The Hillside workshop series, which lasted from March 2016 to May 2016, was an opportunity for residents of the Hillside HLM (Montreal) to acquire digital photography and curation skills. Over several months, workshop participants learned digital photography skills, selected a theme for their photographs and artwork, and worked together to create a photo exhibition called Fragment of Life / Fragments de vie, which they hosted in the common space of their Hillside HLM. These workshops were designed around the common learning goals of the participants and encouraged collaboration and engagement through the experience of learning new technologies. They also aimed to foster convivial environments for intergenerational knowledge sharing, both between residents and between residents and workshop facilitators.
The goal of this workshop series was to develop a foundation for digital literacy using digital photography as an entry point. This workshop aimed to strengthen confidence and empower participants through intergenerational learning and exchange. Fragment of Life/Fragments de vie is part of ACT’s commitment to thinking about digital literacy and access within low income housing in Montreal.
This project draws from a participatory action approach. We used a “warm-expert” approach to create a balanced and safe environment between the participants and the facilitators and made an effort to avoid hierarchies. The participants attended the workshops voluntarily and were welcome to drop in or out of the project at any given time. The pace of the workshops was determined by participant feedback throughout the workshops and the participants decided what type of exhibit and themes they wanted to explore for the exhibit. Participants were in charge of curating the exhibit, but received assistance from the facilitators. The facilitators guided and supported the workshop to negotiate between the participants’ needs and the objectives of the workshop.