Investigating the potential of storytelling and collective creation for empowering communities who have been victimized but have also resisted the cycles of violence.
We believe that narratives can reproduce power structures or challenge them, and our aim is to amplify in the national debate the voices of underrepresented communities such as Afro-Colombian rural peoples, who have disproportionately suffered the consequences of the armed conflict. Our co-creation team thus includes co-researchers from regions that have been strategic locations of the Colombian armed conflict: two Afro-Colombian social leaders from Riosucio, Chocó, and a schoolteacher from Yondó, Antioquia. The three of them have identified the importance of producing storytelling as a means to preserve their local memories in order to both strengthen community organizations and bolster democratic values. The other team members are a history professor at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá and NORMAL, a collective of documentarians, designers, and scholars who are committed to the co-creation of high-quality stories for social change.
In the field of transitional justice, a consensus view is emerging over the importance of addressing not only human rights violations as such, but the longer histories of economic, social, ethnic, territorial, and gender inequalities that underlie social discord and can potentially reproduce it. Our main aim is to investigate the potential of storytelling and collective creation for empowering communities affected by conflict.
We will produce three outcomes:
- storytelling in narrative podcast form that merges the memories of rural communities affected by the Colombian armed conflict and explanatory historical context.
- a listening methodology for the podcast that can be implemented by high-school teachers in different regions to teach about the violent past as a necessary step to transition into more democratic societies.
- a robust website that will host both, and in the future, be expanded with other podcasts and accompanying lesson plans.
The podcast we will produce addresses EdJAM’s “Transitional Justice and Memory” theme insofar as it seeks to integrate historical research to give a long-term perspective to the socio-economic and cultural inequalities that have affected the life experience of Afro-Colombian women who have disproportionately suffered the impact of the armed conflict. It also addresses the theme “History Education and Classrooms” because our podcast will be accompanied by a listening methodology in the form of lesson plans that we will articulate to the needs of teachers in charge of the “Cátedra de la paz” (the school peace program) as well as ethno-educators in different parts of the country. Finally, we also address the “Heritage Education and everyday Lives” themes insofar as our podcast is an effort to produce memory in media beyond museums, that will help produce more inclusive narratives of Colombianness by reframing our shared past.
We expect our project to benefit not only the Afro-Colombian community whose story we will co-produce but also schoolteachers and students from different areas affected by the armed conflict in Colombia who can enrich the teaching and learning of history, the social sciences and the school peace program with more inclusive narratives and methodologies that promote dialogue.
"I would like to tell stories to let the country and the world know, from inside Chocó, what our territory really is, beyond the outside perspectives that only speak of poverty and difficulties. I would also like the new generations to know their history; there are beautiful things that have helped people to have resilience and bonding with their land and their ancestry. I would like to tell stories so that the memory of what there is, of what has been, of what can continue to be, remains".
Ana Luisa Ramírez., Community social leader and trainee psychologist
Ana Luisa Ramírez and Jenry Serna have identified the importance of producing stories as a means of preserving local memories, strengthening community-based organisations, and reinforcing democratic values. The other members of the team are: NORMAL, a collective of documentary filmmakers, designers and academics committed to co-creating high quality stories with the aim of achieving social change; schoolteachers Helga Moreno (who teaches in Yondó, Antioquia) and Fernando Gálvez (who teaches in Guacarí, Valle del Cauca), both teachers with experience in using media as a creative teaching-learning strategy; and Catalina Muñoz Rojas, historian, Associated Professor at the Universidad de los Andes, and co-founder of the project Stories for What’s Next, where she has devoted herself to applying historical thinking and narrative to the construction of more just futures.
Together we produced Nuestra Orilla, an eight-episode sound series that tells the story of Bajo Atrato, a region in the Colombian department of Chocó, from the perspectives of its inhabitants and through the life experience of the narrator, Ana Luisa Ramírez. The story – told in the voices of women and men from a community that is rarely heard and often presented as backward – sheds light on the interconnections between past and present forms of violence and exclusion. It also examines the protagonists’ strategies for combating injustice, as well as their insistence on securing a dignified life in their territory.
In Nuestra Orilla we challenge the places, temporalities and methodologies used to tell the stories of violence in Colombia, in the hope of producing counter-stories that help to repair the way we relate to each other and to the environment. In order to amplify the voices of Bajo Atrato and to contribute with the configuration of a critical way of exercising citizenship among the new generations, Nuestra Orilla is accompanied by a didactic guide that we make available to teachers who find resonances between this story and the projects they develop in their classrooms.
Project resource links:
- Podcast Nuestra Orilla in Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google podcasts, Spreaker, Amazon Podcasts and YouTube
- Didactic guide for teachers
Meet the team:
Learn more about this project
BlogJAM: Nuestra Orilla launches an eight-episode podcast series that tells the story of the Bajo Atrato region.
In August 2023, the Co-creation of Storytelling and Listening Pedagogies for Peacebuilding in Colombia project, launched their podcast series Nuestra Orilla.…Read more