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La Guagua 47: Storytelling workshop


La Guagua 47

3 min read

After kicking off with a film preview activity, La Guagua 47 Community Film and Art Project made its next stop on Saturday, May 14, at Taller Puertorriqueño, where a storytelling workshop was held. With the title “Hop on La Guagua 47 and tell your story!” an invitation was extended to Latinos and others in Philadelphia interested in telling stories about their personal  experience, and in creating  an inclusive cultural experience together to share with the city.

The workshop was preceded by a light breakfast, after which the workshop participants listened to the song La guagua 47, a salsa composition by the Project director, Alba Martínez. As she shared with the participants, the song synthesizes her own experience of searching and finding the Latino community in Philadelphia, thanks to the SEPTA  47 bus in the mid-1980s when she first arrived in the city.

This introduction served as an opening for the workshop leaders Julia López and Francisco Font Acevedo, first through a group pantomime with the motif of the bus 47, then through the exposition and practice of the principles of storytelling, to model for the participants the different possibilities of personal and community expression around  the topic of Latinidad.

Then, under the supervision of the facilitators, the workshop participants created their own Philadelphia stories, using the materials provided by the workshop. After a light lunch, the culminating moment arrived: the presentation of the stories by the participants.

Some twenty participants representing the wide variety of our Latino community, as well as members of other communities, paraded through the proscenium of the Taller Puertorriqueño auditorium. Telling and listening to stories sensitizes us, and the  presentations created an inclusive, moving and empowering community experience. Whether through the written word (in Spanish or English), spoken word, the use of images from newspapers and other printed media, body movement, or a mixture of these, the workshop gave us twenty stories that were shared and recorded – an archive that bears witness —beyond stereotypes— to the resilient, creative and diverse Latino identity of our city.