The Tiziano Project | blog

Through Our Eyes exhibit opens in Washington DC

By Jon Vidar on August 6, 2011 10:58 AM | No Comments


Last week The Tiziano Project opened our first multimedia exhibit at the Iraqi Cultural Center in Washington DC's Dupont Circle. Not only was it incredible to see our student's work displayed on the wall, but nearly 200 people showed up for the event. In attendance were representatives from the Iraq and Kurdistan governments, the US State Department, USAID, Voice of America, and we even had a special appearance from former Congressman and current Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Jim Leach. It was an incredible evening for us.

If you are in DC this month be sure to stop by for a visit! Through Our Eyes will be on display until September 1, 2011.


The Iraqi Cutlural Center
1630 Connecticut Ave NW # 200
Washington D.C.
(202) 527-7009


The Tiziano Project Wins $200,000 from the Knight Foundation!

By Jon Vidar on June 22, 2011 5:25 AM | No Comments

It has been a big year for The Tiziano Project and far too long since we have posted here.

If you keep up with us via our Facebook or Twitter pages, you already know that The Tiziano Project | 360 Kurdistan took the contest season by storm. We took home the top prize in Activism from SXSW Interactive, a Gracie Award for our coverage of women's issues, two Webby Award honors, and recognitions from the Society for News Design, the Interactive Media Council, and the New Media Institute.

We are nothing less than amazed, a little surprised, and deeply honored. The entire team worked extremely hard -- all as volunteers -- to pull off the 360 Kurdistan and it really means a lot to see how well it was received.

The success of the 360 Kurdistan project has also led to incredible other opportunities for the organization. A few months ago Andrew McGregor spoke on behalf of The Tiziano Project at TEDxUSC. Just a couple weeks ago, I gave a talk on providing local voices at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

At the same time, spurred by the Arab Spring and the fact that everyday people are rising up to topple dictatorships, people are taking notice of the power within individual voices. At The Tiziano Project, our mission is to promote and amplify those voices around the world.

Well, good news. Last week, the Knight Foundation announced that The Tiziano Project is a recipient of a $200,000 Knight News Challenge Grant!

We will be using the funding during the next year to accomplish three main objectives:

1) advance and develop the Tiziano 360 platform to make it scalable and useable by other community journalism projects around the world

2) create a curated interactive map of these global projects to allow for audiences to easily explore conflict, post-conflict, and underrepresented regions

3) develop an engagement layer on top of the platform that will allow for direct two-way communication between global audiences and the local community members of whom we support.

The goal for this project will be two-fold. First, we will work to elevate and promote quality community journalism through an immersive and collaborative platform, and second, we will work to provide local community members the power to change outsiders perceptions of the regions in which they live.

We have some other great opportunities and potential collaborations brewing, so stay tuned, but for now, consider what an amazing time it is in the world we live.

At The Tiziano Project, we just hope to play a small part. While at the UN, a blogger and Internet Freedom Fellow Henda Hendoud from Tunisia said it best:

"The world is in the midst of a revolution, it's not just Egypt and Tunisia. ... There is a whole group of youth who only know this new world and it is a world without borders. And that is the revolution."

The 360 is coming... Check out our graduation ceremony!

By Victoria Fine on August 16, 2010 6:27 AM | No Comments

During the last few weeks, the Iraq team at The Tiziano Project has been working day and night to help our students finish their final videos and complete their stories. After a week of 12-hour days and longer nights, I'm so happy to say that everyone finished and with work that has impressed me beyond my wildest expectations. Our reporters covered everything from pigeon keepers to nomads, women drivers to master chefs. Their range of subjects really embodied what we've been trying to do in Kurdistan this whole summer-- To report on a region from every angle.

To celebrate the end of the program and award students for their hard work, we had a graduation ceremony and party for them on Thursday. Because it was the beginning of Ramadan, we were a little worried about the turnout for the event.

