Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 we all have been practicing social distancing. Learning and working remotely, not being able to spend time with friends and loved ones, not having a possibility to travel, to meet and connect with new people.
How can we support young people now?
What can we do to break the cycle of loneliness and restore the broken connections? For us at Fundacja Autokreacja the answer is to provide youngsters with tools to build a true dialogue and to create for them a safe space for sharing, reflecting, and interacting. We believe that the best way to do so is through art, and that is why we have created “How I See You: Creating a Digital Community”: a project on digital storytelling that includes photo- and video-based methods.
Within the project we first went to Cairo, Egypt, to train the professional youth workers in participatory photography and film making. During our five days stay we met with activists from Spain, Egypt, Jordan, and Poland to explore how tools based on digital means of expression can help build a meaningful dialogue across cultural differences. We did self-portraits, collages, photo-collages, and short, personal films. All of our activities served one main purpose: to reflect upon who we are and to share it with the others in the spirit of focusing on similarities while at the same time respecting and acknowledging the cultural differences existing between us.
How I See You: Creating a Digital Community is a collaborative project organized by NGOs from both the EU and MENA region: Fundacja Autokreacja (Poland), Jovesolides Spain, Jovesolides Egypt and Jordan Youth Innovation Forum.
In the next project stage, the trained multipliers will organize local workshops back in their home communities, recreating the methods with the youngsters in order to help them reconnect with one another because ultimately, through sharing stories, we discover that together we are less alone.