Don Shafer | Broadcaster, Student, Researcher

Whether news about our climate charged with the impending apocalypse or politically and socially charged events that challenge our cultural and tribal beliefs, they are all part of a shrinking and challenging media landscape. My invitation to join the Faber Residency in October allowed an opportunity for me to explore our public forums in the New Journalism II Program. Olot is the perfect setting nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees where the past and present meet encouraging discussions about our future.

I was fortunate to be among an amazing group of journalists from varying disciplines all working on fascinating multimedia projects. They ranged from exploring censorship, ethics, the Salvadoran Civil War, adulthood, freedom of expression and human rights, to stories of love, the relationship between the Spanish colonial era and Catalonia, a documentary about the women of Reina Amalia, social conflicts in Argentina, the role of women in photography, and how to grow and strengthen the “SomAtents” collective who are developing new platforms for communication as they build an independent news organization.

If democracy begins in conversation, then we need to find new ways to nurture a culture where ordinary people routinely talk about those things that help us understand each other whether about our climate, race, religion, gender, or politics. The Faber Residency is a life-changing program that encourages these deeper conversations to build bridges in our public forums. I am honoured to have been able to work with such a talented group and such a wonderful team that had the vision and passion for creating this important program. I encourage anyone looking for a heartfelt and challenging experience to apply!