Around the world celebrations mark landmarks for different occasions and holidays. In the case of Hyperlocal Learning Network La Campana Altamira, the research team and the participating families celebrated on June 5th, 2021 the wrap up of the project with a celebration that included a photo exposition, presentation of projects by the kids, and sharing a meal. Each of these items in the celebration represented a meaningful moment for the people who were there accomplishing different interests and purposes. From a participatory action research perspective, the celebration was a rich source of data leaving us significant learnings.
Having the photo exhibition allowed participants to see each other’s creations and also have a sense of proudness. The photo exhibition was set on a clothesline outside the houses of two participants, and also on the walls of a house across the street. The pictures in the first location were the participants holding their favorite creation and were about 80x60cm. The pictures in the second location were the masks, decoders, soaps and robots made by families. Pictures captured moments and retrieved memories about the making process of the activities. In a conversation among kids one of them said “who created this”, the other said “its mine, I did it”. The first kid opened his eyes and took his hands to his mouth and said “really?”. The second kid breathing deeply said “yes, its mine. I put stickers that I had in the soap so that when we finish the activity we could have a prize for washing your hands”.
The event was an opportunity to give out a voice to the kids to share what they have created. While sharing about their creations they explained about the materials they used as well as the innovations that they set on the making process. Guests who didn’t participate in the project asked the kids about their favorite creation as well as if they encountered any difficulty. This process allowed the kids to share their experience and realize the process they went through. They were given a diploma and took a picture with it. When we forgot one of the kids, she said I want my picture too.
The celebration was an opportunity to share their space with us. When we asked the community about making the celebration event, they suggested we do it in the main street of the neighbourhood outside one of the participant’ house. We were not so sure about this idea at the beginning because of Monterrey’s weather which actually made us cancel it the original day because it rained. However, this idea of making the celebration outside was supported by the community linker that we were working with. He said that it will be helpful so other people can also come and join them. For example other kids who didn’t get the chance to participate and people from other communities. It actually was interesting to see how the street became an extended space where they took some chairs, set a canopy tent and people chatting with people from and outside the community cultivating a sense of bigger community exchanging life topics.
Finally, the event was an opportunity the families took to show their gratitude. The families had organized a meal that included tacos, fruit, jelly and soda. They had gotten together to purchase ingredients and cook for everybody. Sharing a meal allowed us to sit down with them and listen to topics we would not otherwise listen to. The celebration supported building rapport with the families.
Celebration was indeed a rich experience as a researcher. Somehow gives a measurement of the rapport created with the participants and that the impact went beyond a research study.
Lay Wah Ching
Tecnologico de Monterrey
PhD student in Educational Innovation.
I love working with communities for social transformation. I have been working with La Campana-Altamira community in different STEAM activities