Tag Archives: video workshop

moravia second phase…

So while i was in India, the second phase of Moravia Video Lab (see previous post) took place, this time led by video artist Rabía Williams and featuring many of our original participants, see some of their work below:

Both films don’t really feature dialogue so can be understood by all. The first was filmed during the Día de las Velitas (Day of the small candles) which is celebrated on December 7, on the eve of the immaculate conception, which is a public holiday in Colombia and the unofficial start of the Christmas season there.

Noche de las velitas (Night of the Small Candles) from Moravia Video_Lab on Vimeo.

This second is a visual essay on the barrio of Moravia in Medellin where most of the video lab participants come from:

Pasaje Moravia (Moravian Landscape) from Moravia Video_Lab on Vimeo.

all singing all dancing conclusions…

We have finished our workshop for now…but not for good, the idea is to come back again and train more people, make trainers of the young women we have began to work with so that this project will grow and sustain itself. But for now we have finished.

Our concluding event is unlike anything i have ever been involved in. We hold it in the auditorium of the Centro de Desarollo Cultural de Medellin where we have been based for the past 4 weeks, it is the very much used centre of the community, so it makes sense to present here. We show the films of the girls in 3 chapters which are interspersed by break dancers, capoeira dancers and a rapper (female).

Here you do things differently and as we are surrounded by music and dance, it makes sense to include it in our presentation. We are careful to choose acts that always include a positive female presence.

Film by Jessica Mazo (Zarahi)

The film above is by Zarahi, it’s an homage to a graffiti work she participated in a couple of years ago, which in turn was a homage to Moravia. She brought in the music herself to edit into the work. I think it is brilliant.

Well what can i say, it the whole thing, the workshop, the presentation was a bit of a success i think, the girls are a mixture of embarrassed and very proud to see their work in public and on a big screen, i think it was very empowering for them to see how much they could do in such a short time. They all received certificates for their work. They ask us what now? they are keen to do more…which is great and hopefully will happen…For it just to end, for the girls to stop learning and not have more opportunities to push their new skills…well they will have had a nice experience but with no lasting effect…

Some girls bring all their family, Kate’s grand mother can barely walk but she still managed to get here as did her mum and her aunt and cousins…

the perils of editing…

It’s a little stressful working in the cultural centre…we have a lot of desirable and expensive equipment for the workshop so we can never leave the place alone. Only 3 of us in the whole building have access to the one key for the room. A young male tries to enter with a flimsy excuse meanwhile he scans the room taking in all our equipment…all part of the day but on to the good stuff…

Editing with the girls, for some of them it’s their first time on a computer. Some are incredibly enthusiastic and hungry for knowledge, they pick things up really fast and come up with great editing solutions…will post some of their work as soon as i can…

Meanwhile the under 20’s world cup is going on here in Medellin, people crowd around any available screen…

Moravia was built out on and around an old rubbish dump. Big old trucks transport it in and out and a lot of recycling businesses still remain around the area.

The pollution in this town is the worst i have ever encountered, buses and trucks belch acrid black smoke into the air that catches in the back of your throat…

the workshop begins…

So people in Colombia have a different concept of time than i am used to…things get done…but slowly…or mañana…HOWEVER the workshop has began!!!!We have girls and women participating from ages 12 till 27.

(the girls are a bit of a tough crowd at first but we get them using the equipment almost immediately so they soon warm up)

So with the morning’s class we got the girls filming straight away using small flip cameras. We get them to ask simple questions such as “what did you have for breakfast?”…turns out a lot of them did not have breakfast.

With the afternoon’s class we repeated the exercise with new girls asking “what did you have for lunch?” turns out a lot of them did not have lunch…We are trying to get the centre where we are based to provide them with a little food at least.

(outside – more film exercises)

The girls asked each other their own questions in interviews like “who do you live with?” most of them live with big extended families but mostly no father and in fact few males other than brothers and many don’t know who their father is. One woman told us she shares a 5 room house with 17 other family members. Some have already filmed some very polished little clips. Next we are going to show them how to edit these. The cultural centre has film and video equipment that the girls will be able to use once we are gone. Hopefully at least a few of the most enthusiastic girls will be able to become trainers and pass on their skills…


So the UNIDEE residence is on holiday and for me at least, August this year is a bit different. I am now off to Colombia for 4 weeks to work on another project.

Am going to the area of Moravia in Medellín (pop 3.3 million) where along with another artist, Maria Rosa Jijon, we are going to run video workshops for teenage girls. We are working with 20 girls split into 2 groups of 10 with 2 workshops a day Monday to Saturday (am currently desperately trying to learn final cut pro editing vocab in spanish!).

We are here by invitation from El Puente. El puente_lab “is a platform for artistic and cultural production, active in Medellín – Colombia, which aims to develop cultural projects on a local level, building bridges of communication with artists and experts through a strategy of international cooperation.”

Images taken from the El Puente website of their project Nodos de Desarrollo Cultural (Cultural Development Nodes) whose aim is to tackle the lack of cultural spaces in the marginalized densely populated neighbourhood of Moravia, and in addition, to work under the condition of a low budget, using recycled materials and strict conditions of use of public space.

It’s going to be an intense experience. I can’t wait! As ever watch the blog for progress reports!


(Taken from the elpuentelab.org website)

Moravia is a quarter of Medellín, in Colombia, that grew from the illegal settlement of communities that arrived in the city in the ‘sixties. The municipal dump, established in the same area in 1977, gave the inhabitants a chance for survival, based on recuperating any recyclable materials, which effectively turned Moravia into an emarginated quarter with its economy based on and sustained by trash. Due to social conflict in the early ‘eighties, and ‘thanks’ to the presence of the dump, Moravia reached its highest level of population: 17 thousand people in 1983. In 2004 Moravia and its catchment area reached 42 thousand inhabitants in just 44 hectares, becoming the zone with the highest population per square metre in the entire city of Medellín. This extreme population density and the indiscriminate appropriation of the land, has caused a decline in the quality of life and a lack of public space. In the same year, the Alcaldia de Medellín (municipality of Medellín) under the guidance of mayor Sergio Fajardo, began the Macroproyecto de Moravia, an integrated strategic plan to promote development through actions aimed toward recovering the urban area and improving the socio-cultural, socio-economic and environmental conditions, working on both physical and social components, such as public space, public hygiene, public housing and education.
Only recently the resurgence of Medellin, founded on culture and education, has given results even in the Moravia district, the first and perhaps most important of which was the simple inclusion of the quarter in the urban fabric. A significant sign of the quarter’s rebirth is the Centro de Desarrollo Cultural de Moravia (CDCM), a centre whose aim is to promote culture, education and the arts, and which was strongly desired by the community; a project that is truly one of a kind, and that offers a highly valid model for the entire continent.