Grassroot Media Making in the favelas
of Rio de Janeiro
Welcome to Lockdown Stories
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted communities all around the world and has brought unprecedented challenges. Major impacts were felt in more deprived communities, such as favelas in Rio de Janeiro city. In these favelas, pandemic has affected people’s health, income and social life, exacerbating a prior exclusion and marginality. In that context, this project aims to better comprehend favela citizens responses to the pandemic. Moreover, it also aims to amplify citizens voices and help strengthen community resilience. In these times of isolation, this project creates new digitally connections between communities across the world by sharing their ‘Lockdown Stories’.
We have focused our preliminary work on favelas in Rio de Janeiro, and more specifically on residents and collectives involved in community tourism. Their projects have already been acting for some time on presenting favela communities and their heritage to global audiences.
This proposal is relevant because online storytelling can empower individuals and communities. Additionally, it allows to break their isolation and facilitate the resources flow. Storytelling needs audiences. However, due to this global pandemic, international visitors have stopped coming, which increased community’s isolation. Therefore, we present digital storytelling as a potential alternative to create connections and as a potential source of community income.
Our participants show us how they are reorganizing their touristic offerings for global virtual audiences, while we learn about their training needs for virtual tours. Participants are provided with tailored virtual tourism courses and with instructions to help them use platforms to widen distribution of their tours to global audiences.
We are proud to present this platform in which favela residents and collectives involved in community tourism and operated guided tours present their brand-new virtual tourism.
The website features storytellers from six favelas in Rio de Janeiro: Cantagalo, Chapéu Mangueira, Babilônia, Providência, Rocinha and Santa Marta. Our storytellers are professional tour guides that have so much to they tell us about different tourist provision from community tourism initiatives. For instance, we will learn about their experience in the Museum of the Favela in Rocinha and in Cantagalo. We will also be able to learn about the tour-guiding cooperatives of the Rocinha and Santa Marta favelas and individual tour guides operating in Babilônia and Providência. They also invite us to participate in more activist and political tours and to listen to the stories of ‘Favela Tour Social: contra turismo safari’ in Babilônia. In this project, these residents share their own personal stories about COVID-19, the impact in their communities and community’s initiatives to help to alleviate some of their problems. These are stories about solidarity, community engagement and raising awareness of the everyday issues that are happening within their favelas.
Lockdown Stories is an online initiative that brings together communities’ voices, build-on community training and launch a digital platform for virtual favela tour experiences.