Talk It Out

The other night I was speaking with my dear friend, Liz. It had been a while since we spoke so, we had a lot of catching up to do. Liz is professional conversationalist…in my eyes. She has tremendous skill at creating engaging conversations with whomever she speaks with. This might have much to do with her talents as a film director and Professor!

So, she asked me how my thesis project is going and off I went!…

“Well,” I said, “I’m in the throws of planning a podcast series which I plan to produce on a weekly basis. I thought of producing one long documentary audio piece but I’m not convinced that my material thus far has enough “drama” for a solid narrative arc. Also, one doc would not satisfy my desire to broadcast an ongoing conversation with “learners” (as I’m trying to refer to them) and educators about the positive and negative issues they experience in their educational environment. One of my advisers also reminded me how producing multiple short podcasts could eventually lead to a longer piece.

Remixed photo-click for author and license

That’s not all. In June, during the graduating DOC NOW festival I plan to include an installation of my work in a high school classroom. Now, I’m no connoisseur of installation art, but I simply cannot see this project in a gallery space. It needs to be a space that directly relates to, and reflects, the issues that I’m working on. For me, the sheer experience of walking into a high school and taking in the (nostalgic) smells and sights of what so many of us have been through in our lives is a huge part of the project thesis. How does walking through the space affect the audience? What memories does the space conjure up for them? And then you fall upon the classroom that hosts the media where learners from different schools (private, public, alternative…) can all be heard. Their individual voices (short segments of the podcasts) are “housed” in an audio player that lies on every desk in the room. At the front of the class, projected on the black board, are video clips of interviews with teachers which are timed in sequence with video clips of students to create a “conversation” of what one another needs–a communication “bridge”, if you will.  In addition, I hope to acquire classroom creations that the learners that I interviewed are particularly proud of to display in the installation as examples of learning methods that “worked” for them.

After patiently listening, Liz asked: “Have you written this down?” to which I replied, “well, not as clearly as I just explained it.” To which she said, “you should because that was really clear, and this is the kind of thing that needs to go into your thesis paper.” “You’re right,” I answered. “I’ll write it in my blog.” “Great idea!” she said.

I then I insisted on shifting gears, “Now Liz, enough about me, how was your trip to Nicaragua?…”

About cayoup

Colleen Ayoup was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She has been engaged in media creation for nearly twenty years. After attending the Dawson Institute of Photography (Montreal), she worked as a commercial photographer for several years until the craving for different creative pursuits gave way. This desire led to two subsequent degrees in Psychology/Film Studies and Film Production (B.A., B.F.A) at Concordia University in Montreal. Her short fiction films and documentary, Kings (2001), about drag-king culture in Montreal toured festivals internationally. In 2004, she joined the National Film Board of Canada where she coordinated Doc Shop, a program designed to give emerging filmmakers an opportunity to learn trade skills from industry professionals and produce a short documentary for broadcast on CBC. She also contributed to the development and creation of CitizenShift (, the NFB’s first social-media website that she subsequently coordinated for five years. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in Documentary Media at Ryerson University (Toronto, ON)