Launch of Online Storytelling Training to Boost Yemeni Creative Sector

01 - No Poverty
08 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

How can storytelling and creative engagement increase the outreach of Yemeni young artists and stimulate their influence. How can storytelling revitalize cultural production and engage new audiences, build new narratives on artistic work in crisis context and allow for better revenues for culture operators in Yemen?

This is the objective of the three-day online course organized by UNESCO and RNW MEDIA (RNTC), as part of the EU-funded project “Cash for Work: Promoting Livelihood Opportunities for Urban Youth in Yemen”. The training targets culture operators from Yemen and the Yemeni diaspora. It includes blended learning through the Moodle-based Online Academy (OLA), online mentoring, peer-to-peer sessions and expert coaching with live facilitators through Zoom. The sessions combine theory and practice allowing participants time to work in teams or individually on world-of-work relevant assignments.

Effective storytelling proven to be a crucial approach in the creative sector and involves a deep understanding of human emotions, motivations, and psychology in order to truly move an audience. Combining the fundamental building blocks of the RNTC approach, this online course will give participants the techniques needed, to move them from good storytelling to great storytelling.

Information is quickly forgotten if it is not presented in a way that it can’t be remembered. Often, audiences experience confusion when trying to understand a new idea. Stories provide a way around that. The 3-day combination of modules will transfer skills to create strong narratives, find the right media formats to convey them, and capture audiences.

The training will take place online on 14-16 July 2020 and will be delivered by Brandon Oelofse, the manager and senior trainer at RNTC. He is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker and his work has been represented at numerous festivals, including the Cannes festival and the Oscars. He has directed several television series, commercials, short films, documentaries, new media content, stage plays, and is well-known for his work as a music video and advertising director in his home country, South Africa.

Snapshot of the Course Contents

The first day of the online course is based on identifying messages that are central to the audience to reach. The approach combines examining the behavior of the target audience, the influencers of the behavior, and the emotional payoffs that the audience get from their chosen behavior. The process is based on researching the target audience and is a way to examine specific cultural beliefs and their impacts. Day one will also examine how persuasion is needed in behavior change campaigns. The module identifies what gaps are in the audience's understanding and what communication is needed to challenge the audience's logic.

On day 2, an emphasis will be put on emotion and using emotive story to achieve the aim and reach the target audiences. Creative formats for telling stories will be investigated (including multimedia format), as part of engagement strategies for delivering creative content.

Day 3 will allow participants to create their own stories. During this session, participants will be paired with a peer from the online group in a separate workroom of the class. Participants will be encouraged to share ideas and story and they will give you feedback on how to improve stories.

This initiative is part of broader interventions launched jointly by UNESCO and RNW, with the support of the European Union, aimed at building the capacities of young artists and professionals in the Yemeni cultural industry to engage better with their peers using new media. The objective of the project is to strengthen social cohesion through culture, allowing young people to participate and contribute meaningfully to their society using the power of culture. Supporting creativity and talent is central to this objective. Through various activities, UNESCO and its partners are engaged with artists from different regions in Yemen to work on joint art projects via small grants programmes.

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