Digital Storytelling Workshops

Digital Media Program for Creative Expression by Youth

Since 2006, Voices Beyond Walls has conducted nearly a dozen workshops in six different refugee camps in the West Bank in collaboration with youth centers, volunteer facilitators, and young participants aged 10-16. In each 10-day workshop a team of trainers works closely with 20-25 youth in groups to produce digital media shorts. Weaving together original stories, drama, poetry, photography, music, and digital video these youth express their own perspectives on Palestinian history, culture and everyday life in the refugee camps, as well as their dreams and aspirations.

The following learning objectives guided the design and evaluation of the workshops conducted:

  • Conceptualizing personal narratives through storytelling in small groups

  • Creating storyboards and scripts for digital media projects

  • Learning camera work, sound, editing and digital media production techniques

  • Producing extended media projects in the field (on location)

The initiative partners closely with Palestinian youth/community organizations including The Freedom Theater in Jenin Camp (Jenin), the Yafa Cultural Center in Balata Camp (Nablus), the Computer Clubhouse in Ramallah, the Lajee Center in Aida Camp (Bethlehem), and the Women and Child Centers in Shu’fat Camp (East Jerusalem). Intensive pre-workshop training sessions are conducted with adult volunteers at the centers, while seeking their feedback in tailoring the curricula and program to the needs of the youth in their local community. Follow-up site visits are conducted by the core team for evaluation.

Over the past 3 years from 2006-2009, the workshops have trained dozens of adult facilitators and engaged hundreds of youth in producing their own digital video shorts. Nearly 60 video shorts have been created by teams of youth in workshops conducted thus far. Most workshops are gradually run by the facilitators and youth trained in subsequent years, ensuring greater ownership, transfer of skills and a path to sustainability over time. As the workshop programs become more independent they spurn novel learning and production approaches in their own centers, while sharing and contributing to the overall Voices Beyond Walls network of youth media workshops and participating community centers.

Funding for the program since 2006 has been supported in part by contributions and resources provided by private donors in the U.S. Since 2007, most workshops have been supported by grants from the Hoping Foundation, based in the U.K. The Ramallah workshop in 2008 was supported by the Welfare Association.

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