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ruminations on a series of unrelated events

HADITHI Stigma Films Update

I haven’t had much time to write lately because I have been busy virtually every waking moment this semester. Getting a grant means my already packed life somehow has to fit even more items, and apparently blog writing is one of those things that can get put on a back burner.

The HADITHI HIV stigma films I am creating with the IU New Frontiers grant are progressing. We have had regular international meetings with the HADTHI team and counselors in Eldoret over the last 6 or 7 weeks. In the last week we had Skype calls with my collaborators at Moi University: CJ Odhiambo and Emma Gare, as well as about 10 of their writing students. As part of the development process I have been writing a series of film ideas. I think of these ideas as writing prompts, at this point they are loose frameworks for more complex stories. They are going to be presented to film, theater, and creative writing students at Moi University in Eldoret next week. The plan is that the students will be able to develop any or all of these ideas into more fleshed-out stories and then these will come back to our local team and be reviewed, revised and possibly combined with elements of other films idea. Then we we select the ones that rise to the top to be developed into scripts. Again the scriptwriting will be an iterative process, back and forth between stakeholders in Kenya and our local team.

My Co-PI on the project, Jeanette Dickerson-Putman, an anthropologist at IUPUI’s School of Liberal Arts, and the HADITHI study coordinator based in Indianapolis, Carole McAteer, will be heading to Kenya this week. They will be working with the staff there over the next two weeks to coordinate and interview at least 10 HIV+ adolescents as well as an assortment of about 10+ community members. We are looking for HIV stigma stories as well learning about opinions, values and practices regarding HIV that can be incorporated into the scripts. Once they return to the US we will be developing that material into more writing prompts that will in turn go to the Moi University students.

So things are in full swing now. And will be even swinging fuller in April. My fingers are crossed that they come back with good stories as these scripts need to be finished by the end of April. There is not much time.

I will add to this same entry with updates on the progress.

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