Six displaced people from Syria will begin a digital media workshop at the CONNECT Centre in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) today. The participants will learn to create digital content as part of the ‘Ismani’ programme. The six are from the Abbeyfield Reception Centre in Ballaghaderreen, Roscommon, and Mosney direct provision centre in County Meath.
Mai El Mahdy, project coordinator for the ‘Ismani’ programme believes the workshop has the potential to help further develop the career skills of the participants. “This two-week workshop is intended to help them to think of the future and provide an introduction to a new skill which will assist their career development. By the end of the workshop I hope they will have become independent content creators and will be able to use this skill to pursue their own individual interests.”
El Mahdy, a native of Cairo, Egypt, worked previously with Facebook in Dublin and volunteered earlier this year to work as a translator at a refugee camp in Greece. Also working on the ‘Ismani’ programme is Isolda Heavey, a documentary film-maker and teacher who has just spent a year working with refugees in Calais. She is the curriculum designer and tutor for the workshop.
Participants have also praised the programme in allowing them to pursue their passions.“ I graduated from secondary school in Syria but I was unable to attend university because of the fighting…I think this workshop is a great idea. I am interested in making documentaries and I hope this will give me the basic skills that I need”, said Taqwa Alhariry who has spent the past two years in camps in both Turkey and Greece.
The ‘Ismani’ programme is funded by the online platform ALTV.com, a subsidiary of Granahan McCourt Capital, and CONNECT, which is the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Future Networks in Trinity.
Prof Linda Doyle, Director of CONNECT and Professor of Engineering and the Arts in Trinity, welcomed the participants: “Empowering people to use media gives a voice to those who have a story to tell. The participants on the Ismani workshop will be learning a very useful new skill. Video is a powerful medium and I am confident that these skills will be put to good use. We are particularly grateful to Granahan McCourt Capital who have made their media platform, ALTV.com, available to broadcast the output from this workshop.”
The CONNECT Centre is funded by the Science Foundation Ireland and well as the European Regional Development Fund. Researchers of the CONNECT group work across Ireland including University College Cork (UCC), the University of Limerick (UL), and University College Dublin (UCD), as well as Trinity.