Monday 29 March 2021

Catharsis, expression through the arts and gender-based violence

Nicole Sacco of South Roots International

(Partially funded by National Arts Council South Africa)

Nicole Sacco of South Roots International  led a skills transference online session that focused on catharsis.

Catharsis - The term itself comes from the Greek katharsis meaning "purification" or "cleansing." (Cherry. 2021).

"what’s important in this process is catharsis that leads to some sort of restoration or renewal. What we want is to bring about some form of positive change to our lives."

Nicole started with a relaxation exercise that focused on relaxing the muscles in the face through the use of the fingertips of both hands.

She then shared a technique for identifying how one is thinking, feeling and behaving when coping with difficult emotions.  She did this through the drawing of a figure and text associated to the head, heart and feet (inside-and-outside). Nicole associated it to the participants' thinking, feeling and actions when COVID-19 started in 2020 and if and how this the thinking, emotions and actions had shifted in 2021. 

Rianna of Gorsehill Studios Indra Manchester, UK discusses her drawing and writings that express her thinking, feeling and actions on COVID-19 and how these have changed over the year.

Nicole then moved onto a role play activity based on gender-based violence.  Below are her notes:

The activity:

We will have 5 breakout rooms (depending on number of participants). There are 5 characters: the victim, perpetrator, a family member, a neighbour and maybe a policeman or a doctor.

Each group will be assigned a character and then they will be writing a story for that character. I have questions prepared like: 

-who is this? 

- what is their background? 

- what is their current situation? What happened? 

- what is the solution in their mind?

In writing the story of the character, the idea is that participants tell a story/write from their personal experience.

Once the story is written, they will present in a creative way. Like a short drama, poem, etc. 

(Everyone’s video off except those who are ‘on stage’.)



Cherry, K. 2021. The Role of Catharsis in Psychology. Dotdash. 17-03-2021,

The session ended with a breathing relaxation exercise and a discussion of what resources were available should participants need any counselling.

The impact of the role play was confirmed by some participants referring to this session as one of their highlights in the project as it made them think about the issues around gender-based violence from all perspectives.

Selby of South Roots International joins in the discussion from Namibia where he is working with a community.

Sunday 28 March 2021

Tips for taking photos and videos with your phone

by Devin Carter  ( )

(Partially funded by National Arts Council, South Africa)

Professional Cinematographer, Devin Carter, led an online session with the participants from the South to North and SAUKINDIA projects from ARROWSA and South Roots International in South Africa and SHEF in India and UK Indra in Manchester. The objective of the session was for the participants to learn skills that would help them film their own or one of the other participants interviews on what their highlight was of the Scarecrow project, what art form was used and what personal or social change it inspired. The interviews are then representations of the participants own research of the impact of the project and are to be edited into a video.

Devin's session was interactive and as such was informative and fun! Below are Devin's notes from the session that include his tips.



- All settings apply for both photography and video

- File Size:
- 16/9 is video standard
- go into camera settings to find how to change resolution/video size etc.
- frame size options (resolution) may be mentioned for example:
- 1280x720
- 1980x1080
- 3840x2680
- big numbers equal better quality!
- best quality for upload/presentation
- sharper images when shown on televisions/computer screens etc.!
- will take more storage space on your phone
- Smaller resolutions are fine for sending on WhatsApp, Instagram etc.

- consider Your final format!

- Filming horizontally or vertically with your phone?
- YouTube/television/computer screen/cell phone sideways (horizontal)
- Instagram/social phone normal (vertical)
- For most applications, you must film horizontally
- you can film horizontally but keep all action towards the middles of the
screen, this allows you to crop in to a vertical image later.


