Thursday, 25 February 2010

Why I Respect: Filming in the Community

After weeks of planning the students went out into the community to film their project today with  Shagia and Oneil, two peer educators with UNITY.  We split them into 2 groups, one focussing  on Chinese culture and the other visiting the multicultural area of St Marks Road in Easton.

Group 1:
The Chinese group visited the Wai Yee Hong supermarket in Eastgate where they filmed all the different Chinese food, tried their hand at presenting and bought a few items to share with their classmates. They then went on to visit the Bristol and Avon Chinese Women’s Group, a local community organisation that supports the Chinese population of Bristol. Students interviewed staff from the organisation about Chinese culture and were fortunate enough to visit an arts project for older Chinese women. Although the women could speak no English they were clearly pleased to see the young people and took great pleasure in showing them how to make various origami animals to their delight.

The importance of the orgaisation was brought home to the students by the workers at the project who described the isolation felt by many of the women who could speak no English and had never learnt to write before. The project gave the women a space to come together, share skills and meet new people in the community. They showed us a fantastic book that the women had compiled filled with beautifully illustrated recipes and batique Chinese characters that they were really proud of.

Group 2:
The second group visited St Marks Road in Easton, an incredibly diverse and culturally rich street with it’s many local businesses and community groups. The young people interviewed varioius shop keepers, from the barbers to the hallal butchers and Mr Abdul Ismail from the Brisol Sweet Mart, who gave them a detailed account of how his family escaped persecution in Uganda and came to this country to start a new life and set up their own business. The group then had the opportunity to sample some of the wonderful food that the Sweet Mart had to offer from pakoras to gulab jamen before heading back to school to compare their footage with the other group.

Over the next few days we’ll be working on the edit before taking the students to BBC Bristol to edit together the final piece. The finished film will be available to view on youtube in a couple of weeks and will be screened at Fairfield School’s DiversEC1ty Day.

What the students learnt and enjoyed:
'I enjoyed going to the chinese supermarket'
'I learnt how to interview people properly.'
'I enjoyed finding out about different cultures.'  

What our peer educators thought:
'I really enjoyed going out into the community. The young people were very encouraging to each other and seemed quite professional when interviewing.' - Shagia, 19 

Friday, 5 February 2010

Why I Respect: Fairfield School Session 2

This session was great fun as we started off by playing games to get them thinking about their likes and dislikes and also learning each other’s names. Oneil then led a heritage game where the young people had to describe what they thought the heritage of the person next to them was and whether they thought they were born in the UK. This led to some interesting discussion on why they had formed these opinions, some based on surnames and others based on hair and eye colour.

To follow up this activity we got everyone to put stickers on a world map on the countries their family is connected to. This helped them to visualise the diversity of their group.

After looking at their own heritage and cultures we gave them time to plan what cultures they would like to focus on for their project. Each group put forward their ideas and the peer educators facilitated a democratic voting system to give the young people real ownership of the project. The final topic choices were edited several times until the whole group was happy with the direction they were going to take. The students also discussed things they would like to find out about these cultures. The peer educators were fantastic at making sure they considered all the practical elements such as how they could interview people from these communities and ensuring they kept in mind the time frame of the project.

This week we introduced another peer educator to the team, Shagia so it was her turn to sit in the hot seat for the 'First Impressions' activity. The young people were still way off on a few topics but it also led them to ask other questions about religion and travel as well as other topics which shows they are really thinking about all the elements that make up a persons identity.

What the students thought:
'I enjoyed the word association and learning about different cultures.'
'I learnt alot about different cultures.'
'Awesome, best ever!'
What the Peer Educators thought:
'I feel this session went very well and the kids felt they had a lot of control over the ideas which was what we want.' Oneil, 22

'At first I was really quiet but then managed to speak to everyone. The whole experience was really good and getting to know everyone. I really enjoyed working with the kids on this project and I hope it goes well in future sessions.' Shagia, 19