The Smithsonian Institution’s Mother Tongue Film Festival celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity by showcasing films and filmmakers from around the world in Washington, DC.
Through digital storytelling, the festival amplifies the work of diverse practitioners who explore the power of language to connect the past, present, and future. Since 2016, the annual festival has celebrated International Mother Language Day on February 21. The fifth annual festival took place February 20–23, 2020. Many of the shorter films are available to stream in full on their website.
Many of these films would be valuable in teaching about cultural differences, if not intercultural dialogue explicitly. Just the easily accessible short films range from Pire, a music video with lyrics in Mapuzugun, the Mapuche language of Argentina, to Grá & Eagla, following an Irish bilingual comedian using Gaeilge [Gaelic], to Puhi Toprao / To Be Happy, telling the creation story of the Yanomami in Venezuela in their own language.
LIST(e)N invites people with opposing viewpoints on some of the most divisive issues – guns, abortion, and immigration — to listen to each other. The documentary features participants whose personal lives deeply intertwine with the topics, including one of the survivors of the Parkland, FL school shooting. As the exchanges unfold, and the participants take the time to get to know each other, moments of unexpected emotional connection and understanding arise.
Documentary director Juliana Tafur has now announced a program at universities, The Day of Listening, consisting of:
- A screening of the award-winning 80-minute film LIST(e)N, showcasing how listening can have a positive impact on people with opposing viewpoints.
- A post screening session that highlights the tools needed for deep listening, which are essential for exercising meaningful connections with ourselves and others.
- An experience-based component, with mediated encounters between students, where they get to discuss important yet non-controversial topics (to be selected with the university, based on their priorities), and have the students put into practice their newly-acquired deep listening skills. *The idea here is to achieve connection between the students, just like we did during the encounters we mediated for the film.
So far, LIST(e)N has been screened at Northwestern University, Florida International University and The Ohio State University; University of Miami is coming up soon.
David, the film co-written, co-produced and co-directed by Joel Fendelman and Patrick Daly, would be a great conversation starter for any discussion of intercultural dialogue, or broader issues of intercultural communication.
The film shows what happens when 11-year-old boys interact without having labels (in this case, “Jew” and “Arab”) to use as their starting point. To quote a line from the trailer, this is “a film about possibilities.”
If you use other films in your work or teaching that relate to intercultural dialogue, please take a moment to send an email with a short note, as CID is currently preparing a list of such films to post as a resource.
Jamison, I. (2016, November 16). Effective student dialogue: Critical thinking and active listening.
This is a webinar presented by Dr. Ian Jamison, Head of Education at Generation Global. The moderators are Scott Chua, a first year student at Yale-NUS College Singapore, and Hailey Lister, a first year student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. It’s made available on edWeb.net, a network serving the global education community. The event is long over, but the webinar is still accessible. The topic suggests that it may be useful as a pedagogical tool in teaching about intercultural dialogue, given that listening is one component of dialogue.
OpenLearn: Exploring how migration changes the places where we live. The Open University, UK, 2018.
Migration has a major impact on local communities, leading to a series of contexts in which intercultural dialogue either occurs, or would be useful if it did occur. This course, prepared by The Open University, integrates multiple short videos discussing relevant matters. It could be usefully followed by an individual interested in the content, or parts of it might be integrated into an existing course.
Full description from the course site:
“In this OpenLearn resource, we have raised the question of how migration changes the places we live in and the communities of people with whom we live. We looked at the ways in which migration can change the everyday sense of belonging and how local authorities, voluntary sector and local communities can work together to create an inclusive narrative. We also looked at how communities and a sense of belonging to a place can be challenged by policies such as the hostile environment, aiming to make life more difficult for undocumented migrants. These policies, we have argued end up challenging a sense of social cohesion by dispersing asylum seekers to places where they might be at risk of hate crime, by uprooting them from their communities through detention, as well as engendering feelings of unbelonging through border checks in everyday situations such as at work, when renting a flat or sending their children to school. On the other hand, these policies also have a detrimental effect on community for those who are not migrants. While they can affect black and ethnic minority citizens in particular by casting doubt on their belonging and requiring them to prove they are not indeed migrant newcomers, they also affect other citizens by requiring everyone to take part in everyday bordering practices, checking the migration status of people who register with the GP or enroll their children in school. Yet, there are also oppositional communities of resistance who build solidarities across the boundary of migrant and non-migrant.”
Intercultural Learning Hub, public “science gateway” sponsored by Purdue University’s Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research.
Calling all interculturalists! Looking for resources to help others develop intercultural competence or engage them in equity and inclusion work? Need a venue to disseminate your latest scholarship? Searching for connection with others in the field? Visit the new Intercultural Learning Hub. Membership is free. Your contributions are welcome.
Ramen Shop could not be more appropriate as a tool for starting discussions about intercultural dialogue.
The protagonist, the son of a Singaporean mother and Japanese father, searches for family history and recipes simultaneously. By the end, he combines his father’s ramen noodles with his mother’s bak kut teh, or pork rib soup.
Wilson, Kory. (2018).Pulling together: A guide for Indigenization of post-secondary institutions. BCcampus’ Indigenization Professional Learning Series.
“The Foundations Guide is part of an open professional learning series developed for staff across post-secondary institutions in British Columbia. Guides in the series include: Foundations; Leaders and Administrators; Curriculum Developers; Teachers and Instructors; Front-line Staff, Student Services, and Advisors; and Researchers.. These guides are the result of the Indigenization Project, a collaboration between BCcampus and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. The project was supported by a steering committee of Indigenous education leaders from BC universities, colleges, and institutes, the First Nations Education Steering Committee, the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, and Métis Nation BC.
These guides are intended to support the systemic change occurring across post-secondary institutions through Indigenization, decolonization, and reconciliation. A guiding principle from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada process states why this change is happening.
Reconciliation requires constructive action on addressing the ongoing legacies of colonialism that have had destructive impacts on Aboriginal peoples’ education, cultures and languages, health, child welfare, the administration of justice, and economic opportunities and prosperity. (2015, p. 3)
(From the Overview)
This series is one result of the BCcampus’ Indigenization Project.
TV2 Denmark created the Alt Det Vi Deler (All that we share) video 2 years ago, showing multiple ways to group individuals to either emphasize their differences, or their commonalities.
This year they’ve done it again, posting All that we share: Connected. Again, this is a fantastic way to demonstrate shared history, even (especially) when what we share is invisible.
Either would make a wonderful prompt for class discussions of cultural differences and/or assumptions about identity and/or group membership. Students could be asked to create a version for their own communities. Here’s a video adapting the original ad from Nigeria, and others from France, Canada, and the UK.
Print advertisements created by TBWA, Australia, in 2009 for the Sydney International Food Festival, show flags for different countries made out of their traditional foods.
So far the campaign has received a lot of attention from design and advertising sites, as in this analysis by Ads of the World, which includes images of the flags and details as to the designers, or from food websites, as with Kitchn, which focuses on the foods chosen. tweeted about it in 2019; clearly they are correct that the campaign should get attention from those interested in intercultural matters, even a decade late. In particular, these flags made of foods should be a good way to get students actively involved in thinking about cultural differences while doing something creative, such as asking them to create flags for additional countries (especially ones to which students have connections), or to research the particular foods chosen and how they are traditionally prepared, and/or what other countries have already adopted them.