Updated: May 29, 2022
An arts student, human rights photographer and filmmaker Astitva Singh talks about his journey with the CHRA 2021 Summer School Programme
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Currently I am an art student finishing my Masters in Intermedia and Multimedia at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts (Akademia Sztuk Pięknych im. Eugeniusza Gepperta) in Poland. I have a strong interest in Intermedia art as it combines both my passions - media and arts.
And I am also a human rights photographer and filmmaker. I have a strong background in human rights having worked with a number of local children's foundations in India, my home country, along with members of my family who have been involved in the social-humanitarian field for many years. Currently, I’m working with Dr. Agata Szubaon on a project called “Tame Reality”, an A/V installation that analyses the conditions of children, also homeless street children in contemporary art.
Why did you decide to attend the Cinema for Human Rights and Advocacy (CHRA) Summer School programme in 2021?
One of my friends joined the programme in 2020 and said it was an amazing experience. I decided to apply as well but unfortunately, due to the covid travel restrictions, I had to withdraw. I joined a year later, and I have to say, it was an incredible journey.
It was the first time that I had the chance to participate in such an intense programme where experts from different parts of the world come together to discuss and combine their ideas for the greater good.
What did you enjoy the most about the Summer School Programme?
Everything in the programme was equally great - the lectures, film screenings, final project, having lunch with my peers and spending time getting to know everyone - such a diverse group of accomplished individuals. My time in Venice lasted 15 days and I was so involved with all the different activities of the programme and the Biennale Festival that I actually never had time to explore the city! Overall my experience was undeniably unique. I had a lot of fun and collaborated and learned from valuable experts while exploring and developing my own potential.
In my view, the CHRA Summer School is different from any other school. Not only are there teachers and mentors with impressive credentials who are passionate about their work but each participant has to develop a final project, which is something extremely useful for our career development.
Would you recommend this experience to a friend?
Were you able to leverage the student network for future professional development?
Absolutely. I have stayed in touch with most of my peers from the programme and we try to see each other every time we happen to be in the same country. We probably connect at least once a month to share our projects, exchange ideas and personal stories.
What skills and competencies do you think you’ve gained from the course and have you used these new skills in your personal or professional development?
Thanks to the CHRA Summer School I learned how the international human rights sector works, what are the steps to follow to have social impact and how I can individually use different instruments to advocate for change. I also learned how to produce and distribute my films, pitch my ideas and make effective reporting videos, skills that have helped me a lot to market my projects to potential donors.
Most importantly, the programme has taught me how to think about issues on a global scale and look at the big picture. If you want to make change, you have to think big.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I’d like to be a professional filmmaker reporting on a range of different social injustices.