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Carol Montealegre

Master’s Student, Bard College (United States)
Funded Research Project Title: Howls in the Mountains. Memory, Territory and Transformation

Project Title: Howls in the Mountains. Memory, Territory and Transformation

Carol’s project consists of a compilation of stories from women who are part of the Asociación de Mujeres Huilense por la Paz (ASOMHUPAZ) Women Union from Huila for peace. Carol intends to create a video installation from their stories combined with images of their territories, creating a visual/social experiment inspired by psychogeography and their personal experiences.

The main interest of this research project is to create a dialogue between the stories of these women where they share their feelings on being alive, what makes them proud, what they have overcome, and how or why they become activists. Carol’s research question is: How can implementing traditional healing practices combined with creative writing workshops improve their narrative as individuals and as a collective? The project will be developed between El Huila, Colombia, where the research, retreats and workshops, and film shooting will occur, and New York, where all the pre- and post-production will happen.

The interest of this project is to strengthen a political connotation that vindicates invisible actors. In this exploration, women re-create their voices as mothers, daughters, and breadwinners, finding that we are more than this; we are actors in a present that seeks to break the inertia in which the patriarchal violence permeates the social life in Colombia, has been reproduced.

Their role in this research is to experiment with implementing different emancipatory tools in their organization and take what works for them towards the expansion of their social project.
They are active participants in the project. Retreats will be planned in collaboration with the union leaders. The second and third retreat lineup will be discussed depending on the previous experience.
As active members in this collaboration, they can decide which material will be published from their stories. I will work on a final product in the form of a documentary film that they will be able to distribute and socialize and a printed publication of which they will have numerous copies.

The research is looking for the outcomes of experimenting with various emancipatory tools that combine ancestral and local knowledge with academic methodologies in the particular context of the war in Colombia. How these retreats can recharge and inform their participants of how their practice/activism can be transformed and expanded. For them (Asomhupaz) is essential to explore and implement the healing factor in their activism, and this project has been thought to combine both. The work with Asomhupaz could be extended and expanded if Carol’s team has enough resources to do so. Initiatives like the one they are pursuing vanished in time in context like that due the lack of funds, support and oppression.