- Clean your lens!
- Don’t breathe or spit on the lens
- use a microfibre cloth if you can, like the ones that come with a pair of glasses
- If you can’t get a microfibre cloth you can use clothing
- Make sure the material is 100% pure cotton and the clothes are clean
- cotton ear buds or swabs are also acceptable

- Tap the screen
- tapping the screen automatically adjusts the brightness and focus of the camera
- this is often called AE/AF (auto-exposure/auto-focus)
- whatever part of the image you tap on the phone will adjust to that
- Tap on a persons face if you are filming a person

- settings lock
- tapping and holding the screen should bring up the title ‘AE/AF LOCK’
- This will stop your phone from trying to adjust settings while you are filming a shot
- If tapping and holding doesn’t work, search your phone to see if there’s another
way to lock the settings

- Tripods/movement
- whenever possible, try and create a ‘Locked off” shot when filming
- try and find a tripod for your phone to do this
- if you cant get a tripod, use a table with books on (or anything that works!)
- prop up your phone so it is completely still while you are filming your shot

- Digital zoom
- zooming in on a phone is called ‘digital zoom’ because it is not actaully zooing on
the lens
- digital zoom causes the quality of the image to become worse
- try avoid it if possible, rather move your phone closer to the subject

- flash
- like digital zoom, it should be used only when absolutely necassary
- great for selfies, but the light is not appealing for your face
- only use flash when you cannot see your subject

- selfie camera or front facing camera
- If your phone has a camera on each side, you should rather use the one that faces
- this camera is always higher quality

- So if filming yourself...
- do a test shot and fix issues before filming your shot
- or use one of your friends or family members as a stand in so you can see the


- the subject is the most important thing in the frame!

- Keep the camera eye level with subject
- or slightly higher looking down is more flattering to most faces

- subject looks into the camera lens
- for interviews this does not have to be the case
- for presentations it is common
- make sure you look into the camera lens!
- The headroom (space above your head) should be very slight but make sure the
frame does not cut off through your head
- you may keep your framing head and shoulders or keep more of the upper body in
shot, going wider to reveal the whole body is not great.

- backgrounds?
- busy or flat? a flat wall is nice but visual texture is also an option and contributes a
lot to the message you’re trying to convey
- make sure there is nothing too distracting in your background:
- movement
- bright or contrasting colours


- Turn camera on and walk around in selfie mode
- This will allow you to see where the natural light of the room is best

- harsh backlighting
- look out for very bright lights or windows behind you facing into the camera
- this will cause your face to be dark

- top down light
- lights directly above the head are unflattering to subject

- off camera lights
- place a light just off to the side of your camera
- ideally it should be a bit higher than your head as well
- this could be a lamp or a window or a laptop/tv screen

- softening the light
- Put a pillow case or any material white and thin over the lamp to diffuse the light
- if you are far away from the light don’t do this as it will make the light too weak on
your face
- be very careful not to let the material touch the actual bulb otherwise it may burn
- if using a window, you can use the voil or thin curtain to soften the window light

- Shooting outdoors
- Can be nice but make getting a good shot much more difficult!
- be wary of sound, outdoor filming can be very noisy
- the sun is very harsh and ‘Top down’ during the middle of the day
- film later in the afternoon for better light
- if you film with the sun facing into the camera, it may make the face much darker
- try have the sun to the side of or behind the camera facing the subject


- the further away from the camera you are the worse the audio is!
- consider having the subject sit closer to the camera
- if the subject is soft spoken ask them to speak louder


Angie from South Roots International

The standard of the participants' individual interview videos showed significant improvement and in a follow up session when the participants' reflected on their videos a number of them mentioned how they had applied tips learnt in Devin's session. Above and below are some examples of interviews. See the next post for some more interviews.

Ritisha of SHEF India

Nicole Sacco  and Shanette Martin 
session on personality strengths 

from South Roots International, Cape Flats, SA

(Partially funded by the National Arts Council)

Nicole introduced the South to North and SAUKINIDA teams from ARROWSA, South Roots International, India and UK Indra in an interactive online session to different online resources for personality strength testing. She and Shanette explained the different types of personality strengths and related them to the arts. 

Clifton Strength finder personality test

“A test to discover what you naturally do best and to learn how to develop your greatest strengths into talents”.


Strength - the ability to consistently produce a nearly perfect positive outcome in a specific task.

Knowledge - what you know.

Skill - developed ability to move through the fundamental steps of a task.

Talents - our natural abilities uniquely received at birth a natural way of thinking, feeling, behaving.

Your strength is a combination of knowledge, skill and talent.

A weakness in knowledge and skill can be managed with relative ease, but a gap in talent is more of a challenge.

There are zillions of talents, which means it is impossible to name them all.  We therefore put these talents into themes.

