Bien Orgullosx: Communicating Narratives of Pride from Youth in El Alto
Bascope Alipaz, Alejandro
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El Alto is a young Bolivian city with a majority young population mainly formed by migrants of rural/indigenous origins. Historically, social research based on El Alto has focused on extracting pain narratives. Research focussing on pain requires such narratives from participant subjects as evidence of authenticity, and targets marginalized and at-risk groups. Methodologically, such research also extracts results and rarely disseminates them in formats that are accessible or appealing to the subjects. This thesis project articulates and communicates pride narratives. In so doing, it enables a framework of analysis in order to be able to engage with more complex and dynamic understandings of what one, or a community, comes to know through lived experience. This approach does not deny pain but brings motifs of pride and hope to the forefront as alternatives. To counterbalance this existing trend in subject and method, this project adopted a Community-based approach to grant agency to participants in all stages of the project and to collectively design, deploy and disseminate its findings to answer the following questions: What are the narratives of pride amongst youth in El Alto? Does collectively constructing definitions of pride and pride narratives change participants' notions of pride? And what are the best channels to communicate and harness this newly constructed, shared knowledge? The channel chosen for results dissemination was YouTube. Workshops were organized over ten weeks around audiovisual skill training and participants’ collection and categorization of data in the form of photographs and videos. We defined pride as a collection of interrelating categories showing the most important components: Nature & Landscape, Culture & Art, and Work & Family. With this definition, participants filmed and produce 5 shorts that would depict different elements of pride through visual narratives. Additionally, one making-of short documentary depicting the workshop process was also uploaded to the same YouTube channel. Interviews with the participants by the end of the project show that their notion of pride changed towards a broader more inclusive conception and that participation in the project ignited the spark in some of them to continue communicating narratives of pride through audiovisual media.
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