An international workshop for Hard Knock Leadership... Sure why not?

I have a condition of impulse travel that always leaves me with a small window for accomplishing the world of to do’s that need to be ticked off before I depart. For two years now this very impulse has had me overseas for the New Year in a new country. I consider myself someone who travels with a deeper purpose than a vacation. So what better way to start the New Year overseas than with a proposed exhibit building discussion among youth leaders within the Dominican Republic.

The question is how does one go from facilitating local initiatives to building discussion globally? Here is the making of my overseas exhibition and some steps to how I made it happen.

Sueños De la Calle photography work printed for the exhibit / workshop

Sueños De la Calle photography work printed for the exhibit / workshop

Creating material & content before you head abroad is key as this allows you to connect with others in two ways.

1) Showcase your work to contacts you meet along the way  

2) Be prepared with a theme and transferable idea of what you can accomplish.

Enter “Sueños De La Calle,” a compilation of my street photography work that I put together before heading to Latin America in December 2013. It curates my eight years of my photography work that I have captured and shares the narrative of storytelling that I have roughly titled street dreams. I printed a little black photo book that became the idea I would carry around with me in order to showcase my work and build dialogue around the message of my content.  

Don’t speak the language fluently to communicate... Hmmm that could be a challenge.

My brother, life mentor & truster translator Spin el Poeta who broke down the language barrier for me 

My brother, life mentor & truster translator Spin el Poeta who broke down the language barrier for me 

The language barrier is your biggest barrier. No matter how much street slang you think you know, “habla un poco” (Speak a little) doesn’t cut it. Your either fluent or your not and this particular exhibit for Hard Knock Leadership would not have been possible without a trusted translator that shared the same goals as me.

Shout outs to my brother Spin El Poeta for the taking the role as the official translator for Sueños De La Calle 

Even with a translator do make an effort to translate some of your own work. Web applications like google translate can also help you pick up the language that your decoding. It’s important to keep in mind that some words do not have a translation in another language. “Hard Knock is Hard Knock” it’s a North American term that does not convey the same message in Spanish, so be flexible with how you communicate to accommodate any lost translation.

Break down a written script of what you wish to communicate to ensure your translation is coherent and paced out for understanding. Be patient in communicating words with your translator and use the universal tone of body language to engage visually where you may lack verbally.  

Not knowing the group your going to facilitate until you land... Lets MIH: Make it happen.

Facilitating dialogue around photography as a tool for community building in Dominican Republic as a Hard Knock Leader 

Facilitating dialogue around photography as a tool for community building in Dominican Republic as a Hard Knock Leader 

Your work essentially carries you halfway there and the rest comes down to your determination and focus to dedicating some of your time overseas to executing your game plan. Work on the logistics of finding local print shops to having your work on display and have that work donated to the organization for future conversation & dialogue if the interest is there.  Your canvases become the tool for engagement and delivering a message becomes the purpose of your art.  

Having a good set of trusted contacts that make things happen becomes your driving force. Convey your intent to them before you travel so they can get the ball rolling or at least plant the seed to grow. They will not always have all the answers for you immediately so plan what you can and be prepared to do the majority of the groundwork and research when you land. Bringing youth leaders from Dominican Republic's Juventud Caribe & sister organizations took on a grass roots form of word of mouth.  

 Always remember what you hope to accomplish as someone who is visiting. My goal was focused on creating global dialogue and this could only start by learning about the current environment that people live in. No matter who your audience, there should be a two way exchange of learning, where you are asking  questions to learn about their reality as much as you speak to explain your own.


To book this Hard Knock Leader as a facilitator for dialogue around community building email hardknockleader@gmail.com or tweet @hardknockleader

Hard Knock Leadership supporting culture and community both local & global

                       

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