Oberlin Blogs

On Winter Term

January 31, 2024

Phoebe McChesney ’25

This Winter Term, I was lucky enough to snag a micro-internship through Career Exploration and Development (CED) at Oberlin. I applied to a few politics-related opportunities as well as one multimedia writing fellowship that piqued my interest. I didn't hear back from any of the politics opportunities before the given deadline for project registration. However, I did receive a chance to attend an open-to-all applicants zoom meeting to learn more about the multimedia writing fellowship with The Alliance for Media Arts + Culture. The Alliance works to support media arts members and uplift media arts as a field. I was excited to learn that we could be given the opportunity to connect with media arts organizations to learn more about their work and be able to document our findings through some sort of creative project.

I've been wanting to do a creative Winter Term project since my first year at Oberlin, but somehow made it to my third year without having done so. I guess I hadn't been sure where to start. I had always been curious about multimedia and took a few Cinema Studies courses my first year and considered trying creative writing and poetry before deciding to opt for areas of study I thought might be more complementary to my major. 

When I received the green light to move forward with this fellowship, I was quite excited. I hoped that my experience blogging and as an opinion columnist would help me explore multimedia writing. 

We were able to look through different options for organizations we might want to connect with and create projects about. I chose Skylight, a film production company focused on progressing human rights causes in Latin America. Later, I learned that Skylight had created the film, When the Mountains Tremble, based on the story of Rigoberta Menchu, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for her work resisting indigenous genocide in Guatemala. Coincidentally, I had read the book I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala for a Politics class on revolutions. The connection to politics, particularly an area I had learned about, seemed extraordinary to me.

During my project, I interviewed Paco de Onis, Executive Director and Executive Producer at Skylight, who shared more about the story of how the film came to be. I also learned a bit about some of their films that address measures of transitional justice (coincidentally related to another Politics course I took) like The Reckoning which teaches audiences about the International Criminal Court and State of Fear which explores the discoveries of the truth commission in Peru.

I think it's so cool how everything sort of came together. I didn't think my Winter Term project would be related to politics at all, but in the end, I was able to unexpectedly draw direct connections to my coursework. I suppose some things have strange ways of working out...

For more about Skylight, visit here

For more about The Alliance, explore here 

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