From Fear to Resilience: Storytelling of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia. 2021 Call for Photo, Short Video and Art Essays by SEA Junction and Partners
These days we are inundated with photos of deaths, ICUs and suffering, creating fear as an incentive to keep us all at home. No matter how well-meaning, this narrative of COVID-19 remains one-sided and may have many unwanted consequences. We know from the HIV epidemic that fear only changes behavior in the short term and it may cause traumas and prejudices that make it more difficult to learn to live with the virus. This narrative also leads to seeing the ‘other’ as the ‘enemy’ who can potentially infect us, triggering unnecessary stigma and discrimination that hampers the efforts to control the pandemic. More needs to be done to raise understanding of the rationale of preventive measures and to provide the social and economic means to enable people to apply those.
Living through a pandemic with unforeseen reality and unending uncertainties for over a year has created an epidemic of fear. As a consequence, there have been stigmatization and blaming to infected people, especially vulnerable population. With the current surges in COVID-19 infection across Southeast Asia, the fear of contracting the disease remains and is even escalated when the vaccine is in shortage and not accessible to many. They are nervous of not getting timely vaccinated, not to mention the concern on vaccine’s safety and efficacy. The fear also extends beyond contraction and manifests in socio-economic stress as a result of the pandemic impacts. In particular, the poor and disadvantaged groups have been hardest hit with a deepening of poverty since the existing inequalities have been exacerbated.
SEA Junction invites all to make an effort to collectively provide a different visual story of the pandemic in Southeast Asia that shows strength and hope. We believe in the importance of reducing fear and promote informed policy and public discussion with more accurate reporting of the epidemiological realities of COVID-19. We need to show that COVID-19 is also a tale of survival, resilience and solidarity.
We are calling for short stories in the form of photo essays, short documentaries and illustrated art essays in any language of the region (to be later translated into English) or in English. We will then select, curate and showcase them in a special section on our online platform and on our social media. We will be also looking for other partners interested in broadcasting these works of resilience. When the COVID-19 situation ease, we will use the selected visual storytelling works to organize a 2-week long exhibition at BACC.
Possible topics include but not limited to:
- cultural rituals and faith to counter our anxiety;
- experiences of quarantine (at home or at reserved locations) and survival;
- people that continue to work in essential services;
- laborers and migrant workers that keep the economy running by continuing to work in construction, agriculture, fishing, etc.;
- rural and urban community organizing to control the pandemic and provide support to the needy;
- innovation and adaptation of technology in resource poor settings;
- strategic intervention to enhance people survival beyond relief;
- and people that fight for social protection and for upholding of privacy and other human rights amidst this pandemic.
Needless to say, ethical and safety principles need to be respected in the production of the stories, and compliance of preventive measures is a must at any time.
Please submit approximately 15 photos and/or videos along with short essay to firstname.lastname@example.org. The call remains open without specific deadline. We welcome all the entries and also other interested partners to join this call.
SEA Junction, established under the Thai non-profit organization Foundation for Southeast Asia Studies (ForSEA), aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions- from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium), SEA Junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org, join the Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/1693058870976440/ and follow us on twitter and Instagram @seajunction
With support of:
China Medical Board
The Rockefeller-endowed China Medical Board (CMB), an independent American foundation started in 1914, aims to advance health in China and neighbouring Asian countries through strengthening medical, nursing and public health research and education. See further chinamedicalboard.org