The Container Project :: Daniel Flood

9 May – 10 June, Kingston Jamaica

Filming on site

Filming on site

The Container Project – in its fifth year of operation – is a ICT1 media & arts project based in Palmers Cross, a district of the Clarendon Parish, approximately 1.5 hours outside of Kingston. Palmers Cross is an area of Jamaica known for itʼs under-privilege and poverty. The Container Project is an effort to address these socioeconomic conditions, offering community access to ICT equipment, training and workshop programs.

A re-purposed shipping container, the project was initially envisioned as a mobile venture but was grounded in Palmers Cross, in part due to the logistics of moving the lab and part response to community need. Outreach programs are delivered to other communities across Jamaica from the Container Project, headed by Mervin Jarman and visiting international artists. During my residency I was accompanied by self funded fellow new media artist Amanda Slack-Smith.

The residency was split into two periods; the time based physically based at the Container and that working with three additional communities across the island; Kingston, Jeffrey Town and Negril.

The Container Project
Two weeks were spent working at the Container Project proper, working with the Palmer Cross community Monday to Friday between 10am and 6pm. The age demographic of community member engaged was broad, ranging from eight to forty, averaging nine participants per day. Mervin Jarman was absent much of this time while attending the Stockholm Challenge2, where the Container Project was recipient of the Stockholm Challenge Award for Education.

Time was spent during the first week repairing the equipment present in the Container Project space, followed with ongoing maintenance and training of interested participants. Following were four days of formal workshop programs in digital still and video imaging. A further week of less structured time was facilitated, where community participants were free to request additional training. These weeks resulted in the creation of several short narrative, dance and documentary works.

Mervin Jarman and Daniel Flood

Mervin Jarman and Daniel Flood

A key supporter of the Container Project – Cable & Wireless3 – hosted three days of workshops from their training centre located in Kingston. The first of these three days was spent in a “train the trainer” session, working with 15 Kingston based community practitioners. Three workshop programs were delivered and outlined, one in video art practice and two in digital imaging. These practitioners were then invited to assist in delivering these same workshops to nineteen community members, over the proceeding two day. An afternoon was spent working with youth at Liberty Hall, centre dedicated to assisting disadvantaged youth with additional education, training and support.

Jeffrey Town
Located in the central highlands, Jeffrey Town is rural community with a media centre funded largely by the local farmers association through the European Union. Day two was sent in Jeffrey Town, largely troubleshooting the existent ICT systems and providing training & support to the ten young people who assist in the day to day operations of the centre. A workshop in video editing was delivered, with an emphasis of creating and outputting video for the web.

Partly funded by Cable & Wireless, the final workshop of the residency period was conducted in Negril, working with eighteen community practitioners and interested local artists, delivering workshops in video art practice and digital imaging.

Workshop Outcomes

Rebuilding systems

Rebuilding systems

All workshops were well received by community and a majority of works will be featured as part of the As We Move exhibition, across the island March/April 2009. Further support has been offered to the community practitioners, in way of workshop plans and email support.

Personal Outcomes
Engaging with community in a developing world was a personal growth experience. It provided a testing ground for personal community practice theory and an opportunity to redevelop physical practices to better meet the needs of community. Being forced to adapt in the face of challenging situations, language and cultural barriers was a emotionally rewarding, if draining, experience.

This time also presented an opportunity to network, explore my personal practice and redefine much of it through discussion with other practitioners outside my immediate professional circle.

1 Information and Communication Technology
One of the two major telecommunication companies in Jamaica.

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