It all started with an email from Judith Lockhart Radtke, in which there was a link to a web page which presented the research of women from different places around the world, working in the field of literacy, in relation to social rights, gender violence, and the arts. Immediately I felt a great affinity for this group and what “We Learn” offers. I wanted the challenge to participate in this annual conference. Shortly after Mev Miller had accepted our participation and from that moment began the preparation of travel (visa arrangements, tickets etc) and at the same time I began to imagine many things around this experience: how many women would be there? from where? what they will they think, and how will they respond to our work?
One night before the conference, we had dinner at a Circulo Supporter's house. The cold and snowy day contrasted with the warmth and friendliness of our hosts. We talked until late, it was interesting and encouraging the way they wanted to know the details of our literacy project and I learned a lot about American culture in only one night.
The next day we arrived at the University of Rhode Island. I loved the city: clean, quiet the nineteenth century looking . Upon arrival, we saw in the work schedule, the time of our conference workshop: "Reading with all the senses." By then, Agustina, Lynne and I began to feel the nervousness of the responsibility involved in appearing before an international forum. Everything happened gradually: first the breakfast, and geting to know conference participants, then searching for our room and waiting for participants. This was exciting to see them arrive-- women of different ages, different nationalities, all with much experience in the field of education, such a challenge was in front of us.
I decided to start talking about the cultural and historical context in which we have worked for more than three years developing our program. This part was very interested to them, there were questions all the time and environment was becoming increasingly participatory, increasingly active. During the introduction of the scheme of our method of work, all the questions were about how to apply them in different contexts, in that moment I realized the importance of our work. I realized that "to read with all the senses" as a method, that could be used in different cultures and could help many more women from different countries and different ages.
At the end of this experience and after spending two weeks in a multicultural country like the U.S., I can say the greatest learning, was to prove that the dedication with which we have worked for years in Miramar, has produced results that transcend the local level. Working with art as a way to explore identity and the production of images as a line of work are contributions that can support the growth of women in many other places outside of Miramar. Literacy is an enjoyable process and profoundly human. Thank you for this learnning to the Circle of Women and to We Learn.
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