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1- Collaborative and Participatory Arts-Based Video Research with Young Arsi Women in Ethiopia - Leila Qashu, McGill University & Concordia University

1:30 PM, Friday 24 May 2019 (2 hours)
Coffee break   03:30 PM to 04:00 PM (30 minutes)
During over 15 years of living and researching in Arsi Oromo communities in Ethiopia, young female informants have shown me many examples of daily challenges: butaa (marriage by abduction), abuse, difficulties accessing education, falling into problematic relationships for economic reasons, and general concern for rights, autonomy and livelihood. But girls and women are not just silent observers. They have innovative, creative and improvisational ways to address concerns and express hopes. They claim their rights through expressive arts in narratives of wrongdoing, rituals, songs, and dance. Using videos made with and by project participants, I will discuss our current collaborative multimedia project with an under-represented younger generation of Oromo women. The young women are creators of the films and actively involved in the process. Through participatory media, the aim of the project is to explore challenges facing young Arsi women, and their strategies – especially the use of expressive arts (e.g. songs, dance, rituals, narratives) – for questioning, resisting and changing cultural practices. For some young women, these sessions have also provided some healing from the trauma of abduction. With the multimedia tools, young women have made their space, feeling free to improvise and create new expressions. Sharing research and giving community members the tools and capacities to do their own research is essential to wellbeing of participants and overall to ethical, community-based work. I will explore the benefits and challenges with this collaborative and art-based work through feedback from the young women and my observations.
McGill University & Concordia University
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