A portrait of Kabul through its inhabitants A multi-media project incorporating over 100 first-person narratives from some of Kabul’s most interesting, impressive or unique citizens, with video & photographs of them in their working environments. These small, yet focused vignettes aim to provide a window into the real soul of a much-misrepresented city. Through them we hope to dispel myths and clichés circulating in the western world, where people mainly read about Kabul in war reporting, and perceive it as a devastated city populated mostly by terrorists, drug traffickers, warlords and their victims.
A fascinating, growing capital city Whilst Kabul undoubtedly faces huge problems and security is still a major issue, since 2001, it has boomed, transformed by its nearly four million residents into a vibrant, diverse and fascinating metropolis. These are the people whose voices will be heard. Some are poor, some are rich, some are famous, and many of them are eccentric to say the least.
Publishing / Distribution We’ve already secured an book publishing deal in the UK and we have a number of other offers pending. If we take this route it will be distributed globally through all major book markets , libraries, public bodies and on-line. There is also potential to self publish and distribute. This route would allow our clients /sponsors to customise bespoke books for their own self promotion. The book will be sold in Kabul both to a national audience and to the international NGO sector. It is envisaged that the book will also eventually be printed in Dari & Pashto.
The website We will create an online hub to host the interviews and voices of the city organised into thematic groups for easy reference, which allow the viewer to dip in and out of the many varied occupations that exist here. Some are heroic, some tragic, but all of them are compelling characters. We will incorporate many social networking tools with a blog format and message boards with a view to engaging the Afghan Diaspora.
The website It will complement the book and exhibition and also give the project greater sustainability. We aim to develop this into a long-term, innovative study of Kabul life. We will use mapping and GPS technology to create an aerial overview of the city so the user can zoom in to a specific part of Kabul, locate individuals or specific areas of interest and watch video clips and interviews.
International Exhibitions We will announce the launch at the Frankfurt Book Fair - October 2010 . It will be published and into bookstores the following year. Prior to the launch we will do an international press and publicity campaign with the authors. There will also be a photographic exhibitions in Kabul, London and possibly Frankfurt & New Delhi to help promote the book. We also want to look at the possibility of a tour of universities in the United States.
Podcasts and TV shows The international TV network Al Jazeera has already commissioned two half hour documentaries. The British Embassy are also funding airing of content, through their Bi-Lateral programme on Afghan TV. Safi Airways have also agreed to broadcast content on their international in-flight programming We also envisage a series of short films which will be promoted on the festival circuit. ‘ The Sweetmaker’ can already be viewed online.
Press / PR We anticipate a lot of press interest in this project. Esquire magazine has already run a six page feature about Kabul - a city at work
Local interest - Afghan Scene run a monthly profile feature
Good causes The project organisers are looking into forming partnerships with a locally based NGO/charity with a view to donating some of the proceeds of the book. Possibly a work-related NGO, that works with street kids. http://www.aschiana.com Once funding is secured agreements can be discussed.
Capacity building in Kabul Our creative team has a lot of experience teaching photography and videography and this would be a great way to create visual literacy and editorial skills . It’s our intention for this project to be a truly reflective voice of Afghan society. So it is important for us to find fresh creative talent so they can show us what Kabul is all about. We are in looking into sponsoring and internship programmes with interested partners such as local news agencies or media-based NGOs
Educational aspect / Community involvement Once the website is up and running we will approach educational establishments in Kabul. We have already tentatively discussed this with historian Nancy Dupree who supports cultural heritage preservation and research at the Kabul University. http://www.dupreefoundation.org We plan to establish contact with community leaders and educators, and if funding allows hope to recruit local mentors, project managers and volunteers to keep this project ‘live’.
Our project will be involved in all of the following:
Giving Afghan people an international voice.
Attracting a global audience for cultural issues in Kabul.
Providing sustainable template for further creative projects.
Dispelling negative perceptions of Afghanistan.
Facilitating debate and dialogue amongst the Afghan diaspora
Capacity building for Afghan photographers and journalists.
Timelines - Project will be launched in two parts Website launch - June / July 2010. Presented @ Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2010 Pre-publication press activity - Spring 2011 The book is to be in the marketplace - Autumn 2011 Print exhibitions from September to end of 2011
Funding & budgets To realise the full potential of this ambitious project we have put together a costing based on running an operation out of Kabul for the next 18 months. Many parts of the project are still at the planning stage and certain elements are still fluid. We have a number of companies and institutions such as The US State Department, The British Embassy & Roshan Telecommunications who have already supplied small funding or are in the process of making agreements to fund certain aspects of our project.
Involvement / partnership - Oxfam We believe that there are many areas that would suit Oxfam’s goals within our planned activity. Particularly the engagement and facilitation of building communities to discuss Afghanistan’s social issues through the website and other networking tools. Once we have your feedback on this presentation and after further discussion about your ambitions we could then look into a working on a budget proposal.
Final thoughts We are all stakeholders in the future of this country. We are all here because we care in some way, shape or form about the country and its people. We care because we want to see this city throw off the shackles of the past thirty years. Kabul - a city at work will go some way to achieving this - be it by dispelling negative perceptions of Afghanistan, by giving Afghans an international voice or by drawing global awareness to cultural issues. Further information about our goals and objectives can be found on our website: www.kabulatwork.com
Thank you for your time. We look forward to your feedback.