 34 themes

Activator, Achiever, Arranger, Analytical, Adaptability


Command, Communication, Context, Connectedness, Competition, Consistency

Discipline, Developer, Deliberative


Focus, Futuristic


Ideation, Individualistic, Includer, Input, Intellection




Responsibility, relator, restorative

Self-Assurance, Significance, Strategic

Winning other over (WOO)


Shanette Martin then introduced a hypothetical situation for the participants to develop in role play. The team was at the beach and the driver had lost the keys to the bus between leaving the bus and settling on the beach. The participants were divided into zoom groups and each group role played how they would react under these circumstances. When the groups all returned into the main online room their reactions to the lost bus keys was analysed according to personality strengths. Shanette emphasised how important it was for their to be a mixture of people with different personality strengths to address the situation.                 

The session was informative, thought provoking, creative and fun!

Sunday 14 March 2021

Scarecrow Vincent video


(This project was partially funded by National Arts Council) 


The Power of Museums – United Kingdom 

Skills transference workshop by Natalie Crompton (Touchstones Indra) on 5 February (partially funded by National Arts Council SA)

written by Luyanda Makoba-Hadebe, CCMS, UKZN

Natalie Crompton from Touchstones Rochdale (Indra) delivered a thought-provoking workshop that examined the power of a museum and how that can influence ideas of knowledge and culture. ARROWSA South to North arts, culture, and heritage for social change (SAUKINIDA) project transference skills workshop. Natalie is an Engagement Specialist working in both Heritage and Youth Theatre settings and a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Salford. The title for Natalie's workshop was: The Power of Museums,

Natalie facilitating the workshop

A museum is a collection of objects or items of significance that are identified as necessary. It plays an integral role in preserving the history of society. Their exhibits tell us stories about "how our nations, our communities, and our cultures came to be, and without them, those stories could be forgotten”  (Anon., 2019). They also offer a glimpse into the future by showing us our past. They can provide profound learning experiences for museum visitors

Natalie’s workshop skilfully dug into why it is essential to understand that museum exhibits are not without their cultural and societal blind spots. The existence of a museum exhibit existence creates accepted knowledge. This leads to creating what is acceptable as being relevant and vital. Probing questions in the workshop were used to that showed how important the museum exhibition's curator is. The questions she asked were:

·         Has a museum ever had an impact on you?

·         Who decides what goes into the museum?

·         What would you have in your museum?


Rianna of Gorsehill Studios and a participant engaging in the workshop

These questions then become who curates the exhibits and to whom these items are essential. When creating a museum exhibition, the curator makes decisions regarding which objects to choose for display. Natalie used a great analogy to show how important a curator is when she asked the group to curate a biscuit museum. This question's discussion led to everyone agreeing that they might leave out oatmeal biscuits as they do not like how they taste. This is the personal blind spot that can lead to a biscuit that could otherwise be particularly important not being included in the exhibition.


Ayanda of Bergtheil Museum, eThekwini Local History Museums shares her experience 

The workshop concluded with showing why there is a need for diverse curators with a wider perspective will make sure decisions that are made about what is included as 'knowledge' on a topic are authentic and informed.  There is a need to understand why and how to curate museums in the way that we do.


Saturday 6 March 2021

The 'SCARECROW' AS A METAPHOR                                                                                                                                                                                          (this project is partially funded by National Arts Council

The ARROWSA - INDRA, South to North and SAUKINDIA  collaboration moved from scarecrows as literal artworks to considering them as metaphors for addressing social ills including gender based violence.  

In one of our arts for social change sessions South Roots International participants shared their interpretations of the scarecrow. Below are the script drafts and photographs of their presentations in the session.

Angela del Fava:


Hi everyone. For anyone who is new that is tuning in my name is Angela Del Fava and I come from a community in Durban South Africa called Sydenham. When I think of my community amidst it's beauty, I see gangsters, drug dealers, beggars, inequality and poverty. And so, in relation to our topic of gender-based violence and our scarecrow project, I decided to tell a different story about the men in my community. So, sit back, relax and enjoy.


Show cartoon drawings with music.

