While in Piraeus, team member Jessica Fei and I took the opportunity to put into practice some Out of Eden Learn activities. Below you’ll see two pieces: an interactive map and a video in the style of Paul’s Glances.
In our Core Learning Journey 1 curriculum, we invite young people to explore what is most important to them in their neighborhoods and communities by sharing photographs, videos, stories and maps with others on our platform. Our learning goals are rooted in the importance of storytelling and providing young people with opportunities and tools that support them in developing their voices and sharing stories. The following map and video are a result of Jessica and I exploring Piraeus with the Out of Eden Learn curriculum in mind.
A Photographic Journey
We found some time to slow down and take pictures in several neighborhoods of Piraeus. Jessica and I created this interactive map to document the community through our eyes, sharing snapshots of what we saw, tasted, and heard, much like our curriculum’s Taking Neighborhood Walks activity. In the map, you’ll see pictures ranging from the everyday metro and port views in Piraeus to images of the classrooms we visited.
Documenting the Everyday
I was also hoping to create and share something that captured in more detail a piece of everyday life in Piraeus. On our last morning in the city, I walked along the fishermen’s port, which as you’ll see on our map was just a couple of blocks from the Phidias Hotel where we stayed. At first, I only photographed the port, but quickly became captivated by the actions of a fisherman preparing his nets for the day. I noticed his movements, his hands. I felt inspired by the lighting, the white sun, the blue sky, the sounds of seagulls and motorcycle engines. As I documented all of these things (with fishermen Ahmed’s permission of course), I found myself Documenting the Everyday. I made a video in the style and spirit of Paul’s Glances.
I spent time sitting and talking with Ahmed, getting to know him a little and sharing about myself. He was originally from Egypt so we were able to speak in Arabic. An important element of documenting everyday life in a community, and one that appears often in Paul’s journalism, is to go beyond collecting visual representations of a place, process or tradition to learning from the people we encounter. These experiences are rich in and of themselves, and they ensure that the videos, maps, or writing we create are grounded in the authentic stories and perspectives of the people we meet.
At Out of Eden Learn, we are working on even more ways to incorporate activities like taking slow walks and documenting everyday life into new curricula. In fact, we will soon pilot a learning journey focused entirely on slow looking and listening that incorporates a type of interactive mapping technology similar to the map we made of Piraeus.
Creating the above map and video was a good reminder of what it feels like to pause, look carefully, and really listen. We ask this of participants often but I know I don’t do it nearly enough. To spend a little more time looking, to think deeply about what you’re seeing and hearing, or to just ask a few more questions can foster understanding beyond what lies in plain sight.
For anyone looking to explore the kinds of tools used to make the map in this post, please refer to cartographer Jeff Blossom’s resources page summarizing his recent mapping webinar for the Out of Eden Walk. Here you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to implement these mapping tools. It’s a great resource for educators in the classroom, students, and parents alike.