Medellín, Colombia — From a museum dedicated to preserving Colombia’s historical memories and furthering the peace process, to public transportation projects that now connect Medellín’s outlying neighborhoods to downtown, students from DukeEngage Colombia spent their first week here learning about the city’s culture and history of art, resilience, and innovation.
Students saw the old railroad station that once connected the city to the rest of the country; walked through Plaza Botero, home of 23 sculptures by the famed Colombian artist Fernando Botero; and visited Parque Biblioteca España (Library Park Spain), a public space for education and community events that helped transform what was once one of Medellín’s most violent neighborhoods.
These visits set the stage for the students’ work on medellín mi hogar, an alternative documentary archive, organized by Mobility Movilidad, about families who built their own homes and neighborhoods in the city.
Students also met their compañeras and compañeros, or peer partners—Colombian university students who serve as guides to local culture through a youth lens—just in time for the dramatic Colombia–Argentina game in the Copa América (America Cup).
A look at the process of mounting the 2015 exhibit of Through Our Eyes. In this exhibit, nine young emerging artists from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia shared their perspectives on 21st-century environmental and social justice crises. Their exhibit was at Punahou School in Honolulu, Hawaii, and they also traveled to Emerson College in Los Angeles, California and Boston, Massachusetts and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Running through the marrow of this exhibit as a whole was a call for us to reflect on what we all have in common: our humanity. One artist’s work, for example, reminded us of the stories that our skin—specifically our scars—tells about how we are unique and connected.
Click here to read more about the exhibit. To contact Mobility Movilidad, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 1 p.m.
Multipurpose Room at Emerson College
150 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
In a weekly class of immigrant maintenance workers, faculty, and undergraduate students, we seek to write our way across the borders in all of our lives—physical, social, and institutional. We bring people to the table who usually wouldn’t be able to come—the storytellers who have the most to teach us, but often the least access to do so. We listen to each other’s stories. And we write about, and publish, our evolving identities and dreams for more humane and just immigration and education systems for the 21st century.
This devised piece emerged from, and was inspired by, this class’s five years—and hundreds of hours—of storytelling. To develop this production, four students from the class met three times a week throughout the semester, collaborating individually with each of the maintenance workers, other undergraduates, and faculty members. It will be in English and Spanish. Now we hope to share some of their stories, and the spirit of this class, with you.
Culture Clash’s Muse & Morrosfeatured excerpts from Mario Osorio’s speech from Proyecto Carrito, which Ric Salinas, in character as a Salvadorian immigrant, read aloud, as the video of Mario’s reading was projected over the U.S. flag. Mario said, in part:
We need to recover our humanity that for the moment we have lost. … We have the power to change the world, our country, our cities, our neighborhoods. But first, we need to change our minds.
In this short video, Mobility | Movilidad founding director Tamera Marko discusses the ethics that tie together its three major projects—Proyecto Carrito, medellín mi hogar, and Proyecto Boston-Medellín—and her personal motivation for doing this work. It was filmed on Kailua Beach on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i after the Mobility | Movilidad team mounted the latest exhibit at Punahou School.
We and the journal editors have designed this article as a hybrid of academic essay and multi-media narrative that combines written-word, video, song, photographs, 3-D renders and an interactive blog. Each of these elements are equally important dimensions of the narrative and mutually inform each other. This format invites readers to read in multiple ways and orders. For example, some people might read the written word text from top to bottom first and then click on the links to various multi- media dimensions. Others might read each item in order as it appears on the page, written word text, video clips, songs and images. Still others might want to read the multi-media blog first to see our context and then read this article which analyzes it.
If I could change the world, I would change __________. Proyecto Carrito began, though we did not know it yet, with this prompt in our English-Language-Learning (ELL) writing class. It was Fall 2011, the second year that Tamera Marko and Eric Sepenoski were co-teaching this class at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. All of the students in this class were Emerson College maintenance workers (janitorial staff). All of them came to the United States because war, violence and poverty forced them to flee their homes in Latin America and seek a better life for themselves and their families. They range in age from 35 years old to 68 years old and have been working at Emerson cleaning toilets and dorms and shoveling snow for eight to twenty three years. To first come to the United States, most of them crossed three borders—on foot. Some crossed the final border between Latin America and the United States lying down with four or five others crammed in the trunks of cars.
The artists discussed a range of subjects – from artistic techniques to the similarities and differences between local cultures – with Punahou students and faculty.
Greenwell encouraged students to question the visitors about their art in the cultural and historical context of Colombia to foster a more nuanced and personalized understanding of the material. “It turned out really well,” she said: “My students got to have real one-on-one conversations with the artists.