Photo Project Invites Tunisian Youth to Confront Marginalization

10/17/2016

TUNIS, October 17, 2016— The International Center for Transitional Justice, in partnership with the British Council, is pleased to announce the launch of a new photography project for Tunisian youth, “Marginalization: Images of an Invisible Repression.” The project invites youth to use their cameras to examine social exclusion, to help cultivate a new generation of socially conscious photographers in Tunisia.

Young Tunisians suffered from social exclusion and a lack of opportunities long before the revolution. This marginalization has resulted in high rates of high school dropout and unemployment, imprisonment of young people for minor offenses, and young people having difficulty accessing basic public services. The consequence is a deepening social and generational gap, with young people feeling mistrustful of the state.

The Photo Project, directed at Tunisians aged 15 to 25 with an interest in photography, will host 15 participants for an advanced training course in photography and advocacy workshops to discuss the challenges posed by exclusion. Participants will then submit photos to be displayed in exhibitions throughout the country, including at the Truth and Dignity Commission (TDC). The project will culminate in a series of debates about the issues raised in the photographs.

“We hope to inspire the next generation of Tunisians to explore the issues facing them in innovative ways,” said Salwa El Gantri, ICTJ’s head of office in Tunisia. “The photo project will allow them to confront marginalization and then discuss its implications, as Tunisia seeks to grapple with the dictatorship and its aftermath.”

Youth marginalization has made addressing the past more difficult for Tunisia’s transitional process. Despite the fact that young people led the movements that helped spark the revolution, transitional justice mechanisms, like the TDC, have not significantly incorporated their involvement or inputs.

Still, young people continue to be politically active. They launched the “Manish Msameh/I Will Not Forgive” campaign earlier this year, which has demanded corrupt officials be held accountable, and they lead Al Bawsala, a nonprofit that reports on parliamentary proceedings and promotes democracy in Tunisia. However, their activism has not translated into a more substantive youth involvement in the TDC and other transitional justice initiatives, whose long-term impact and success in some ways depends on the involvement of young people.

“Hearing youth voices is essential if Tunisia is to build a stable peace that reflects the experiences and needs of all its people,” said El Gantri. “By providing young Tunisians with a platform to tell compelling visual stories, we hope to open renewed public dialogue around the unique challenges they face and the country’s responsibilities to them.”

The program is open to all Tunisian youth aged 15–25. Those who wish to apply should submit a completed application form (in Arabic or French) before midnight on November 1, 2016. Fifteen participants will be selected, and the course will begin in mid-November. Participants must have their own cameras.

ICTJ strongly encourages applications from young people living in internal regions.

Contact

Salwa El Gantri, Head of Office in Tunisia, ICTJ
E-mail: SELGantri@ictj.org


PHOTO: Saleh Hammouda, founder of the community art center Mass'ART, during an interview. (Chadha Ben Sliman/ICTJ)