra Bunzl’s inspiring post, “Can Art Change the World?” I”m a little nervous. For RP I hope to blog weekly on Technology and Social Change: How new online and mobile technologies are accelerating positive change around the world. You may also hear me talk about storytelling fairly often as its not the tools themselves that are creating change, its how people are using them to tell their story and allowing all of us the opportunity to see into each other’s worlds.

Being International Women’s Day, I wanted to highlight the launch of a new website, called Gawaahi, by my friend Sana Saleemand her Gawaahi co-founder Naveen Naqvi. I’m highlighting their website today not just because they are women, but because they are giving a voice to women in Pakistan. I had the honor of meeting Sana at the International Youth Conference in Islamabad in December, during which she skillfully schooled the Minister of Information on the government’s education policies.

In their own words, “Gawaahi.com is home to digital stories of Pakistan. Stories of abuse and survival, the testimonies of the survivors of the worst floods in Pakistan’s history, the narratives of Pakistanis celebrating their individual identities are just some examples of what we have for you. Our team finds stories that are under-reported in the mainstream media.

Gawaahi.com serves as a platform for anyone (not just women) in Pakistan to submit their story on their own. Gawaahi also goes out into local communities to seek out stories and gather opinions, usually on video, from the people of Pakistan. Through their blogs posts and videos, they able to put a spotlight on the individuals, stories, and events that are often ignored by traditional media, which faces government and military control and intimidation.

 

One of the videos I watched most recently was of a seventeen year old girl telling her story of how after insulting a man, she was attacked by him with acid. I have heard about acid attacks on women many times before and have always been horrified. But watching this brave young woman stare straight into the camera and unabashedly tell her story, without the dramatic music and setting of a scripted, highly-produced video, effected me more than all the news stories of unnamed women I had read in print.

With an Islamic government and terrorist bombings nearly everyday, many of us have a negative idea of what life in Pakistan is like, and know very little about the actual people there, myself included. Gawaahi offers people in Pakistan a microphone for their voice and the rest of the world an insight into the stories and opinions of Pakistanis that news media rarely covers.

If you do one thing for International Women’s Day, please go to the website and just watch a few videos and learn from these incredible women. I think (and hope!) that like me, you will see a whole new side to Pakistan.