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Miguel Angel Castañeda Barahona

Bard College (United States)
Research Project Title: Human Rights and Arts: School-Seeding of Cañaverales Defenders

Research Project Title: Human Rights and Arts: School-Seeding of Cañaverales Defenders

"How can community-driven communication, art, and environmental justice initiatives enhance the empowerment and capacity of the Cañaverales community in their efforts to resist the coal mining project, and conserve livelihoods in their ancestral territory?"

Research Plan:
We plan to conduct a comprehensive research project with a strong focus on action-oriented methodologies, emphasizing capacity building within the Cañaverales community. The research will consist in a experimental school- seeding of youth defenders who produce art content for the defense of their territory and their livelihoods.

Our research will initiate by directly engaging the Cañaverales community to build upon their current knowledge, skills, and resources related to communication and advocacy. This will involve surveys, interviews, and workshops to tailor our project to the community's strengths and preferences.

The project will include:
Needs Assessment and Capacity Building: Based on the findings, we will develop a tailored capacity-building program. This program will offer training and technical assistance to community members, particularly children and young adults, in areas such as communication (video production, sound recording, graphic design, and effective storytelling), human rights, and environmental justice. In all workshops, researchers will contribute knowledge of human rights and environmental justice discussions and topics but it will not be a cathedra class. All products are expected to be published and replicable since the week number three for the next versions of the experimental school.

Community-Driven Content Creation: We will actively involve the Cañaverales community in content creation. Community members will participate in the development of audiovisual and sound materials that articulate their concerns and advocate for the preservation of their territory. This content will be shared through various channels, including social media, local radio, and community events.

Action Research and Monitoring: Our research will be ongoing, using action research methodologies to assess the impact of community-driven communication initiatives. We will measure the engagement, reach, and effectiveness of the content produced and shared by the community. We will closely monitor how these initiatives contribute to community cohesion, awareness, and empowerment.

Feedback and Adaptation: Throughout the research project, we will collect feedback from the community and continuously adapt our capacity-building program and communication strategies based on their input. This feedback loop will ensure that our efforts remain community-driven and responsive to their needs.