While approving the photos featured in Tutu: Then and Now, Archbishop Desmond Tutu remarked to the photographers, “We owe a very great deal to you… it wasn’t just the people who marched, but the people who were there to record our stories.”
Storytelling is the most powerful tool for changing minds and hearts. The advent of social media and the pervasiveness of mobile devices led us to create Tutu Inspires – a youth educational program using the photo exhibition as a launching pad for discussion on the impact of fighting for change, and using the power that most of us have in our pocket to document that change.
Developed by educators, Tutu Inspires launched working with more than 130 lower-income students in New York City. During the first day of the three-day workshop, students learn about Tutu’s fight to overturn apartheid, as well as the impact he has made globally by teaching by example what it means to be human, and how to be a shepherd of reconciliation, forgiveness and justice.
We then turn it over to the students, having them claim and tell their stories through photography using mobile devices. The remainder of the workshop focuses on developing techniques, giving and receiving feedback, and working with intention. Their final project is to create an image that represents who they are, to tell their own story.
To highlight the impact these students can have on the world, we feature the students’ photos on a wall of the Tutu: Then and Now exhibition, where it hangs with that of our world-renowned photographers. Additionally, our friends at Facebook have provided a way for the students’ work to be sponsored and featured on the Instagram and Facebook platforms using the hashtag #TutuInspires.
Students leave this evidence-based program with an understanding of Tutu’s legacy, an introduction to photography techniques, and vital skills of seeing, imagining, inventing, thinking and storytelling – skills that help individuals come up with innovative answers needed most to face problems in the future.
To learn more about Tutu Inspires or to have your school participate in the program, check out our events page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.