This article was first published on page 16 of The Cyprus Weekly (8 February 2013).
Allow me to start with a few questions: What is the relationship between medieval Cyprus and media? How can centuries-old historical artefacts be brought to life by modern technology? Can a creative interpretation of cultural heritage help cultivate a vision of a common future in Cyprus? At a small gathering at the Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) on Saturday 26 January, celebrating over two year’s work on, the Cyprus Artefacts Treasure (CAT) media education project , the answers were clear in our minds.
A little bit of background to start with. In October 2011, and under the auspices of the International Children’s Film Festival of Cyprus, or ICFFCY for short, the participants in CAT 1 got together in a group comprised of 20 Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot children from Paphos and Famagusta as well as 10 adults. What we wanted was to respond to the Brussels Declaration, adopted in January 2011 under the Belgian Presidency of the European Union, which called for, amongst others, the development and promotion of “pedagogies adapted to each audience, to all ages of life, to varying social and cultural backgrounds”. And what better way to learn about the creative use of media than through the lens of history and culture!
There is often criticism of so-called ‘bicommunal’ projects for not affecting significant changes, but we beg to differ. Because we knew what we wanted to do! Our bicommunal group of eager young Cypriots and enthusiastic educators met regularly over a period of 6 months during the CAT 1 and worked on 5 animation films which illustrated each in its own unique way, a little bit of Cypriot artefacts from the Ayia Irini collection. All of a sudden through the eyes of the children emerged a blend of creativity and history that brought to life a world long forgotten, consigned for the most part to history textbooks, encyclopaedias, and dusty museum displays. In that time we also published two educational booklets about Cypriot artefacts prepared jointly by ICFFCY and the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR).
The excitement got the better of us! In May 2012 we launched the CAT 2 with the aim of building on the success of CAT 1, and to strengthen the bonds between our two partners, the Famagusta Cultural Association and Paphos Antamosis organisation. We realised that culture and media really could be used as a vehicle for promoting a shared understanding of both past and present, for promoting trust and dialogue, and for nurturing reconciliation. This time we were focusing on medieval Cypriot artefacts.
We traversed the island visiting medieval archaeological, from St Hilarion all the way to Paphos Castle. The work was not always easy of course – there is the issue of language that we had work with, and the very obvious impact of the division of the island. But where there is a will, there is a way. And our group leaders and volunteers worked tirelessly, with a smile on their face and with tremendous energy to keep the momentum of CAT going. In the process we managed to involve not only the children but also their parents, with people experiencing the ‘other’s’ reality, which was an equally rewarding experience.
Whether there will be a CAT 3 remains to be seen. But if there are parents and teachers out there who would like to become involved with our work, or would just like to find out more information about CAT, please visit our website http://www.icffcy-cat.com.
The CAT was supported by the Bicommunal Support Programme of the US Embassy in Cyprus and organised by ICFFCY in collaboration with Mağusa Kültür Derneği in Famagusta and Antamosis in Paphos.
“Since its invention more than 100 years ago, radio has sparked the imagination, opened doors for change, and served as a channel for life-saving information. Radio entertains, educates, and informs. It promotes democratic expression and influences ideas. From short-wave to FM to satellite transmission – radio connects people wherever they are. In conflict situations and times of crisis, radio is a lifeline for vulnerable communities. Radio is both valuable and cost-effective. From day one, the United Nations has been using radio to reach the peoples of the world. UN Radio sheds light on all issues on the United Nations agenda – from sustainable development … to the protection of children … to peacekeeping and conflict prevention. We are proud of our rich history of radio production in many languages, and the innovative ways we use radio to inform and serve the world. On this World Radio Day, let us celebrate the power of radio and let us work together to tune the world to the frequency of peace, development and human rights for all.”
Stay tuned for new developments from CCMC on the radio front!
The Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) is hosting a prominent community media activist from India as part of its ongoing advocacy campaign for the recognition of this sector in Cyprus. Entitled ‘Community Media: Giving Voice to the Voiceless’ this public talk followed by discussion will feature a keynote speech by Archana Kapoor, a filmmaker, author and activist. Ms Kapoor is also the publisher of Hardnews magazine, an independent political monthly in India, and founder of the NGO SMART that works with marginalised communities in India. Two years ago Kapoor launched a community radio station in an impoverished rural community outside Delhi. The radio station went on to win a National Award from the Government of India in 2012. Kapoor is also on the governing board of the Community Radio Association, an organisation established in order to promote and lobby for the community radio movement. The event will be followed by a reception. Look forward to seeing you there! Download your invitation here.
