WHAT IS SOLIDARILABS?
WHAT IS SOLIDARILABS?
SolidariLabs is a program developed by Skylight, a human rights media organization, and is designed to foster regional cohorts of media makers, artists, movement actors, and human rights organizations to collaboratively create enduring media ecosystems that advance a shared mission, whether it be to defend indigenous or women’s rights, battle extractive industries, or promote transitional justice. Each region will have its set of social justice priorities, and SolidariLabs will adapt accordingly, guided by expert facilitators and teams of mentors.
Our political and economic systems are failing us, incapable of providing solutions to the crises facing humanity. We need new narratives to defend and strengthen human rights, that will counter corporate and state narratives intended to undermine and marginalize the human rights movement. In response to that need, over the past 30 years Skylight has developed the model of a human rights media ecosystem, which we are now disseminating through the SolidariLabs program. A human rights media ecosystem harnesses a range of mutually reinforcing content delivery platforms around an issue (theatrical, community and academic screenings, TV broadcasts, online streaming, mobile apps, social media, community radio, interactive websites, data visualization), that in concert create a foundational narrative for social change.
We believe that artistic narratives can be a powerful catalyst to shift cultural perceptions and pave the way for social change. Artists and activists together can shape culture, but too often work in isolation from each other. It is time for those who influence culture to come together in solidarity in the search for the transformation we hope to achieve.
Transformative change ultimately stems from our values and beliefs, and by nurturing a highly collaborative ecosystem of media makers, artists, activists and movement leaders, we are creating a set of conditions that will help shift cultural perceptions. To the extent that we as creators of culture establish ties of solidarity among ourselves, and bring together our passions and skills, we will be able to innovate in ways that increase our impact exponentially.
In SolidariLabs we are coming together through the foundations of justice, media and culture because we are convinced that nurturing that bond is an essential step in forming equitable societies. This is our work.
SolidariLabs | Colombia took place in October 2016 as our pilot lab. An immersive five-day residency in a mountain retreat outside of Bogotá, it was limited to a selection of 24 Colombian participants that applied in an open call promoted through the networks of Colombia’s National Center for Historical Memory, and the Colombian Film Office. We received over 160 high quality applications for the 24 available slots, and the selection team was able to bring together a diverse and talented group of filmmakers, media activists, community leaders and movement actors. In order to assure that access to the internet was not an obstacle to applying, especially for applicants from remote parts of Colombia, we offered to take oral applications by calling their mobile phones. Several participants chose this option, and their voices coming from some of the most marginalized sectors of Colombian society brought a unique set of perspectives to the pilot lab.
SolidariLabs has no registration fee and is only open to residents of the host country. The cost of travel, lodging, and meals of participants are all covered by SolidariLabs.
They include well structured lectures and workshops that share the Skylight model and best practices for collaborations between independent storytellers and movement actors to create bonds of solidarity that deepen the creative process.
An ignite talk is a presentation format in which speakers have five minutes to talk on a subject accompanied by 20 slides. Participants and organizations can prepare an ignite talk describing their work and its impact, or perhaps what it is they are aiming to do.
Mentors from each SolidariLabs offer advice and support to solve problems or advance projects.
Participants articulate creative experiments to achieve social change that could be set in motion after SolidariLabs.
A set of creative constraints aimed at building teams in a way that participants get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses will structure these “Design Sessions” where participants must work together to creatively address a challenge.
Participants support each other to solve problems or advance projects that would benefit from the different knowledge offered by each participant.
As follow-up to each SolidariLabs, there is a consultancy to foster opportunities for creative collaborations that take place in SolidariLabs, as well as sharing strategies to fundraise for projects. Over time a we aim build a network of SolidariLabs participants that will meet regularly to share their experiences and to create shared strategies for social change.
Here’s what our SolidariLabs Colombia participants are developing:
The network created at SolidariLabs Colombia continues to flourish.