Voice of Witness Launches New Chapter in Youth Workshop with 100cameras

Youth holds up a camera
Photo credit: K. Johnson
The new Voice of Witness chapter, “The Lens of Listening,” combines visual and oral storytelling to empower youth and build communication and empathy skills.

Voice of Witness is excited to continue collaborating with 100cameras by contributing a new chapter to the Where You Are Workshop. The Where You Are Workshop was designed by 100cameras to help participants process challenging times during the pandemic while promoting self-expression, creativity, and connectivity. It’s a self-guided workshop that is free for anyone, anywhere, with no specific camera needed. Over 20,000 participants have already registered for the workshop!

The new Voice of Witness (VOW) chapter within the workshop, called “The Lens of Listening,” merges VOW’s oral history and storytelling activities with 100cameras’ visual arts and photography curriculum. The goal of the chapter is to create an opportunity for participants to creatively document their and others’ experiences through photography and stories.

This free and accessible virtual project for learners ages 11 and up was launched in the summer of 2020, as a direct response to the need for supporting students, families and educators during the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing four chapters feature a variety of activities for self-expression through photography, written reflection, and more. All five chapters are devoted to nurturing empathy, creativity, and social and emotional learning in a fun and inclusive manner. Each chapter takes approximately 1 hour each, though they can extend longer depending on the individuality of the participant and how they interact with each chapter’s activities.

“The Lens of Listening,” the Voice of Witness chapter, features video instruction from VOW Education Specialist Erin Vong and Community Partnership Coordinator Ela Banerjee and centers on active listening, the art of interviewing, and the joy of learning and self-reflection through honoring the stories of others. Participants in the chapter will conduct interviews and share stories about personal objects or artifacts that have meaning for them. To model this process, the video shows Ela interviewing Oscar Ramos, a second-grade teacher and narrator in the Voice of Witness book, Chasing the Harvest: Migrant Workers in California Agriculture.

By collaborating on the Where You Are workshop, Voice of Witness and 100cameras are joining forces to inspire positive social change through art. Both organizations commit themselves to helping students process and tell their stories through photography and oral history in a way that impacts how they view themselves and their roles in their community.

The Voice of Witness and 100cameras collaboration is supported by the Charles A. Becker Foundation.

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