Monday, May 18, 2015

Results of Community Based Team Projects

by Justin Chacko, Sheila Shenoy, Nicole Tauster


We worked with Dr. Pilar Egüez Guevara, editing and transcribing videos for her project entitled “Comidas que Curan”, the goal of which is to inform the younger generations of Esmeraldas, Ecuador about nutrition and how to make traditional foods in healthful ways. Dr. Guevara traveled to Esmeraldas and interviewed several abuelas about traditional dishes that they have been preparing for their families for years. She filmed these women preparing the dishes and then spoke with them afterwards about the preparation and personal connections they had to each food. We used a lot of the footage, which was in separate clips to help her edit the individual video segments and render them together into one cohesive product. We transcribed some of the clips by adding subtitles in certain parts to make a professional-looking final product that she could post on her website.

 So what?

It was important -- not only to us but also to Dr. Egüez Guevara -- that these videos were as professional and didactic as possible. While the cinematography was aesthetically pleasing, the most important point to get across was the information presented. Editing and putting together a short video merely showing how to make the recipes would have been simple, but the only way to truly relay the information presented was to add text and present it in an educational manner. The cultural aspects could have been featured in and learned from academic journals. However, we needed to take into account our target audience, the young “YouTube generation” of Millennials. The best medium to communicate with them is not through text, but rather through technology, specifically quick and fun videos they are probably more likely to come across.

Now what?

The video will reach a wide variety of people based on the format the information is presented in, as well as the fact that YouTube is a popular social media site that connects a vast, global audience. Many of these recipes are quite old and are not in any cookbook that can be found. Instead, these traditional dishes are kept only in the minds of the people of Esmeraldas and passed down orally from generation to generation. Through the videos, we are able to link the people of Esmeraldas, particularly the younger generations, and allow them to reconnect with their heritage and rich culture. Likewise, they can learn a little more about the nutritional benefits of the recipes from the videos and can lead healthier lives. As we were working through this project, we discovered a few key takeaways that we believed could contribute to our future success. Specifically, we were able to come up with creative ideas that apply directly to our plans for the following year. Some of our group members are involved with social media and digital marketing, and have found these videos as a way utilize video platforms to combine the aspect of culture with technology to disseminate cultural awareness to a wide audience. With some of our group members teaching abroad in Spain next year, we can effectively use the skills we have learned and used throughout the process of our project to share our experiences outside of the United States. Those interested will be able to learn a lot about a different culture, heritage, food and lifestyle.    

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