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: