Multimedia & Exhibition Producer, Workshop Developer & Educator

LENS ON LIFE IN LEBANON

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PROJECT SCOPE

Lens on Life in Lebanon was a 6-week participatory photography workshop I led in Beirut Lebanon, with AltCity co-founder Dima Saber, teaching a group of 15 Migrant Domestic Workers to the art of photography and photo-essay writing as a tool for practical media training, social inclusion, and advocacy.

Our aim was to raise social awareness, through a photographic exhibition and online resource, about the the controversial plight of Migrant Domestic Workers living in Lebanon. Through personal testimonies, they provided viewers a rare window into their often silent world.

As agents of positive change, our students were in control of their own image production through the simple use of mobile phone cameras. Such small, unassuming devises have the potential to give the power of representation back to those who are traditionally subjects of the media.

Overcoming Language Barriers

With students from various countries including Sudan, Cameroon and Ethiopia, the multi-lingual course was taught in English and translated in Arabic, Aramaic & French. Translation between facilitators and participants ensured that activities and explanations were clearly communicated and culturally appropriate for the participants.

The simple language of photography offers an opportunity for communication using only a few words. Our aim was to show visually with captions things around them, which they think are important, interesting, new, or exciting.


Tool for Public Communication

We are all too aware that public opinion is broadly unsympathetic towards migrant domestic workers through out the Middle East. Endemic Human Rights abuses such as racism & violence towards domestic migrant workers and high-suicide rates are well documented in the media but little is actually known about this indispensable fabric of Lebanese Society.

As a nation first, our participants turned the lens on themselves and their surroundings, allowing us to witness a very powerful visual autobiography, whereby opening new avenues to explore, study and communicate issues of identity, integration, memory, friendship, hopes & dreams.

In honor of International Migrant’s Day the Lens on Life Exhibition was open to the public for two weeks at AltCity receiving an overwhelming positive response by the media.

The Lens on Life Exhibition set a new president in positive media production allowing participant to express their opinion and asking the public to take note of what they have to say.

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