Story of Books has been publishing “5 Minutes With…” interviews since July 2011, a series of short conversations on the evolution of books, as a follow up to “Whatever is to become of books?” event at London Design Festival 2011. It is a collection of thoughts by those who are involved in books production and content creations; from academics, editors, technology innovators and authors, to designers, photographers and illustrators.
Posts Tagged Medicins Sans Frontieres
By Zarina Holmes
This summer Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF UK) will be showcasing a pioneering interactive exhibition at Glastonbury Festival, in collaboration with live performance collective Lyrix Organix.
The international humanitarian aid organisation will be showcasing a pioneering interactive experience in a UK festival featuring Haitian graffiti, photo exhibitions and a spectacular set.
The festival visitors will also experience MSF’s pioneering cholera treatment centre (CTC), as used in the field in Haiti, where the CTC is a crucial feature in MSF’s frontline operations.
MSF are collaborating with Lyrix Organix, a collective of spoken word, folk and hip hop artists, at Glastonbury Festival.
Initially I came to see the graffiti demonstration and photography showcase by MSF’s staff. In Haiti, graffiti art is a popular medium to spread the health awareness messages to the public.
However it was these plastic chair exhibits that was stuck on my mind that night.
MSF multimedia editor, Pete Masters, showed me around the exhibition. Last year he had presented the Wounds Dossier and MSF’s multimedia project at Sojournposse’s London Design Festival event, “Aesthetic as a means to heal”.
“Cholera can be treated easily,” he explained. “Unfortunately the outbreaks often happen in places without a proper source of clean water, such as in disaster areas.”
Cholera is an acute diarrhea disease that spreads through contaminated water and food sources. Up to 80% of the cases can be successfully treated with oral rehydration salts. With correct treatment the case of fatality should remain below 1%.
However people with low immunity – such as malnourished children or people living with HIV are at greater risk of death when infected.
Masters showed me the CTC tent, where six stretchers were lined up with intravenous fluid stands. An actual CTC stretcher would have circular hole in the middle, with a bucket underneath, to allow the patient to discharge himself.
Then he took me to the back of the tent to show a couple of green plastic chairs with makeshift holes in the middle.
“When we run out of stretchers, we have to place the cholera patients on chairs like these.”
As someone who was trained in design, I was stunned.
I felt sad imagining a modest object of comfort being appropriated to accommodate a person in acute physical pain.
The plastic chairs were really effective in illustrating how desperate a mass outbreak situation could get.
The medics on the ground have to be creative and make do with whatever is practical. Without funding and support, it would be a huge struggle for MSF medics to do their jobs with appropriate tools.
Later that evening, the guests were entertained by a special spoken word session by Lyrix Organix’s performers.
It was inspiring to see positive collaborations between artists and NGO like this.
Photography and words by Zarina Holmes
Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A few weeks ago I was sent for an assignment in Tashkent to document a fashion week. It was an amazing experience and truly eye-opening.
If you think Central Asia is only about covered up women with no sense of style, think again.
Uzbek women have a strong sense of identity, feminine and free to wear whatever they want.
Outside work and away from the runway shows, I visited Chorsu textile market several times. I like to see how the real people conduct day-to-day life.
I never been to a place where you can find wonderful Angora scarves, knitwear, cottonwear, fur hats and silk in one place. They call it the Silk Road for a good reason.
I love the fact that I was never hassled to buy anything.
Textile is a huge industry in Uzbekistan, not only for the export but also for local consumption. Observing traditional fashion is still a big thing. The Uzbeks wear specific attire for every occasion.
Uzbekistan is one of five countries involved in The New Silk Road trade and creativity programme initiated by The British Council. Other participating countries are Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Iran, which had their share of political upheaval.
Unfortunately when we think of Central Asia, we imagine war torn regions and female oppression. Instead of a happy alternative, such as the colourful Chorsu textile bazaar.
Whenever I wear my wool Uzbek scarves, I think of the old ladies who sold them to me. It makes me feel hopeful.
I have never knitted anything in my life before, so maybe this winter I should start with P/hop.
My mother is fantastic at haberdashery. She used to knit, makes her own curtains and dresses, on top of being a working mother. It’s hard to compete with her. So I took up design and photography instead.
The best thing about what I do is I get to travel and look at how other people live. And how they wear their scarves.
Photos © Zarina Holmes. You can download knitting patterns and donate to MSF UK at P/hop.
While developing the theme “Aesthetics As A Means To Heal”, we thought of Medicins Sans Frontieres’ multimedia campaigns Condition Critical and the Wounds Dossier. We feel that to effectively discuss the subject of “healing”, we could not skirt around the issues of pain and suffering.
We invited MSF UK’s web editor, Pete Masters, to explain how the web, digital storytelling and social media play crucial role in reinforcing the message, as well as being the tools by which the organisation coordinates its activities.
Statistics and data sets are successfully translated into powerful messages, assisted by effective photojournalism and web functionalities. When deploying an activist call-to-action, the multimedia strategy should not to be confused with marketing. The aesthetic interface becomes important as the ‘human face’ that connects with the public.
“Condition Critical is a story project,” says Masters.
We hope you enjoy the two-part videos, and able to learn more about the MSF UK’s work in helping disaster victims.
Support MSF UK http://www.msf.org.uk/