Workshop in Toronto
VOICES: Toronto Workshop
The first VOICES workshop took place June 17th in Toronto, Canada. Youth Participants met at 10am at The 519 community centre and spent the morning sharing ideas about culture and art and preparing for the afternoon video sessions with the artists. The kids were divided up into groups of 3, and were asked to choose between taking the role of videographer, interviewer, or director. They chose the artists they were most interested in working with from a list including breakdancer, painter, kung-fu master, actor/playwright/poet, music producer, musician, and hiphop MC. The groups worked together to brainstorm the questions they were interested in asking their artists as well as choosing the location of their video shoots.
The artists arrived just before lunch and began by introducing themselves and the kind of work they do to the group.
Mike Fletcher began his presentation of olpc and the XO laptop during lunch, receiving a lot of interest from the group which was for the most part unfamiliar with the project. This was followed by an introduction to the VOICES project and its positioning in response to the cultural implications of the olpc project, and the possible role that such a project might play as a support to the olpc educational curriculum.
Artists were then paired with their respective groups to discuss and prepare for the filming. Each group was joined by a volunteer who was familiar with the cameras to assist when shooting began. The kids took over the sessions conducting and filming the interviews and performances.
 Youth Participants
The youth participants ranged in age from 11 - 22. Their cultural backgrounds ranged from Caribbean to West and East African with the majority having been born and raised in Canada. They were all students with regular access to Internet, with most having used either a video or a camera video phone at some point previously. None had ever uploaded video onto the Internet through sites such as Youtube, though all were familiar with and regularly used the Internet for some kind of social networking, ranging from Facebook and MySpace to MSN.
The artist participants are all based locally in Toronto. They include:
Nylda Gallardo-Lopez / aka Lady Noyz - Breakdancer
Rhoma Spencer - Actor / Playwright / Poet
Theo / aka Theology3 - Hip Hop MC
Syrus Ware - Painter
Omar Rivero / aka StarrChild - Electronic Musician and Producer
Shani Robertson - Dj & Musician
Julien - Kung-Fu Master
 Other Contributers / Attendees
Tanisha Sri Bhaggiyadatta
Diana Rodriguez Quevedo
Mike C. Fletcher