The works created during the 2014-2015 program year by Digital Mentees are incredible because they are multidimensional in both form and content. I’ve experienced them all, and every single one of these portfolio pieces is a perfect and poignant example of the magic that can happen at the intersection of language, technology, and art – especially when a young women growing up in New York City is the brains behind the project. At QWERTY, works were displayed for three hours at SONY Wonder Technology Lab, where guests could view them in their entirety. Such a forum gave the work the attention it deserved, but only for a short period of time, and we decided it wasn’t enough. In order for these exquisite media projects to live on, we put together a printed art book.
This slim, 65-page, full-color mini-anthology with a foreword by Ayesha Siddiqi, editor of N+1, showcases photography, illustration, poetry, and film created and designed by our digital mentees, along with a short blurb written by their respective mentors.
I interviewed Digital Program Coordinator Sarah, who has worked with our mentees since September.
What programs did the mentees use to create the work that was showcased at QWERTY and in the Art Book? Mentees used a variety of digital programs to create their digital pieces. Girls Write Now introduced many of the programs, such as Adobe Premiere, TextWrangler, and Audacity, during our studio workshops. Although some girls used the same programs to create their work, every mentee’s piece was unique to their own voice. Because we couldn’t feature film or an audio in our art book, our mentees used stills of the program to show their process.
What do you think the benefit is of putting out a print anthology for a Digital Program? As a young writer, having your work published is incredibly exciting and validating. The work that comes out of the digital program is so special, and can be difficult to display in a traditional format. Having an art book is a great opportunity for our digital mentees to be able to show off their hard work in a tangible format.
How did you see mentees’ work, perspective, and skills change between the beginning of the year to the end of the program year? In the beginning of the program year, it is common for digital mentees to feel intimidated by the subject matter. Not every mentee is going to be an expert at all things digital, and there may have been a fear of the unknown. As we went through the program year, mentees felt more at ease finding new ways to frame their stories in a digital way. Some mentees even discovered new passions, for coding, documentary filmmaking, and audio recording! At QWERTY, I saw every mentee own their work, speak about their story and process with poise, and I was very proud.