What is Festival Somos Mar?
Festival Somos Mar (FSM) is our participatory audiovisual and creative arts festival that tours public schools in small-scale fishing villages along Perú's coastline, engaging young learners and educators in play, storytelling, and exploration of ocean-human health, natural-cultural heritage, social-ecological wellbeing, sustainable fisheries, and epic futures.
This year, thanks to a grant from the US Embassy in Peru, Festival Somos Mar is heading back up the Northern Coast and along rivers weaving through the Peruvian Amazon and Andres to collaborate with young learners and rural educators in coastal and inland small-scale fishing villages and indigenous communities. We added a new stop on our route: Puerto Malabrigo or Chicama (the longest left-breaking wave in the world), Peru. Follow our Instagram for updates from now through November 2023.
During the 2022 International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, Coast 2 Coast worked with the Lighthouse Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to co-create a curriculum framed by the Small-Scale Fisheries Guidelines. The SSF Guidelines are the first international instrument dedicated to protecting the human rights of people engaged in artisanal or otherwise small-scale fishing practices and activities. Coast 2 Coast worked with young learners and educators in Peru and virtually with classrooms in Madagascar, India, and Nigeria to co-produce the lesson plans and enrichment activities, exploring the guidelines as reflected in students’ realities. Festival Somos Mar in 2022 served as the curriculum’s pilot.
Our epic team engaged young learners and educators in public schools rooted in Negritos, Talara, Lobitos, El Ñuro, and Los Órganos. For the first time, the festival crew went inland to collaborate with community-based partners championing Peru’s Amazon and Andes's incredibly diverse social-ecological systems. The team facilitated "Talleres Somos Ríos," or We are Rivers Workshops in Tupén Grande along the Marañón River (main tributary of the Amazon River) in the Peruvian Andean highlands, and with two indigenous Yanesha communities in the Amazon: Pan de Azúcar and Santo Domingo.
A team of scientists, educators, and artists worked with local teachers to facilitate select lesson plans with students. We also facilitated teacher training by pitching curriculum ideas and receiving their feedback. The pilots realized three stop-motion animations, two murals, ten photography series, and several artistic productions like cyanotype prints, protest signs, letters to policymakers, community maps, and more. Coast 2 Coast also facilitated workshops for adult learners like women involved in post-processing work and local stakeholders, including municipality officials.
Virtual pilots took place within the student focus groups in Peru, India, Madagascar, and Nigeria. As part of the virtual pilots, Coast 2 Coast also piloted the design of a regional photography contest engaging students and teachers in public schools along Peru's northern coast and inland fishing communities in the Piura region.
We are seeking collaborations with educators from SSF communities worldwide to work with us by reviewing the curriculum.
Students from I.E. Salazar Bondy, the local public school in Los Órganos, created a stop-motion animation exploring the relationship between local legends and tenure, how stories may be intangible evidence of an SSF community's relationship with the spaces and resources over time. This piloted activity became Enrichment Activity 5.3: Time as Tenure in the curriculum.
Young Learners also painted murals illustrating their ocean's rich biodiversity while noting legal regulations for sustainable resource use. This was transformed into Enrichment Activity 5.4: The Beauty of Biodiversity - Mural Mosiacs, where students draw pictures of their favorite aquatic non-humans with any management rules they uncover for safeguarding them.
Students in El Ñuro piloted a lesson plan to illuminate the characters facilitating a fish's journey from ocean to plate along the supply and value chain. This activity was integrated into Core Lesson 7: Following the Fishes' Mapping' Labor, Geography, and Value Post-Harvest.
Students also in El Ñuro painted a mural of a woman in fisheries' hands, complimenting those of a fisherman on a mural realized during FSM 2021. The two murals together represent gender equity in fisheries from the net to the pot, celebrating the vital role of women in SSF as described in Chapter 8: Gender Equality in the SSF Guidelines.
+ Lobitos, Talara, Negritos
We also engaged teachers across the schools in piloting lesson plans with us for one hour, and in the second hour of the session, teachers gave their feedback, having experienced the dynamic themselves. They either redesigned the activity based on their understanding and limitations or looked through the guidelines and created a new one.
During IYAFA 2022, Coast 2 Coast took the spirit of Festival Somos Mar into the Peruvian Amazon and Andes to work with inland fishing communities and Indigenous peoples. It was incredibly exciting to work for the first time with freshwater communities, piloting lesson plans and enrichment activities created for the SSF Guidelines Curriculum to see if these could be relevant and meaningful for local youth living in SSF communities along rivers deep within canyons and rainforests.
Tupén Grande, one of the most populated and least accessible communities in the Andean highlights of Peru, was chosen because of the link between Marañón Experience, a rafting company and colleagues of Coast 2 Coast, and one of the teachers from the only primary school in the area. Through this connection, C2C coordinated with the educational center and the students who would later participate in the festival. A team from Coast 2 Coast and Marañón Experience, with volunteers and members of an upriver community, set off on a 2-day rafting trip to the Tupén Grande community. A total of 18 students participated in three days of photography workshops and piloting the same mural activity as C2C facilitated in Los Órganos, highlighting the nearshore aquatic biodiversity and ways to care for it. The move was perfectly translatable, and rather than top-down fisheries regulations, young participants learned more about customary laws related to the co-management of the river.
C2C partnered with Colectivo Ecológico Amazonía Regenerativa (CEARE) to realize audiovisual workshops in two indigenous communities deep within the Peruvian Amazon. C2C worked with the village of Santo Domingo and Pan de Azucar, facilitating thaumatrope workshops where Yanesha youth and elders produced their own simple animations, an optical illusion based on combining two images with movement. This became the curriculum's very first lesson plan. We also facilitated photography workshops exploring the rainforest's biodiversity and a stop-motion animation on the challenge of illegal logging in the jungle.
Due to the pandemic, we adapted Festival Somos Mar to include distance-learning co-creation workshops in mural, photography, animation and virtual classes with 922 students. Fortunately, we were also able to work in person with 24 students in various workshops following strict health and safety protocols.
“Map from Coast 2 Coast” combines storytelling with geography to offer an educational and innovative way to discover the world’s coastlines through the experiences and artistic works of youth from rural fish-dependent villages. Students’ audiovisual productions co-created during Coast 2 Coast workshops highlight their communities’ natural-cultural strengths, environmental changes, challenges such as plastic pollution and hopes for the future presented through the imagination of young people and fortified by science. The map offers a collection of stop-motion animations, short films, and photography series that illuminate social and environmental nuances often undetected through conventional research approaches.
Between 2019 and 2021, Coast 2 Coast was unable to facilitate Festival Somos Mar in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are because the ocean is. Healthy seas mean healthy humans. In the spirit of citizen science, Festival Somos Mar sparks a dialogue over issues fisher communities face such as food insecurity, pollution, and corruption in an effort to establish marine reserves and conservation policy.
DATES: February through May 2019
LOCATION: Northern Peru, Humboldt Current
Our inaugural participatory media arts festival for ocean health and community wellbeing toured five local schools in historically marginalized fishing villages along Peru’s northern coast where 70% of the country’s marine biodiversity is located and the largest concentration of oil exploitation operations. Our multidisciplinary team will facilitate audiovisual workshops, teacher training, and an ocean wealth community mapping initiative to establish a dialogue and information exchanges. Our immediate goal is to engage local youth in a playful way that genuinely fosters self-trust, cultural values, and marine stewardship for their coastal communities' sustainable futures.
PARTNERS: Students Rebuild, a program of the Bezos Family Foundation, Ocean Collectiv, Lobitos Cinema Project.