Serving Lebanese Imagination
Joanna Choukeir; team leader “Aie Serve has been absolutely instrumental in making Imagination Market happen. It has been the team’s backbone.”
“Gharam”, “Dardasheh”, “Meshwar”, “Khabrieh” and “Sohbeh”..Those are not bits and pieces of a common Lebanese conversation; those are doors to new stories to be told for generations to come. Those are the doors to the creative world of Imagination Studio!
One Lebanese PhD student from the University of Arts -London, decided to start drawing the way to these doors when she started her research on social segregation in Lebanon. Joanna Choukeir found out that the multiplicity of Lebanese social groups, the skills and knowledge that youth in Lebanon are equipped with, are all necessary tools to be used in resisting social segregation. That’s how the story began! Joanna managed to gather around her a group of ambitious young people dreaming of a society not broken by primitive social differences.
To explain how the idea for Imagination Studio first emerged, Joanna says; “It brings young people from different regions, across different disciplines and with different experiences to put their heads together and imagine solutions for a less-divided Lebanon”.
A one person’s idea soon became the dream of many, and where there are dreams, there’s Aie Serve. “Being an independent, youth-lead and entirely voluntary initiative, Imagination Studio was seeking the support of other NGOs and organizations to provide a space for hosting the monthly workshops” elaborates Joanna.
That’s when Aie Power program fell right in place for Imagination Studio at the time. A mutual acquaintance introduced Joanna to Aie Serve, which soon became the incubator for Imagination Studio’s workshops, meetings and of course customized Aie Power trainings.
The imaginers which were selected among the Aie Power program by Aie Serve, benefited greatly from the trainings offered so far. According to Joanna, the team coordinators learned how to manage their teams and actions, and received the resources necessary to implement their ideas. Imaginations went wild and the result was these five pioneer projects in which Aie Serve is so gladly working on achieving;
Gharam: A fortune telling online platform giving insight on marriage laws and choices that apply to mixed-marriage combinations, and provides testimonials from similar couples.
Dardasheh: A book of games and activities that encourages collaboration between youth of different linguistic styles in Lebanon
Khabrieh: a crowd-sourced e-channel inviting youth to be neutral journalists covering stories of their interest objectively.
Mouchwar: An online platform and call center that matches youth based on their interests, to local hosts who can show them new regions in Lebanon.
Sohbeh: Theater-based peer education sketches in universities demonstrating tense political scenarios between ordinary friends and inviting the audience to engage comment and re-create the scenarios positively.
Imagination Studio has already turned one of their aspirations into a reality! Imagination Market which was a mini-collection of the five previously mentioned projects took place on Saturday-Sunday July 7-8 2012.
The market witnessed high exposure and great success. Yet, this is only the beginning of many promising projects to come.
Aie Serve is proud to be “… Instrumental in making Imagination Market happen. It has been the team’s backbone,” as Joanna put it. And the dream doesn’t end here! When it comes to serving, Aie Serve is always looking for young talented activists. As long as the imaginers at Imagination Studio are producing new ideas, as long as we are here to serve them 😉