Teaching and Learning: An awakening at my latest SOL workshop
By SPNN CTEP Member, Joua Lee
I recently led SPNN Youth Open Lab's (SOL) sixth summer community workshop at Rondo Library. This session was geared toward spoken word videos and video poetry-making. However, it took a slight turn toward a conversation about media accessibility and how video poetry may impact the community. It also taught me a little about the role of community workshops beyond practical skill-building.
When I arrived that morning, the library was filled with several adults and very few youth. Emmanuel, a college-aged man entered the room and asked where to sit. He watched closely as I showed video poems from spoken word artists from across the nation. I showcased Bao Phi's No Question, directed by Ash Hsi. I also showed Kelly Tsai's Love is Easy... Relationships are Hard and Suli Breaks's R.I.P. The highlight video was 12-year-old spoken word artist Mustafa Ahmed's captivating video poem Somali Boy.
As the workshop started to transition to the video-production portion, Emmanuel asked if instead of making a video, we could discuss video poems with each other. He was not much of a poet or a media-maker but he was interested in talking about the art. We talked about the concept of poetry in videos and how effective or ineffective they may be to send a message. Emmanuel did not fully understand what the point was of having a workshop about video poetry when he felt he could find them on youtube himself. I explained that it may be easy to find videos, but having the resources to learn how to make videos is another story. He listened and nodded his head. He was an interesting young man, intent on dissecting the media in front of him and understanding its parts. Eager to continue to peak his interst, I led a dicussion about access to media through the internet and through in-person interactions for part of the workshop before getting into the elements of video production. He had many opinions that he was sure to voice and question me about.
I appreciate meeting Emmanuel and being reminded that in these workshops with the community, young people are not only there to learn from me, they are also there to challenge and teach me as well. It informs SPNN's work of community learning, as we are not solely trainers in media. We are also a space and resource for people to come together, challenge one another, and learn from each other.
For more information about future SOL workshops or to make an appointment, please contact Joua at email@example.com. You can also get information about upcoming SOL workshops and other opportunities on our Youth Media Opportunities page.