As we get to the end of the third day of the digital story telling workshop in Islamabad, Pakistan, I look around the room to see every one of the participants working intensely working at finishing their stories. We have just demonstrated how to use windows movie maker and i-movie – the last of the tutorials in our training plan. The room is buzzing – they are finding images, re-checking their audio recordings, drinking tea with one hand while the other rests on their keyboard. Each is determined to finish their stories; to get to the end of the intense process we began two days ago.
Someone is singing. Her earphones are on and she is quite unaware of the multiple conversations going on around her. I know that she sang the soundtrack for her movie too. She has a beautiful voice. Somewhere else someone is busy making sketches to illustrate her story – simple line figures that belie the complexities of her story. And then there is the giggling, the laughter, the smiles called uncalled to their lips as they work.
When we started the training three days ago, many were worried that they did not have stories to tell, or that there were too many stories. They asked “does it have to be about me? Told in the first person?” They were activists, writers, lawyers – women (and one man) – who work every day for the rights of others. Surely it would be “more important for me to tell the story of someone who I’ve worked with?” one asked?
We made the most beautiful hand maps that helped surface how we see the connections between violence against women and ICTs. Some hands were in a fist, others had bloodied knuckles, others still were open. Each showed the multi-layered relationships between violence against women and ICTs.
The story circle began in the afternoon of the first day. We spoke about violence, feeling protected, injustice, connections, discrimination, resistance, solidarity … as each person shared their story others were able to recognise some part of themselves in it. It was simply awesome.
Participating in and facilitating the story circle in Islamabad has had a profound impact on my feminism and approach to training. It reminded me of how much we leave unspoken whether by choice or coercion. It was like something opened up and things came out that they themselves
didn't anticipate. It made me think of how important and precious these spaces are - where women, activist women - talk about their own trauma, hopes, fears and victories. There really aren't enough of those. I want to do more work that makes this possible.
In my work as the coordinator of a project about violence against women and ICTs I’m often asked: “why do you focus on ICTs when there are so many other pressing issues”. This workshop has reminded me why.
It’s now half an hour after we officially closed today’s session, but everyone is still hard at work in front of their computers. Upon request, the training room will remain open for as long as they need tonight. Tomorrow we will screen all of the stories and watch them together.
Agenda para la capacitación, presentaciones, anotaciones de las instructoras que han participado de los talleres ITF. Materiales para usar en la propia planificación de los talleres ITF.