So moral of the story, the good you stand for, male or female, shines light and creates an impact. Not just for now but for generations to come. The backpack of my scarecrow is unity, identity and community development. I believe this is what my community needs right now. This is what my scarecrow believes in and that he chooses to carry with him.

Thank you!

Noluthando Shandu:

A scarecrow that scares away all the inequalities and social issues in South Africa using the gifts and strengths of the people groups in SA.

Legs represent the Khoisan speaking people. They are the first people of the land, they live closely with the land. They steward and cultivate the land. 

Stomach represents the Coloured people. They are people of hospitality! Coloured aunties feed you lekker! The buttons on the stomach represent the diverse bloodlines they carry, a physical representation of Ubuntu.

The arms represent the Bantu speaking people. They are warrior people, fueled with confidence and a spirit of conquering, community orientated people.

The neck represents the Afrikaans speaking people. People with tenacity, steadfastness and Bly Staan spirit.

The mouth represents the people of Indian descent. They are people who are very good with business, bring pizazz, shine and spice into the nation.

The eyes are the English speaking people. They are visionary people that pay close attention to detail, compassionate and have great communication skills.

Ngiyabonga. Gangangs. Dankie. Thankyou.

Rachelle Mukendi:


Jesse Jack:

My script...


Good day Indra family, my name is Jesse and  I would like to share my scarecrow with you.


The scarecrow's name is 'the protector' and I use this name for the following reasons I will be mentioning. In my community there is a lot of garbage and litter around beautiful trees, flowers and reeds on the riverbank. In time, nature grows and in twine with the litter and they are now fused together because of the lack of stewardship of the people that is walking around it and not picking it up.


Now, my scarecrow protects not just the nature but man-made things to. See, in order to make glass you'll need sand to do so and in order to make paper you'll need trees to do so. In other words, they are all one in the same and the protector does  show it that quite well as you can see here (showing parts of the scarecrow).

That is it from me and my scarecrow, Thank you!

Gracia Nicholls and Nicole Sacco:

Scarecrow script - Brilliant Black Beauty

Both: This is Brilliant Black Beauty

Gracia: She is made up of old plastic, toilet rolls, come plants and old fabric.

Nicole: She represents every indigenous woman and every woman in South Africa and Africa.

Gracia: She also represents every woman who has risen up, embraces her identity and fights against the evils in society.

Nicole: She is redeemed, powerful, royalty, she is Brilliant Black Beauty. She is resilient, humble and she is radiant!

Selby Williams and  Sue-Livia van Wyk

 Scarecrow SCRIPT 

(This scarecrow is twofold - depicting the actual scarecrow in the garden but also taking on his role as protector of women and girls. Protecting them from the evil of the world - gender based violence. Knowing and understanding his role as a man)

(The flower represents women and girls in society that have been effected by gender-based-violence)

Scarecrow: I am a descendant of the first people of the land that are known as the stewards of the land. Looking after the crops and the fields. Protecting them from those who come to steal and devour. 

Flower: Oh get away from me! You're like all of them... you take and take and take as if it belongs to you!  Get away, just get away! Stop taking what's not yours!

Scarecrow (responds to Flower in a song):

I am Here for you
So do not be afraid
'Cause each and everyday
I am here to stay (2x)

Every season
Summer, Winter,
Autumn, Spring
Winds and rains
Everything coming your way (x2)

Mbali Umhle
You are strong
You're a warrior
So much more (x2)

Flower (believes Scarecrow and sings back in response - they then sing together - believing that she is beautiful and worthy to be loved!

Ntombi Khena:

 Shanette Martin:

Presentation of who I am?

I think not it be necessary as you see. Authority and strength

Wisdom at length

Protecting to be what must be.

Protection for whom do I hold this fort? Birds that must fly, bees to draw nigh, but turn me around and it will be found This image of God cannot be bought.

Protectors who will stand - fathers, brothers, husbands’ friends without compromise.

Protection of why we were born - our purpose and destiny.


If we look at the reflection of ourselves or others and know that we are created in God’s image, we will not dare allow the violation of traļ¬ƒcking, violence or any other abuse.


Blue & White - UK but also peace and love 

Practical reflectors, ribbons, cloak and a bell to shoo the birds.

SA Flag - Safety for all our people in our land