Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fuel to the Fire - A Hot New Ghetto Savant

The Ghetto Savant crew expands with the addition of my dear friend Dyana Valentine. A fellow Antioch University alumni, Dyana, like myself, holds a Master’s degree in Applied Community Psychology. She’s been a part of the True Grit(s) experience from the very beginning. So when I heard that the International Conference on Community Psychology in Lisbon was accepting proposals, I immediately asked Dyana if she would like to co-create a presentation. I knew she would bring new fuel to the project, and with fuel prices sky high -- she’s priceless!

Here is the proposal that we submitted describing what the True Grit(s) experience is all about. There is a method to the True Grit(s) madness.

Using New Media and Social Networks to Promote Wellness

Our session addresses how new media and social networks can be used for community consciousness-raising. The session is based on the work of community psychologist and co-presenter Blaine Teamer, who created a new genre of film that integrated citizen participation, social support and peer-to-peer problem solving.

He and his community of African-American artists in Los Angeles, frustrated about limited opportunities to make films and mass media’s role in creating social myths, decided to harness their various talents, skills and resources to make their first short film, addressing infidelity, entitled TRUE GRIT(S). The filmmaking and screenings were socially empowering for the artists.

Conversations sparked by the film after its release led to a documentary composed of interviews responding to the social issue. These conversations led to a deeper understanding of what infidelity means to community members, both personally and culturally. Insight into the interviews was provided by a mental health professional, whose input was combined with the original narrative and documentary footage. An emphasis on experiential knowledge helped to create a peer-to-peer relationship among all community participants.

The documentary is currently being circulated via screenings in diverse communities. These screenings serve as a springboard to further discuss the focal concern, capture more documentary footage, develop new social understandings, and strengthen community relationships.Our session will consist of a case study presentation, a five-minute film clip of the film and intentional conversation. Participants will be able to view the conversation initiated in Lisbon by joining an online community, and be invited to collaborate with their community psychology colleagues to develop similar social networks.

No comments: