Soraya Bayuelo Castellar, and Italia Samudio Reyes
Interviewer: Greg Labrosse
Language of interview: Spanish
Country of practice: Colombia
Profession: Bayuelo is the pedagogical coordinator and Samudio the research coordinator of the collective Línea 21.
Soraya Bayuelo and Italia Samudio work for the collective Línea 21 and the Itinerant Museum of Memory and Identity El Mochuelo, located in the Montes de María region of Colombia. Bayuelo is a social communicator and cultural advocate, and the pedagogical coordinator of Línea 21. Samudio is an anthropologist and research coordinator of the same collective. Since 1994, Línea 21 has been amplifying the voices of rural communities affected by war. They have worked on journalistic and radio projects and created the Audiovisual Festival of the Montes de María.
During our interview, Bayuelo and Samudio tell us about how this project has helped collect community stories during decades. They explain how their work is centred on empathetic listening of survivors, the fostering of community dialogue, and the promotion of public and political voices from this territory. As a result, they have created audiovisual schools and programs, collaborated with several women collectives, and developed the Itinerant Museum of Memory and Identity El Mochuelo.
According to Bayuelo and Samudio, one of the main achievements of the collective has been to build trust within the communities, to support them in their fight for dignity and respect. For Bayuelo and Samudio, governmental programs of restorative justice, such as the Truth Commission, are disconnected from the territory and its people; they disregard any proper consultation with communities, perpetuate hierarchical relations, and easily amplify the voices of the offenders. As a response, they developed the Mochuelo, a platform to honour the community voices and foster dialogue in these territories. Under three principles of design: (1) respect for the privacy of the victims; (2) the need to create spaces that enable the telling of intimate stories; (3) the need to travel to different territories, they generated a space that works to humanise the survivors’ narratives and foster self-recognition and civic engagement.