But it seemed that every person who had heard about our project wanted to be there for the final presentation. Our friends from International Republican Institute, the KDP, UNESCO and local news stations came to show their support and loved what the students produced. Even representatives from the U.S. embassy enjoyed the ceremony, and stayed to chat with our reporters and talk journalism with our mentors.

Jon gave a short speech and then the Kurdish Regional Government Minister of Culture was kind enough to come and present each of our students with their certificates of completion. We also gave out a few awards for students who had gone above and beyond the call of duty during the term.

I have to say that in my long career of sitting through award ceremonies, this was definitely the most fun one I've been to, mostly because it's impossible to make what we've done here sound boring.

If you missed it or just want to check out what we've been up to, you can watch the ceremony right here:

In the next few days we'll be unveiling our final project, The Tiziano Project | 360 Kurdistan. I'm not saying this lightly: You're gonna love it. Stay tuned!

Update from Diyarbakir

By Shanika Gunaratna on July 14, 2010 7:35 AM | No Comments

After two more classes, The Tiziano Project's first multimedia journalism workshop in Diyarbakir, Turkey will come to a close. And as our days in Diyarbakir are dwindling, our students are working at dizzying speed on their final projects.

For their final projects, our students -- all from local high schools -- are working on photo slideshows with audio commentary. These pieces are centered around the interesting characters of Diyarbakir: from the passionate owner of a music store to a proud security guard to a young boy who supplements his father's income by weighing passerby, at 25 cents a person, on the streets of the city.

Very few people speak English in Diyarbakir -- Turkish is spoken in most official contexts, and Kurdish in a more casual capacity. For this reason, my fellow mentor Tracy Fuad and I are inherently limited in how well we can understand the city's population of two million. Our students have been an inspiration, taking advantage of each homework assignment to befriend complete strangers and explore a side of the city previously unknown to them. Their work makes us wonder what layers of untold stories exist in our own hometowns in the U.S.

What's left to do? For the next two classes, we'll be helping our students piece together their audio slideshows, making sure every moment of their final projects is vivid, clear and compelling. At the end of the day, we are amazed by how easily our students grasp the finer points of multimedia storytelling. We've shown them how to use software such as Audacity, which they can download for free online and use for future projects. After just a few lessons, the students are practically experts at creating transitions, editing natural sound, layering voices, and so on. Maybe it's their age -- at 16, most of them were raised to understand how to harness to internet for their own purposes. But even so, we're amazed at their natural abilities in telling the stories of their communities using technology that is completely new to them.

Check out these photos from Tiziano Mentor Grant Slater's recent visit from Iraq to our program in Diyarbakir:

First Day of Class!

By Jon Vidar on June 14, 2010 1:54 PM | No Comments

The Tiziano Project workshops in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq began today. Check out these photos of the team working with the students on how to use Dipity and Tumblr:

Gearing up for Iraq 2010

By Jon Vidar on June 11, 2010 7:42 AM | No Comments

On June 1st Victoria Fine and I crossed the border from Turkey into Iraq and just four days later the third member of our team, Grant Slater, arrived. It has been only 10 days in country, but a lot of work! After a long hunt, we secured a place to live with an American-run logistics company. Finding a place to stay was a lot harder than we expected, but the house we found is actually a pretty great setup. They rent out their roof to an Internet provider for antennae space and in exchange we get free Internet and a 24-hour-a-day generator! Power in Erbil is still frightfully bad, so this really was a selling point for us. Plus they have daily maid service.

So far we have spent a lot of time prepping for our courses, meeting with local journalists and editors, and interviewing some of our students. One of the best moments came when the Editor-in-Chief of the Hawler and Kurdish Globe pulled out a couple issues for us to look through. It came as a surprise to both of us when I opened a copy to find one of my photos being used without permission or attribution! His response, "we should have at least given you credit!"

Check out this slideshow to see what we have been up to so far:

The New Tiziano Project

By Jon Vidar on May 25, 2010 9:56 AM | No Comments

It's been five months since you helped The Tiziano Project win $25,000 from the Chase Community Giving Competition on Facebook. While we may have been quiet since then, we have not been still.

