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