The Cyprus Community Media Centre (CCMC) just announced the winners of its Incentive Awards for Media Collaboration at a ceremony at the Home for Cooperation in Nicosia (22 January 2013). The Incentive Awards Sceheme, launched in September 2012 under the MultiCommMedia project, aims to promote professional collaboration between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot media. The recipients were NRG TV with Media Works for a project on Cyprus nightlife across the divide, and CyprusNews.eu with Baris Gazetesi for Voices & Echoes – an online news portal.
Have a look at our gallery of photos from today’s ceremony – we can’t wait to see the collaborations in action!
Stop the press!
The Incentive Awards were launched in September 2012 under the MultiCommMedia project in order to promote professional collaboration between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot media, and to initiate a discussion about the importance of a common media space for all Cypriots.
At CCMC we believe wholeheartedly that the exchange of content as well as dialogue among media across the island can play a crucial role in helping all communities understand each other’s daily realities and concerns.
We can’t wait to announce the new partnerships, and we are convinced that their work will create new possibilities for cross-community understanding!
And the newly opened Crossroads Cafe will be providing us with the best coffee and cookies in town!
The Foundation for the Management of European Lifelong Learning Programmes (IDEP) is organising information meetings for interested organisations on the Comenius, Leonardo da Vinci and Grundtvig programmes. The purpose of the meetings is to provide the necessary guidelines and information on how to fill in and submit applications to these programmes.
The events organised are:
Wednesday 16/01/2013 – Leonardo da Vinci – Partnerships
10:00, Premises of IDEP
Wednesday 16/01/2013 – Grundtvig – Learning Partnerships
16:00, Hotel Kleopatra – Nicosia
Wednesday 16/01/2013 – Comenius – School Partnerships
16:00, Hotel Kleopatra – Nicosia
Wednesday 23/01/2013 – Grundtvig – Workshops
16:00, Premises of IDEP – Nicosia
Thursday 24/01/2013 – Comenius – Regio Partnerships
10:00, Premises of IDEP – Nicosia
Wednesday 20/02/2013 – Grundtvig – Senior Volunteering Projects
16:00, Premises of IDEP – Nicosia
CCMC is currently working on two projects funded under Lifelong Learning:
Media Hackers aims to provide a flexible and basic training for journalists so that they are better equipped to cope with emerging new technologies. We are working with European partners to identify the current skills and training needs of journalists, and to create state of the art training material that will ultimately increase the employability of journalists by offering new and innovative ways of media training. You can follow us on the project’s Facebook page!
Similarly, through the m-Com project, CCMC and its partners are develop educational approaches in a community-driven context with the aim of empowering Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) through Community Media literacy. You can track our activities on Facebook, or you can tweet about m-Com on the hashtag #mcomeu.
This article was first published on page 19 of The Cyprus Weekly (4 January 2013).
2013, dubbed by many as the most difficult year for Cyprus since 1974, is likely to be a year when the general public, and by extension civil society organisations, will increase their demands on the political leadership in light of economic austerity.
Here’s to wishing (and working) for a Happy New Year 2013!
1) Greater transparency and access to information
Writing in The Cyprus Weekly back in November, Maria Kapardis, Chairperson of Transparency Cyprus, spoke of the urgent need for greater transparency in political party funding, as highlighted in the Council of Europe’s GRECO report in 2011. In December, the presidential candidates who had put forward recommendations for fighting corruption all pulled out of an open discussion organised by Transparency Cyprus on the issue. However, going into 2013, there is a momentum generated behind a move for greater openness at the political level, and with the austerity measures likely to bite hard this year, the demand for transparency and accountability will grow. 2013 will also be a good time to implement the recommendations of the Access Info Cyprus project, which include, amongst others, adopting a law on access to public information, as well as full and proactive publication of information about the structure, policies, functioning, and budget of each public, to be presented in a way that is members of the general public can understand.
