Oral History Workshop Project

Posted by Peter MUIR


Elephant Community Press (ECP) is seeking applicants to be involved in its Oral History Workshop Project.  The project will see students first learn writing, interviewing and photography skills and then use these skills to interview local elderly people, aiming to develop written and visual profiles that will be exhibited in a local gallery.

WHO:  Elephant Community Press (ECP) / schools and two elderly home partners

WHEN:            March – April 2013 – an 8 week course for 2 hours/week (Tuesdays 4:30-6:30pm) plus 2 full-day site visits on Sat, 23rd March and Sat, 13th April

WHERE: Elephant Community Press, Unit #1503, 80 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai and site visits at the 2 elderly homes or social centres for the elderly

Background

ECP has been providing creative writing education to young people in Hong Kong for the last 4 years. At local public schools, ESF schools and international schools, ECP brings unique curricula to spark the imagination and develop confidence in project-based workshops geared towards publishing. Last year, ECP launched Street Team to take their learning concepts out into the streets by bridging communities that might not otherwise get to know each other.

ECP’s first project was a mixed genre book with photos and writing created by a group of older students from Canadian International School who mentored younger kids from refugee communities served by the non-profit organization Vision First. The students created all of the content for this hardbound book called Envision It, now being sold to raise funds for Vision First.

Project Summary

ECP is now proposing a writing and photojournalism project that will not only bridge communities of young learners, but also bridge generations, by sharing the stories of 12 elderly residents in Hong Kong, which might otherwise go unheard.

ECP would like to recruit bilingual (Cantonese / English) students ages 15-17 from International Schools and from local schools through the Hong Kong Award for Young People.

A total of 12 students will partner to develop interviewing and photography skills over an 8-week period of classroom workshops interwoven with site visits to two elderly homes or social centres for the elderly. The reason for selecting two sites is to offer students the chance to develop skills in presenting profiles that may represent different communities and further bridge separate regional demographics in Hong Kong. The transcripts and notes from these interviews will be written up in English to create profiles of 12 different Hong Kong seniors. The skill building workshops will be led by students in the Master’s of Journalism programme at Hong Kong Baptist University as an internship opportunity, supervised and supported by their professor, Robin Ewing.

By the end of April 2013, the Street Team project will culminate in a final exhibition opening of stories and portraits at a local gallery.

Project Objectives:

  • Encourage students to engage in the community in a variety of ways including partnered work across communities, both with each other and among the elderly community
  • Demonstrate the power of learning experiences that reach beyond the classroom and out into the local community.
  • Provide guidelines and tools for journalistic interviewing and oral history reporting
  • Draw on a multimedia approach to literacy (Workshop will include photos)
  • Exhibit work in public space to share the stories collected with greater community

Commitment and skills required by students:

  • Ages 15-17
  • Applicants must be bilingual Cantonese / English speakers (this can be flexible)
  • Available for all of 8 sessions Tuesday after school (4:30-6:30pm) from 26th Feb to 23rd April and 2 site visits (Saturday 23rd Mar, 13th Apr)
  • Interested in writing, journalism, documenting community stories, working with the elderly, collaborating with peers outside their school
  • Able to show initiative; must be collaborative and responsible
  • Willing to represent schools and ECP in this community project
  • Other expectations: must cover own transportation costs

Interested students are to email peter.muir@dc.edu.hk for further details about how to apply.