Friends Like me is an experimental documentary project in which I seek to learn, directly from children and adolescents, what it is like to grow up in a digital childhood. I’m interested in the words the children choose to self-describe, the stories they feel are important to tell and the expressive, artistic contributions they want to make. I’m also interested in interrogating my own process – the questions I ask, the choices I make, and the learning that the children trigger in me.
In 2013, I began filming interviews with children at different stages of their childhood to see how their thoughts and experiences evolved over time. I was able to film some of the children many times as they grew into adults and others only once or twice. Either way, what mattered to me was to document a choir of voices at different stages of the journey through childhood.
Recently, I have started collaborating with some of the older children, (who are now on the cusp of adulthood) by co-creating or curating films that they want to contribute to this project – poetic, expressive content through which they can convey their thoughts, feelings and experiences. So, it’s evolving into a kind of collective diary… time will tell.
I see this website as an incubator – a place where I can experiment with different ways of shaping and designing the media to see what configurations invite gentle, playful encounters with the children and open up new questions about the experiences young people are having as they grow up in today’s digital culture.
Manuela Maiguashca is a media activist and documentary filmmaker who has taught in media literacy programmes for over a decade. She has seen, first hand, how social media apps and filmmaking tools have become a fundamental part of how young people learn, socialise, explore their identities and engage with the world. This project grew out of her experiences mentoring and teaching media to children and young adults.
Friends Like Me Vimeo Project Page: You can explore the experiments on this website or view a growing archive of interviews and films made by young people on the Vimeo project page.
Friends Like Me Project ©2018