Darfur Culture Video Project


A. Objectives

The Darfur Culture Video Documentation Project intends to create a permanent audiovisual record of: <1. Darfur history and culture, covering all relevant subjects such as the history of the sultanate, language, religion, agricultural techniques, community life, social practices and beliefs, schools, and relations between Darfur peoples (such as Fur, Zaghawa, Massalit,and Arab groups) and between Darfur and other parts of Sudan and countries outside Sudan. 2. The current crimes being committed against Darfur peoples and the experiences of those displaced from their homes to hiding places and to camps inside and outside Darfur 3. The experiences and actions of those who have sought refuge in and migrated to countries around the world.

The Project also hopes to distribute these audiovisual documents (at times accompanied by written materials) to as wide an audience as possible, over the longest period of time, through local or national broadcasts and through making available videocassettes and DVDs.

B. Participants

The Project will be carried out by cooperative endeavors, including the making of videotapes, their broadcasting on public access cable TV stations, and the storage of copies in one or more specially administered archives, among the following groups:

  1. Faculty, staff and students at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
  2. The staff of the Pegasys public access cable TV studio in Ithaca, New York
  3. Citizens of Ithaca, New York who have received training at the Pegasys studio and are willing to volunteer their time to carry out Project activities
  4. Citizens in the refugee-assisting community of Ithaca, New York
  5. People from Darfur now residing in the United States, such as members of the Fur Cultural Revival based in Portland, Maine.
  6. Citizens in the refugee-assisting communities of places in the United States and Canada where people from Darfur reside.
  7. Public access cable TV stations in places where Darfuris reside.
  8. Videographers, journalists, social scientists, and others who have produced audiovisual and written documents dealing with subjects described in A. 1.-3. above.
  9. Staff and faculty at concerned institutions such as the York University Center for Refugee Studies and the International Center for Migration, Ethnicity and Citizenship (ICMEC) based in New York City
  10. Darfuris, refugee-assisting groups, and journalists living in other countries around the world

C. Operations

  1. Subjects for documentaries will be chosen in various ways:
    1. proposed by one of the participating groups and carried out by that group after checking with the other groups for suggestions and possible duplication
    2. selected after conferences of participating groups in which a general plan for a set of video productions is agreed upon
  2. Necessary technical expertise will be acquired in the following ways: a. for those who already possess some training in technical videography, editing, and studio operations, advice from public cable access staff, university instructional staff, and more experienced videographers will help upgrade expertise
  3. For those lacking training in the above, enrollment in courses offered by the cable access stations will be a major means of acquiring such expertise. Serving as part of a crew of experienced videographers, editors, and studio operators will also be important.
  4. Education in the social and ethical issues involved in documentary videography will be the responsibility of participating faculty at Cornell University and other concerned institutions.
  5. Education in the evaluation of the projectís facets will also be the responsibility of participating faculty. Thus, for example, Prof. John Weiss, who will encourage students enrolled in his Cornell University course on international humanitarianism to participate in the project, will supervise the exercise of reflection, question-raising, and application of relevant theory that is a necessary part of the service-learning aspect of the course. Students and others,including Darfur peoples, who are serving in the project only as volunteers, without enrollment in any credit-giving course, will also be offered the opportunity to benefit from the insights of service-learning reflection.

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