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Testimonial Cultures

 

Directed by Dr. Maria Nengeh Mensah, UQÀM

People from sexual or gender minorities (LGBTQI), people living with HIV, and people with an experience in sex work face similar issues of social exclusion and discrimination. Some individuals who belong to these groups take the step of telling their personal stories, giving testimonials to the media or using them in the context of educational or artistic activities in order to raise awareness, strengthen advocacy, challenge stereotypes, or express a creative idea. These stories can take many forms (radio or TV interviews, newspaper articles, public presentations, videos uploaded to YouTube, film, theatrical performances, visual art, blogs, etc.).

This partnership is based on the idea that people who belong to minority groups on the basis of their sexual or gender identities or experiences can learn from one another and work together to support community action and promote social change. Project activities include study days and workshops, DVD compilations of testimonials from video and film, a project newsletter, and an archive containing diverse examples of media and artistic testimonials. The development and mounting of a public exhibition on testimonial cultures is also a longer term goal of the project. Through the sharing of ideas and expertise on the use of testimonials as strategies for social and cultural intervention, the project aims to foster empowerment, citizen participation, and greater social inclusion.

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