Archive for the ‘santiagozamora’ Category

Centro de Mesa: Q1.5/hour; Pulsera: Q10/hour; Knowing How to Price Your Products Fairly: Priceless.

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Yesterday, we had a successful pricing workshop with the women of Santiago Zamora, after discussing fair wages and business strategies the previous day. We asked them to tell us the products they made that took the least amount of time to make and the prices they currently sell them for. These products were chosen because we learned that products that take more time to produce usually end up being sold for very cheap. For example, a centro de mesa that takes 80 hours to make was usually sold for Q250, which would leave them with an hourly wage of Q1.5 after subtracting the cost of materials. They agreed that this was not a fair price but that they must sell it cheaply because of competition in the market.

Therefore yesterday, after explaining the Guatemalan minimum wage of Q8/hour, we asked them to make a new price list, using the new number for labor cost, of the products they can produce quickly that they might be interested in selling at a store in Antigua. By the end, we had a price list for about a dozen different products, including necklaces, bracelets, napkins, dolls, baskets, place mats, bookmarks, and bags. Almost every woman has her specialty in a different product, which explains the variety. Many of them were already selling above cost, but there were some items that we saw that needed a price fixing or a new way of making. All the women seemed very interested in the difference in prices from before and after and were encouraged to think about changing their prices.

Tomorrow, they will meet Irma from Manos Preciosas, a store in Antigua, to show her their products and (new) prices and discuss as a newly formed group with her about a possible collaboration in the future.

Sunday, July 5th, 2009



Kids-with-Cameras Project in Santiago Zamora


We have finally begun our “kids-with-cameras” project with the sons and daughters of “Las Estrellas de Santiago Zamora.”  Our first day of teaching photography to the kids, although a bit hectic due to the rain, went extremely well.  First practicing with digital cameras, our young photographers learned the basics of framing, lighting, and shooting.  We then distributed the six dispasables and will be developing them this weekend! We can’t wait to show them thier pictures next week and continue the project into July.   

Why Kids-With-Cameras?


From a development perspective perhaps it is difficult to see the relevance of the arts in development projects.  If this experience workng with women artisans and thier families has taught me anything, it is that the arts are absolutely relevant and import in development.  Projects that incorporate the arts are especially important in indigenous communities where there has been a severe lack of visibility in media and government.  Instead of being under-represented, or “othered” by mainstream media sources, these projects pave the way for members of the community to self-represent and reduces the misrepresentation of culture and heritage.  In place of the stereotypical depictions of indigenous communities that flood the mainstream media, images that accurateley and honestly depict the experiences of these communities emerge.  


We work with kids because they have a fresh eye and a new perspective in thier communities and of the world.  They also create more intimate and honest images of thier lives–as adults we tend to choose and manipulate our images so that others see the world the way we wish them to see it.   


Lesson Plan


Introductions:   Why we take pictures

Basics: 


FRAMING:  Using paper frames show students how to take time arranging shots.  


FREE SHOOT:  Using digital cameras show kids how to focus and shoot (and that’s all!).  Let them explore using the cameras.


PERSPECTIVE:  Show examples of 1 subject shot 3 different ways.  Ask the kids which one they like best and why.  


ACTIVITY ONE: Have students shoot the following subjects from different distances and angles.  


a.  Person 

b.  Object

c.  Landscape


LIGHING:  Talk about simple lightning conditions and when to take pictures.  


CAMERAS:  Distribute disposable cameras and explain how to use them (and the difference between these and the digitals)  


Although most of the pictures were taken with the disposable cameras, here are a few of the pictures taken with our digitals:

ELIZABETH



 
CLEMENTINO


Filming in Santiago Zamora

Sunday, June 28th, 2009
As we push open the corrogated metal gate to Lucia’s yard we hear the familiar sounds of life in Santiago Zamora–Emmanuel’s tiny feet on the dirt as he giggles and hides behind his mothers corte, the puppies whining from beneath thier overturned basket (which keeps them from chewing on the petate as the women weave), and the chirp of the chickens wandering in and out of our circle of chairs.  As I edit the collection of clips from this past week, I hear the chorus of sounds that we have become accustomed to in Santiago Zamora and am amazed by this beautiful footage shot by the women in the group.  
This video marks the first collaboration in our media project with the “Estrellas de Santiago Zamora”, as they have donned themselves.  After our first media workshop, the women requested that we continue filming and create a longer feature showing thier art, thier lives, and their stories.  The week started off with “story-boarding” in which the women brainstormed a theme for the project and images that would show thier lives.  We gave a brief workshop on filming techniques (mainly on framing, lighting, and sound) and had all the women experiment with the cameras.   By Friday we had hours of beautiful footage–the majority filmed by the women themselves.   I can’t wait to finish editing and show the women their beautful work.
Glendi, who filmed for the majority of the week:  

A Beautiful Walk in Santiago

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

The work in Santiago Zamora continued with the women taking us for a walk up to see Bernarda’s plot of land, which her family rents and she works on with her husband and sons. She led the way with her sharp machete through fields and fields of beautiful fertile land on which were planted corn, avocado trees, peanuts, and “jocote” trees.


