Saturday, August 15, 2009
Morocco reflections 3 - my pres
My presentation was scheduled on the last day of the conference. A fair number of people turned up and seemed interested in a graffiti sharing idea. I talked a bit about what inspired me to start the project, a bit about my partners in crime (esp. my dear webheads and Rita's CAEB class and pm and my class and I4E folk and sdutsj and mih and iatefl slo and EFL University and ... :-)), about the project tools and about where the project has taken us so far. We've been basically collecting and sharing graffiti and stories behind them and exploring our countries and cultures, spreading over all sorts of cyberspaces.
Our society is doing very well building all sorts of walls around us - physical and mental, it is also doing very well using and abusing all those walls, and the natural walls too, for all sorts of purposes; artistic and less artistic ones. Walls protect our ideas, culture, property, they divide and separate mine from yours, right from wrong, us from them; and they reflect urban responses of people inhabiting those spaces. Their passions, frustrations,beliefs, views. By listening to the walls around us we can learn more about the world around us and also about ourselves. What do I see? What do I hear? Do I care to see at all? Or hear? Should I?
It's stories of national heroes and it's stories of everyday people. It's drugs and wine and politics and sports. It's the land and the culture. It's funny writings and those that hurt. Many can be seen or heard in different ways and can as such be used as departing points for discussions.
Do looks matter that much?
Why aren't there more women in politics?
Does violent music mean violent people?
Often it is difficult to draw the line between the right and the wrong, humour and bullying, art and vandalism... and this means - talking. And talking in an EFL class is good, isn't it? Especially talking about stories from the walls of our schools, streets, towns... because these tell stories of people from these schools, streets, towns. And because these people matter.
Funny thing I noticed as soon as I set foot on AUI campus - there were lovely murals here and there but no graffiti anywhere. It confused me. I thought there were talking walls everywhere where there are people. Thought wrong it seems. But I guess the fact that AUI is a prestigious university not open to general public has something to do with it. I found talking walls alright in other places in Morocco. It made me wonder though - are there countries or cultures where you can't find graffiti on the walls?
I have been learning a lot all the time by paying attention to graffiti around me. Perhaps I'll try to focus more on things like prejudice, nationalism, intolerance (if my next groups are interested...) Or other things, we'll see...You can find any topic on the wall.... so I
hope to continue with the project in the future too. It has been included on the iEARN site, so perhaps there will be other teachers/classes joining the ride. :-)
Flickr gallery: http://www.flickr.com/groups/wallstalking/pool/show/