ReMedia teaming up with Vanguard CDC youth on media EJ projects
April 6, 2012
NORTH END, Detroit – EMEAC's ReMedia program is about half way through a four-month series of workshops on media production skill sharing with the Vanguard Community Development Corporation Youth Program in Detroit's East Side North End community. EMEAC Associate Director Lottie Spady, who also directs the ReMedia program, has been conducting a pair of three-hour workshops each week focusing on helping North End youth create their own video projects from an environmental justice perspective.
“I'm really excited to be working with the youth at Vanguard on an environmental justice media project that focuses on the Northend neighborhood,” Spady said. “The group I am working with has a wide range of skills and talents from spoken word poetry, graffitti art, and rap to dance, and long-boarding which should make for dynamic short film that truly reflects youth voice and is relevant to their concerns, opinions and solutions to the wide variety of environmental justice issues in the Northend.
So far, youth have identified areas of concern around violence, safety, homelessness, abandoned houses, air pollution connected to the Detroit incinerator, littering and the potential around alternative transportation.”
Joining Spady in conducting the twice-a-week video production workshops has been ReMedia fellows DeRaina Stinson, who grew up in the North End and Cass Tech High School junior Torrin Clay. The Remedia team is coordinating with Vanguard Youth Coordinators Domonique Baul and Dontai Mitchell in helping the youth shape their visions, find their voice and tell their stories for the project.
“My goals for this collaboration are to create at least three videos that can be submitted to the Green Screen Youth Environmental Film Festival in November,” said Baul. “We want to create a videos that directly addresses issues in the North End, and lastly create a dynamic video that can be used to attract artistic youth to the program.
“So far things are good. The young people are coming around and are learning some needed skills. Dontai has been working with some youth doing a video about the blight in their hood. I am looking forward to seeing these ideas become our finished projects.”
In addition to gaining experience throughout the entire video production process, ReMedia aims to teach young people the value of media making from an environmental justice lens. While it's important to teach the technical aspects of video production, Spady says youth should also come away with a broadened educational perspective as it relates to their environment.
“My goals for this collaboration are to share skills with young people that will empower them to share their stories in order to counter what is oftentimes a negative and stereotypical representation of youth and their activities,” Spady said. “Such representations are seen in the media and influence the way youth are treated in school, in community, by adults, and by peers.
“Another goal is that of leadership development and peer education so we can develop relevant and timely solutions to the issues and educational materials that position youth as experts in these areas. Lastly, I believe that video exploration can help youth redefine their community in positive terms and reconnect to a sense of place.”
EMEAC's ReMedia program empowers community members, youth and adult, with the skills and technological tools to tell their own stories about environmental issues in SE Michigan. These can be public service announcements, music videos, short films, digital art works or documentaries about air quality, water access and affordability, land use or food security. ReMedia also has an environmental justice media fellows program where program participants are hired by area justice organizations to meet their media needs around documentation and promotions.
“ReMedia has stand alone lesson plans which are flexible in order to flow with the class size, which can vary,” Spady said. “The media lessons also fit together so that by the end of the program there is a body of media work with which to create final videos. Participants practice interviewing skills, video techniques, and every aspect of video production. They also review other youth produced environmental media for deconstruction and inspiration.”
Spady also expressed appreciation for the efforts of her youth support team in Stinson and Clay. Stinson was a member of ReMedia's initial group of fellows while Clay joined the program last fall.
“My teaching assistant and ReMedia Environmetal Justice Fellow, DeRaina Stinson, grew up in the Northend and has a long history with Vanguard CDC,” she said. “It's really good to see youth come back to their home-base and share with their community. Her insight and connections to the Northend are really an asset and I appreciate the way her facilitation and leadership skills continue to grow.