The International Development, Community and Environment Department at Clark University is offering a three-day workshop entitled, Witnessing: Taking testimonies and constructing refugee narratives. Taught by Leora Kahn, Executive Director of PROOF: Media for Social Change, the workshop is geared towards professionals who work with refugees and other displaced people.
Testimonies have different purposes. They can be used for refugee status determination (RSD), in journalistic accounts, for testimony in an international court, for policy research and academic articles, to teach, or to preserve history. Testimonies have also helped stimulate and shape social change, and can be an effective tool for policy change and social transformation.
This three-day, hands-on workshop will introduce methods and ethics of testimony-taking and will examine the uses and importance of refugee testimonies. Participants will learn to take testimonies and construct narratives through different techniques, and will become familiar with techniques of visual story-telling for advocacy and other purposes. The workshop will bring together refugee service professionals, community leaders, field practitioners in local and international agencies, representatives of government entities and academics in a collaborative environment. We will explore ethical questions in taking testimonies to illuminate human rights issues. During this workshop participants will actively practice taking testimonies based on the topics and methods discussed in each class. The workshop also includes a field trip to an oral history exhibit based on refugee testimony, and coincides with the opening of the exhibit, Picturing Moral Courage: The Rescuers at Clark University. Topics and examples will include: oral history projects with refugees from Bhutan, testimony from Syrian asylum seekers in Europe, and visual narratives from Guatemala, among others.
About the Workshop Convener
Leora Kahn is the founder and Executive Director of PROOF: Media for Social Justice, an award-winning organization that brings together photographers, documentarians, academics and activists to create visual documentary projects that become sustainable educational tools in regions riven by recent armed conflict and atrocities. Leora was previously the director of photography at Workman Publishing and at Corbis. She has also worked for Time, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and US News and World Report as well as for the Ford and Annie E. Casey Foundations. She has curated exhibitions for the Ford Foundation, ABC Television, Amnesty International, Women’s Refugee Commission, and the Holocaust Museum in Houston, and has held visiting appointments at the Genocide Studies Center at Yale University, where she conducted research on rescuers and rescuing behavior, and at Clark University’s Holocaust and Genocide Center.
This non-credit workshop is open to practitioners, researchers, and students in the field of refugees, displacement, and forced migration. The workshop will be limited to a maximum of 20 participants. The language of this workshop is English; we are unfortunately unable to offer translation services.
The workshop will be held in the beautiful Rose Library at the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts.
Tuition for the workshop is US$550, which includes course material, lunch and coffee breaks on all three days, field trip to Boston, and the Picturing Moral Courage exhibit reception.
There are two available tuition-only scholarships for participants from refugee backgrounds. Please contact the workshop administrator for an application form.
To apply for the workshop, please email a cover letter and a recent CV to workshop administrator Danielle Strandson firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline August 20, 2014
Checks for $550 may be sent to:
c/o Anita Fábos
950 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01610
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