48-Hour Creative Media Festival held at NU-Q

NU-Q Creative Media Festival encouraged students to use a combination of media to examine social, cultural, and political boundaries.

Using film, photography, creative writing, and performance, more than 30 Northwestern students worked for 48 hours to produce eight projects around the theme of “Borders and Boundaries.”

The event – NU-Q Creative Media Festival – encouraged students to be innovative and critical of their surroundings, and to use a combination of media and art to develop original work that speaks to the social, cultural, and political boundaries that surround and intersect their everyday lives. 

The students exhibited their final projects in an interactive gallery setting at NU-Q. From the moment visitors entered the gallery space, they were immersed in the theme’s identity and their movements were confined and controlled by physical and literal boundaries between them. Visitors began their experience passing through a pretend security check-point, and once inside the gallery their movements continued to be controlled by physical barriers and instructions from the organizers.

The students’ multimedia projects addressed a multitude of issues surrounding the political, social, and cultural implications of borders and boundaries.

One of the projects was a shadow piece that used a combination of images, sound effects, and performance, to depict the conflict in Kashmir. Other projects used abstract photography to illustrate the consequences of family disputes, or a combination of images and text to show how the blockade on Qatar affected people’s daily lives.

The event was supervised by Northwestern School of Communication alumni Tom Casserly, a New York-based theater producer, and George Bajalia, a theater artist and cultural critic from Columbia University.

“The festival introduced our students to an original approach to journalism, media, and communication, as well as the opportunity to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration, improvisation, and creative media storytelling between our students, which has resulted in the creation of outstanding projects,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO. 

In addition to getting support from Casserly and Bajalia, the participants will also work with Caitlin Cassidy, an actress and singer, who is a fellow with Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics; NU-Q Professors Rana Kazkaz and Hasan Mahmud as well as VCU-Q’s George Awde.

Casserly and Bajalia, who have jointly organized the Youmein Creative Media Festival in Tangier, Morocco since 2015, have extensive experience in the creative arts, theater, and media industries.

“The festival’s goal,” Casserly said, “is to provide students an outlet to apply technologies and techniques learned in the classroom to a public-facing context, guided by mentors and creative professionals.”