During the last several months, we have reworked The Tiziano Project from the ground up - no aspect of the organization has gone untouched. Our team has put in hundreds of hours of hard work, thought, and diligence, and today, The Tiziano Project is pleased to announce our new look and feel.

Our website has changed directions significantly. We have refocused it to be a community resource, not just for our students, but also for like-minded organizations.

At The Tiziano Project, we wholeheartedly believe that the key to nonprofit, community journalism is collaboration. As such, we will be giving away our curricula, technologies, and knowledge through this website as we further develop as an organization during the next three months.

At our core, however, we are still an organization dedicated to promoting high-quality storytelling. So, we've also launched a new sub-site -- The Tiziano Project | reports -- a dedicated portal to our student's work.

Finally, today also marks a special day for us, as Victoria Fine and myself officially head to Iraq to teach the Summer 2010 workshop. We have something extra special planned this year for distributing content and will be announcing it within the next month.

For now, please take a moment and check out the new sites. We would love to hear your feedback and hope you enjoy the new Tiziano Project.

Jon Vidar

Executive Director, The Tiziano Project

Apply for Tiziano Iraq 2010

By Jon Vidar on May 18, 2010 12:34 AM | No Comments

Applications are now being accepted for both student and professional tracks for The Tiziano Project's 2010 workshop in Erbil, Iraq.

The workshop will run from June 14th - August 6th and students will be expected to meet two or three days a week for both in-class and one-on-one instruction. Students will receive training in basic journalism skills, including interviewing, photography, video and multimedia, as well as learn essential online self-marketing and networking skills.

The workshop will be free of charge and we will provide equipment for instruction. Unfortunately, The Tiziano Project cannot provide any accommodations or living expenses at this time.

To apply, please download the application and send the completed file and additional material to:

Meet the 2010 Iraq Mentors

By Jon Vidar on May 10, 2010 11:48 AM | No Comments

Jon Vidar
Jon Vidar - Executive Director

Jon Vidar is a freelance photographer who focuses on capturing moments and telling stories through new media and visual imagery.

Based out of Los Angeles, CA, Jon works regularly for the Associated Press with photos published by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today and NEED Magazine. His work has received honors from Getty Images, the National Press Photographers Association, FotoweekDC, and Microsoft.

In 2007, Jon joined The Tiziano Project and helped establish the first base of operations in Kigali, Rwanda. In the Summer of 2008, he piloted a two-week long multimedia workshop in Northern Iraq and recently secured the project a $25,000 grant from Chase Trust to conduct a three-month program in Iraqi Kurdistan during the summer of 2010.

Jon earned a master's degree in Communication Management from the Annenberg School for Communication with concentrations in Information Technology and Strategic Corporate Communications.


Victoria Fine
Victoria Fine - Director of Advancement and Outreach

Victoria Fine is a new media journalist and an editor for Huffington Post Impact. Her work has been featured both in the U.S. and abroad, including the Chicago Tribune,, and L'Officiel, a fashion magazine based in Paris. She is also the managing editor of Modern Overland, a travel guidebook series dedicated to providing tech savvy travelers the information they need to make global exploration socially sustainable and ecofriendly. Fine has authored two books, including "Fundamental Talent," a handbook on top-level management succession. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and holds a master's degree in new media storytelling.


Grant Slater
Grant Slater - Multimedia and Videography Specialist / Mentor

Grant Slater is a multimedia journalist and writer. He has written for The Associated Press from the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and the United States. His work has also appeared in Chicagoist, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency and publications in his home state of Oklahoma.

He holds bachelor's degrees in journalism and Russian language from the University of Oklahoma and is currently pursuing a master's degree in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Starting in 2007, he worked as a freelance journalist covering the countries of the former Soviet Union, traveling widely across the region. His coverage included the 2008 conflict in Georgia and the local fallout from the global financial crisis.