The University of Iowa

IWP Between the Lines 2020 Participants Create a Showcase of Digital Poetry Films

August 25, 2020

Assignment was really fun; I'm really proud of the end product!”  -BTL 2020 participant

View the Digital Storytelling Film Showcase

In June and July 2020, for the first time ever, Between the Lines (BTL), a creative writing and cultural exchange program hosted by the International Writing Program (IWP) went virtual. In synchronized meetings across 9,000 miles and 12 time zones, BTL participants built real friendships through writing: “My interactions and connections with my international peers have definitely exceeded my expectations— I was worried that I would feel disconnected from them because we weren't together in person, but talking with them over Zoom and Zoom chat made me feel so close to them in a way that I've been missing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In addition to daily writing workshops and global literature seminars, participants from both sessions–BTL: Identity & Belonging and BTL: Peace & the Writing Experience–were introduced to "Digital Storytelling" with Lauren Haldeman. Identified as a favorite activity of many, this showcase highlights thirty short films created by some of our BTL participants from the U.S., Egypt, Georgia, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Ukraine, and UAE, to name a few. This digital collection encapsulates the BTL experience while offering viewers a glimpse into lives of youth around the world as we face a global pandemic. As one participant shared: “These past two weeks studying/learning with my international peers has been life-changing, whether it be listening to their beautiful prompt responses or their insight during literature seminars. I never thought I'd find such a vibrant, cool community of writers, and even though it was online I feel like I know these people well enough to hug them in real life.”  

View the Digital Storytelling Film Showcase here!

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