POPULAR COMMUNICATION SCHOOL ALBERTO GRIFI
… “the heat and the mosquitoes not help but the guys still enthusiastic work until the last scene, until the final title with thanks and the word “the end”.
They know that this is the beginning of a long and difficult work in communication. They feel the responsibility to pursue alone designing communication tools through a creative and alternative form.
Speak and spread between the communities stories of violence and repression, stories from field that nobody ever could and wanted to tell, because sometimes remember is all too painful. The real possibility to take back in our hands the word to communicate existe and to do it we need the support and collaboration of all.
And on these looks we can find the words and the visions of Alberto Grifi. These looks accompained us to demolish the barriers of bourgeois professionalism, toward a reality of communitarian communication where definitively break the roles of author and protagonist.
Communication is a human, collective and freedom activity” …
Ironriot, Colombia 2007
The reality of today’s communication is managed mainly by large economic groups and many communities and social strata are except from communicative flow. For many the information is an experience that suffers themselves, that leaves bewildered, disappointed and impotent.
The world of information and communication processes presents itself to the marginalized communities of our society as a monolith that leaves no possibility of access and understanding. All is build around an exasperated professionalism and category orders (like the order of journalists) that exclude a priori any communicative activity not conformed to sectorial dynamics.
The progressive technologizing of communicative processes is a phenomenon that has the potential to enlarge the field of users but above all of productors of informative contents and communicative processes. Instead it’s use to build another step distance between the professionals of information and global users.
The progressive technologizing communication processes is a phenomenon that has the potential to broaden the scope of users but also of the producers of information content and communication processes. Instead is subtly used to construct an additional step of separation between information professionals and the global users. The technological panic is indeed a common phenomenon in marginalized communities of today’s society: more and more often thought impossible to initiate communication process or produce informative contents for the lack of knowledge about the use (and real lack) of sophisticated technological equipment to last generation.
Generally prefers themselves to wait for the ‘information professional’, to tell and inform about that reality, according to his interests and ideologies, and according to availability and ideologies of the newsrooms that employs them.
GOALS AND STRATEGIES
Popular Communication School Alberto Grifi is a space of libertarian training with the main goal to raise awareness on the importance of independent media and expression freedom.
The School is not identified in a particular physical space and it doesn’t have specialized teachers. It determines itself every time and everywhere it takes place in optimal conditions.
On one hand, there is the desire to share and exchange knowledge, breaking down the cultural barrier between teacher and student as main characteristic of the educational processes in Western cultures. On the other hand, there is a community, which is living a process of autonomy and independence from the unique thought of the neo-liberal model. A community using its human, social and cultural potentialities, to resist against exploitation, and to re-define, day by day, its own present.
The main goal of the course is to constitute groups of communitarian communication, which have the basic knowledge to use the principal communication equipment: video-camera, photo-camera, audio recorder, computer. With the learning of these basic skills, the groups will be encouraged to find out an autonomous process of creative, productive and organizational development.
This process will allow the communication group, and at the community as a whole, to have their medium, appropriate to their needs and reinforcing the self-management process.
Communication groups are also stimulate to share the knowledge learned during the course.
So we organize a further workshop managed by the student the first workshop: they teach to student from other communities or other people of the same community who wants to be involved.
In fact the goal of Popular Communication School is not to create communication professionals, but to support autonomy processes of communities in resistance.
‘Sharing knowledge’ breaks the logic of professionalism, which tries to protect information, building a society with higher and lower classes.
‘Sharing’ means participate to the construction of a collective intelligence, a strong and conscious community, where communication is a popular process, diffuse, practiced, protect by everybody.
In general, the study planning of our Popular Communication School has six modules:
• Theory of popular communication
• Audiovisual language
• Multimedia language and internet
First, the practice of these modules is in relation with the technological possibilities of the community. In this way we work only in the communication areas that afterward they autonomously will develop.
Then, we do a meeting with the whole community, finding out the communication media, which more can satisfy their needs in that moment.
In this way, maintaining a general education on every communication media and technologies, they study in deep the modules more important linked with their own community communication strategy. This is important to develop a real communication autonomy developing.
(workshop developed in October 2006, Catatumbo region, Columbia)
The workshop develops in four days for every community, with six hour of work everyday.
The first day we meet in a meeting with the whole community. We pleasantly discuss for a long time on communication conditions on the area where they live, speaking about the strategical importance of popular communication. In this first day the central topic is the independent communication and the goal is to stress its importance with the need to start an emancipator self-determinate process, rather than reliance on us.
In this discussion on strategies to defend their projects, they decide to don’t promote and realize only one communication project for the whole region (i.e. a radio or newspaper). They want develop more media in relation to each other and in more communities as possible. Here the idea of communication network becomes a strategy to defend their own right to communicate and be informed.
From 2005 to 2007 we realize our workshops in Colombia. In collaboration with NGO International Peace Observatory we meet rural communities in resistance in Magdalena Medio, Catatumbo and Tolima regions. With them and with the farmer associations accompanying the autonomy and resistance process, we construct the first communication groups and we realize a photo-showing; two brief publications (Catatumbo Habla and Voces del Altamizal), Taller Comunicacion, a video documentary on our school workshops in which students interview each other, speaking about their impression on this project; three short docu-fiction filmed with the camera editing technique (Historia real de un campesino, La histora de un informante and Tragedia campesina).
In 2009 we are in Mexico where, thanks to the group Nodo Solidale, we realize some workshops in the zapotec indigenous community in Santiago Xanica, Sierra South of Oaxaca State.
The students filmed a short docu-fiction with the camera editing technique (La milpa y el campesino).
In 2010 we are in Smira, a small farmer community in Morocco. We support a suistantable tourism project called Desert Ocean which borned from a collaboration between Morocco Migrant Community resident in Bologna area (the association Sopra i Ponti) and the rural communities of involved villages. Often these villages are also places of origin of people involved in this project.
The final result of this workshop is the realisation of a web site that the communities can use to give visibility to their territory and to sustainable tourism (http://desertocean.indivia.net/ ).
Popular Communication School Alberto Grifi workshops are powered by the cultural association VISUAL COMMUNICATION PROJECT and the video group TELEIMMAGINI?, and are produced by the Self-Managed Cultural Center XM24 (Bologna, Italy).