The walk and our conversations were again documented in video by several of the women who took turns recording with two of our video cameras. After returning to Lucia’s home (our usual gathering place) we trained them to charge the camera’s battery and to change the video tapes, and we left one camera with them to continue capturing their lives.

It has been a challenge to get the women to really talk about their lives in front of the camera. Most of the stories they have shared on tape are ghost stories, or myths and legends from Santiago and San Antonio. We are hoping that leaving the cameras with them will encourage them to open up a bit and to share what they share with us off camera, for the media project.

Video project: Santiago Zamora

Thursday, June 25th, 2009


We kicked off our work in Santiago Zamora by working with the community to create a video of who they are, what their town is about, and what they want to share about their culture and traditions. This activity has been great in helping strengthen the group (they were not already a group, but were brought together by the municipality to work with us), and in establishing trust between our team of students and faculty and the community (by teaching them video skills as well as showing interest in their stories and everyday lives.) The final piece will be a combination of footage shot by us, by them, as well as photos taken by the kids from a kids with camera workshop that our students are teaching this week.

The women established what they wanted to capture for the documentary. Last Wednesday we videotaped their traditional cooking of pepian and tortilla-making. This past Monday, the focus was dancing,

and a walking tour of their town, and all of the camera work was done by them. This morning we went on a hike with them to chop wood and see their land, and on Friday we will finalize all the video taping with the women demonstrating their artisan crafts: weaving (on the backstrap looom as well as with palm leaves) and doll making.

Stay tuned for the final piece!

La Comunidad de Santiago Zamora / Santiago Zamora’s Community

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

This video was edited by one of our students with footage shot mainly by our collaborators in Santiago Zamora. It was a storytelling warm-up about their community via the 5 senses, for the larger media project we are working on together.

Our work in Guatemala – Three Locations

Friday, June 19th, 2009

This year we returned to Guatemala with two goals: to continue the work we had started last year with Ajkem’a Loy’a in San Lucas Tolimán, and to expand our work in Guatemala with other communities in other towns/villages. We are excited to report back that we are on track in accomplishing both goals, by working with two new groups, in San Antonio Aguas Calientes and Santiago Zamora, and by returning to San Lucas Tolimán to continue supporting the Mayan weaver’s association, Ajkem’a Loy’a.

We can finally share our goals for each of the three locations:

San Antonio Aguas Calientes
This has been the most vague of our collaborations, because our contact is in the municipality, and yet they haven’t had a clear idea of how we can work together. Our goal in San Antonio is to create an advisory document for the mayor, about community tourism. We want to share our own research (primary research as well as observations from living there and interacting with the community), and offer suggestions, and maybe some criticism on how they are thinking about community tourism. Our biggest concern is that they are adopting this as a buzz word without knowing all the implications of promoting such tourism.

Santiago Zamora
We are connected there to a group of approximately 15 weavers. They are interested, as Ajkem’a Loy’a was last year, in selling their products to people who will pay a fair price, to maybe export their products, to invite tourists to their village, and to make themselves and their work known. We see our work there very similar to what we did last year in San Lucas – running a workshop series to address many of their interests aligned with the skills in our group. Specifically, we are developing a media project that communicates who they are as a group and about their culture and local traditions. We will also teach some workshops in basic business and design, and ultimately have the goal of finding some grants to continue our work in Guatemala.

San Lucas Tolimán
We have only spent two days (a total of 4 hours) with Ajkem’a Loy’a, and are thrilled with how the group has advanced. Although there are less women participating (12 core members), the group that is in place is strong and well organized. We are also thrilled to see how their designs have advanced since last year. They have experimented quite a bit with color combinations, with new weaving techniques, and even with new products (children’s clothes, handbags, and new kinds of scarves.) A team of design students, led by Pascale, will be spending the next whole month solely focusing on developing new products that can now be brought back to New York for further market research, and possibly to start exporting/importing some of their artisan goods.

Santiago Zamora

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009


We have been working in the municipality of San Antonio Aguas Calientes since the beginning of June, and we finally had the opportunity to visit Santiago Zamora – a small village that is part of San Antonio and just a 5-minute drive.
In Santiago we have found an eager and friendly group of weavers who are thrilled to be collaborating with us. We had a wonderful first meeting on Friday, followed by an initial session in which we identified their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of their artisan work. Our students also facilitated a short digital storytelling workshop in which they had to describe “community” using one of the five senses.
We will now be dividing our time between workshops in San Antonio (the urban center) and Santiago. Stay tuned for more on both!

Teaching Spaces

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

To be resourceful is always a prevalent, yet unpredictable, learning opportunity that these kinds of fieldwork programs offer to our students. This year, in particular, we have had some challenging moments when it comes to teaching spaces – not always knowing if we have to hold an impromptu workshop

on the property of one of our collaborators, or if a particular meeting room will be open, if we may just have to teach in a hallway

, or as it happened last week a few times -

in a basement garage (hoping that the owner of that car wasn’t going to have to drive it out!)