The Ongoing Issue of literacy: Cuba Yesterday and Today

Bigelow Center will host a roundtable discussion featuring Luisa Campos Gallardo, director of the National Literacy Museum in Havana, Yaima Pardo, Cuban filmmaker on the Digital literacy campaign and Internet Activist, and Catherine Murphy, filmmaker of Maestra on the 1961 Cuban literacy campaign. Fairfield University Professor Michelle Farrell specialist in Cuban film will facilitate the roundtable discussion.

Catherine Murphy

Catherine Murphy

The roundtable will take place at 100 Mona Terrace, Fairfield, on Thursday, May 26, at 10:30 a.m. This program is free of charge, however, advance registration is required by calling 203-256-3166.

According to Professor Farrell, “There is a deep connection between the 1961 Cuban National Literacy Campaign and the current struggle for digital literacy and Internet in contemporary Cuba”. A selection of short films will be presented and will include specialists direct from Cuba.

Award-winning young Cuban filmmaker and Internet activist, Yaima Pardo, will be here to share what Cubans think about this important issue on literacy and Internet connection, and her own Internet activism through her documentary series Off_Line and Switch ON.

Michelle Leigh Farrell,

Michelle Leigh Farrell,

Also present direct from Cuba will be Luisa Campos Gallardo, specialist in literacy and the Yo Si Puedo literacy pedagogy. She will share her perspective on the past accomplishments in Cuba and today’s challenges.

Catherine Murphy, director of the film Maestra, which Farrell presented at the Bigelow Center in March 2016, will share her research process on the campaign in Cuba and why this was an area that she needed to share through a documentary.

The Bigelow Center is accessible to people who use assistive devices. Call 203-256-3166 to register for this free roundtable discussion.

Luisa Campos Gallardo is the Director of the National Literacy Museum in Havana and has held this position since 1996, which is part of the University of Pedagogical Sciences. Campos holds a Masters in Education and has 48 years of experience as a university professor, largely teaching at the José Enrique Varona Pedagogical University. She has taught at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level, as well as teaching special courses in the areas of Cuban History, Ethics, José Martí, Adult Education, Literacy, and with the YO SI PUEDO program. She taught the Cuban literacy YO SI PUEDO Methodological Seminars in Cuba and abroad, training teachers who will run and advise, the YO SI PUEDO program in different countries including two years in Mexico. She has lectured at numerous universities throughout the US.

Yaima Pardo is an Internet activist and free-lance Cuban filmmaker living in Havana. She has directed documentaries and fictional short movies for Cuban TV, as well as music videos, promotional videos and public service announcements. One of her most famous works is Off_Line about Internet access in contemporary Cuba and the need for a digital literacy campaign. She also co-directed the experimental feature film Antígona, El Proceso (Antigona, the Process) with Lilián Broche. Presently, she is working as director and consultant for the Cuban TV. Yaima is member of the Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (National Association of Cuban Writers and Artists), the Asociación Cubana del Audiovisual (Audiovisual Cuban Association) and the Asociación de Hermanos Saiz (Saiz Brothers Association).

Catherine Murphy is the founder & director of The Literacy Project, a multi-media project on adult literacy in the Americas. Her film Maestra about the youngest women teachers of the 1961 Cuban Literacy Campaign her screened widely since release in 2012. Four short stories based on her interviews were published in Eduardo Galeano’s recent book, Espejos.

Michelle Leigh Farrell, PhD, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Fairfield University, has invited these women to join this roundtable and will also be interpreting throughout the presentation. Dr. Farrell focuses on Cuban film and the contemporary changing audiovisual landscape in Cuba. She is active in the Cuban film community in NYC serving as a jury member for the Havana Film Festival NYC and Cinema Tropical awards. She teaches courses and publishes on Cuban film, the Caribbean diaspora, Portuguese and Spanish language.

Luisa Campos Gallardo

Luisa Campos Gallardo

Yaima Pardo

Yaima Pardo

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