2) Protection and support for society’s vulnerable and marginalised groups
“During the economic crisis people with special needs and especially those with severe disability, face bigger problems due to their disabilities. The weight of these measures will affect people with special needs who are living on the poverty line even more.” A statement by the Cyprus Paraplegic Organisation, issued last November condemning impending cuts to government spending on benefits received by people with special needs. Nevertheless cuts went ahead as planned; cuts which will also affect other vulnerable groups in society including recognised refugees and asylum seekers. It appears that the time has come to close ranks in civil society around the issue of social policy and support. No longer are organisations fighting separate causes, and there must be a realisation that there is both a common cause to fight for and a value in the strength in numbers.
3) Establishing a functioning legal framework for civil society
There is a risk that we sound repetitive… However back in August we highlighted the fact that the process for reform of the Cyprus law as this relates to non-governmental organisations was stuck and in urgent need of a kick up the backside. We spoke with both the Ministries of the Interior and Finance, both of whom assured us that progress was being made and that we should expect “movement” in the process by the end of the calendar year. While both ministries may point to more pressing economic concerns, the majority of the groundwork has been done, and what is needed now is more of a ‘political’ push. We hope that after the presidential elections in February progress can be made towards seeing this process through to an acceptable conclusion for all.
4) Effective participation in the Cyprus peace process
Another process which came to a grinding halt last year, but is expected to be resuscitated in the post-election period. Whichever of the candidates assumes the Presidency they will be faced with a population that is frustrated by the lack of clear progress towards a solution. According to research conducted by the bicommunal think-tank Cyprus2015, there is an increasing trend towards a “no” vote: 51% amongst Greek Cypriot and 42% amongst Turkish Cypriots. In light of this, we believe that the leaders of the two communities would do well to consider Cyprus2015’s “five principles” for redesigning the peace process, and in particular to “develop mechanisms of public consultation, to ensure two-way communication between the leadership and society at large, thus creating a peace process which is owned by the grassroots”.
We would like to take this opportunity…
…to thank you for your support during 2012! The Cyprus Community Media Centre has achieved so much this year and we couldn’t have done it without our members, friends, and the general public. We can’t wait to see what 2013 brings. Happy holidays and a wonderful New Year everyone!
With best wishes from the CCMC team x
*To view upcoming events, visit our Community Calendar!
C3A, the Cyprus Third Age Association was one of the winners of the 2012 DigiMe digital photo and video competition, sponsored by the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus and taking as its theme the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. C3A received an honourable mention – and a 100 euro voucher for electronic gadgets – for a series of photographs showing the group’s educational activities which, as the judges said, illustrated vividly Active Ageing in Action.
The overall winner in the photo category was “Ageless Joy”, taken by Salih Bahçeci, a student of digital media at London Metropolitan University, while the short clip “An ordinary life of my grandparents” by Andreas Psaltis, a final year pupil at the Grammar School, Nicosia, won the video prize. The two category winners each received an iPad.
There were also honourable mentions for Elly Rousou for the photo entitled ‘Youth has no Age’, and for Yetin Arslan with ‘Fairy-tale Cycle’.
“This is the second year of the DigiMe digital video and photo competition. We at the Representation are happy to support this online event and we do hope that it will carry on with the same success for a few more years to come. Our intention was to to raise awareness of the contribution that older people make to society and I think that the entries to the competition do this quite admirably. It is also clear that these issues, like the environment and climate change in last year’s competition, are obviously of concern to all communities in Cyprus – two-thirds of this year’s entries come from Greek Cypriots and approximately one-third from the Turkish Cypriot community.”
Entries in the DigiMe competition are not judged on artistic merit alone but also on relevance and, crucially, on the impact they have online. This impact, the buzz, which this year’s entries have generated, has been considerable. There were more than 100 entries in all which attracted nearly 3,000 votes on the DigiMe website, more than 2,000 YouTube views and nearly 4,000 likes and comments on Facebook.
The DigiMe competition is managed on behalf of the Representation of the European Commission in Cyprus by the NGO Support Centre and the Cyprus Community Media Centre.
You can see all the entries at the DigiMe website: http://www.digime.org.cy