Women Waging Peace through storytelling

By Tasha Sandoval December 24, 2019

Collaborative, participatory documentary amplifies women’s voices.

Women waging peace

Mujeres Espejo participants march in Santa Rita, Cartagena to encourage women to vote in the 2018 presidential elections

Though peace was signed in 2016, signing the agreement was only the first step in the process. And while the implementation of the agreement is moving slowly, particularly when it comes to gender-focused approaches, there are grassroots community programmes around the country working to fill the gaps, and empowering women for peace. 

One such organisation is Asociación Mujeres Espejo de Cartagena, a non-profit community organisation that works toward collective peace building and healing through performance, the visual arts, and amplifying women’s voices. Community activist Rosiris Murillo Morelos founded the organisation in 2012 as a means of creating community and empowerment for women in the area.

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Fi Gilligan, an English Master’s student in Latin American Politics went to Cartagena in June last year to collaborate with the group within the framework of her Master’s thesis. Gilligan’s experience with the group was so impactful that she decided to stay in Cartagena to work with the group on a larger scale, collaborative project. The project is Women Waging Peace, a participatory documentary project. 

“The project is underlined by the belief that art can heal and create change through a therapeutic process of sharing and awareness building,” said Gilligan.

Together with the leaders of Mujeres Espejo, including community activist Josefa Morelos, Gilligan has curated a series of experimental photography and music workshops in which participants can explore different themes related to identity, empowerment, and the environment. 

“We will use the materials and insights that arise from the workshops in order to collectively build a storyboard for the final documentary film. The women will both direct and feature in the film, telling the story in their own voice and from their own perspective. In this way, the project focuses on amplifying the female voice,” said Gilligan.

Women Waging Peace is a way for participants to create a self-curated representation of their experiences which, according to Gilligan, stand in contrast to dominant media narratives that often fail to capture their real-world perspectives.

The project has already garnered financial support from individual donors and from the Maypole Fund, a UK-based foundation that supports women-led grassroots projects. 

To learn more and to donate to the cause, Gilligan invites readers to visit the project’s crowd-funding page.