THE LITERACY PROJECT is a documentary and oral history project that began collecting personal testimonies about literacy in 2004.
Our work lifts up the stories of those who are teaching literacy to others or are struggling to achieve literacy themselves. We use documentary storytelling to connect with and strengthen present-day movements for literacy and education justice.
We believe that literacy is a fundamental social justice and human rights issue, essential for a healthy and dignified society and a fully functioning democracy. We are especially concerned with the intersection of race, class and gender as it relates to literacy: who is literate and who is not, and how literacy can be brought to all.
Through a variety of media and documentation methodologies, we are creating an archive of personal stories related to literacy and social justice and the role of literacy programs in social justice movements throughout the Americas.
We promote the notion that literacy is possible for all, through multimedia oral history and documentary projects that archive and share stories of literacy, with a particular emphasis on the roles of literacy programs in social justice movements throughout the Americas. By documenting and sharing stories of those who we can learn from and apply those lessons to our currents struggles for justice.
We envision a world in which all people have access to quality education, a voice in their community, and understand their power to transform their lives and world.
The Literacy Project is powered by a collaborative international team.
Catherine Murphy - Founder/Director
As an independent producer, Murphy's work has largely focused on social documentaries. She has field produced films like Saul Landau's, Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?, Eugene Corr's From Ghost Town to Havana; served on the production crew of Gay Cuba; and subtitled Stealing America by Dorothy Fadiman, Jaime Kibben's The Greening of Cuba, and Out and Refusenicks by Sonja de Vries. She also served as an archival researcher for Susanne Rostock's biography of Harry Belafonte, Sing Your Song. Murphy served as senior staff producer at the TeleSur TV Washington bureau and has produced content for PBS, TeleSur, Avila TV, Pacifica Radio National, WBAI and KPFA. While in Caracas in 2009, she founded Tres Musas Producciones, a collaborative production house of independent women producers working in film, music and literature. Four short stories based on her interviews were published in Eduardo Galeano's most penultimate book, Espejos.
Ana Laura Pereira
Ana Laura is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and founding director of the Primavera do Cine International Film Festival in Galicia, Spain. She has worked as a journalist, documentarian, social worker and professor in various parts of Latin America. More info at analaurapereira.com
Ana Laura is the Literacy Project Media Manager
Alison Hall Kibbe
Alison is a scholar, producer, cultural organizer, and multidisciplinary artist working at the intersections of social justice, community building, education and cross-cultural dialogue. In these various roles, she envisions and collaborates with communities, artists and organizations to use art and creativity for social justice. More at alisonkibbe.com
Alison coordinates our communications, development, outreach and special productions.
William Sabourin O’Reilly
William is an award-winning documentary director and cinematographer who lives in New Orleans. He has worked for networks including PBS, HBO and OWN. He own documentary films include “Codigo Color” and “Chasing Dreams: The Leah Chase Story” and he is currently completing his feature length documentary "The Caterpillar and the Butterfly". His footage of Hurricane Katrina was used extensively in Spike Lee’s “When the Levees Broke” and National Geographic’s Emmy Award winning TV documentary, “Witness: Katrina”
William is the Principal Cinematographer for TEACH
Malkia K. Lydia
Malkia K. Lydia, Founder of Kuyamba Media, is a filmmaker who recovers authentic stories of community life. She has produced content for major historical museums, and she is currently directing two of her own feature documentaries. More at www.kuyamba.com
Malkia is story consultant and starting editor for TEACH
Emmy-award winning producer, writer and radio show host, Mimi Machado-Luces is President & CEO of TVA Productions. She is a visual media artist with an array of experiences from music videos to political campaigns, and from feature length fiction films to documentaries. As an engaged storyteller, she draws from genuine stories as she entertains and motivates diverse audiences. Her weekly radio show "Timba Republic" airs on WPFW every Tuesday afternoon from 3 - 5pm.
Mimi works with us on Special Projects, including editing two short videos for a recent collaboration we did with the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.
Kimberly Waller is a curriculum specialist and current PhD Candidate. Her work looks at the elements of effective mass literacy campaigns as a way to ignite deep and lasting social change.
Kimberly works with us on curriculum design, and on special presentations of the Maestra documentary.
Natalia is an education consultant, translator herbalist and mother of two boys. She has a PhD in Spanish Literature from the University of Barcelona and has worked in education for many years.
Natalia works with us on Education Outreach and Curriculum Design
Lilian is a creative producer, art curator, project manager, and event coordinator. She specializes in Cuban and Caribbean music, art, and culture. She creates and supports collective transformative experiences that connect people, stories, cultures through art.
Lilian manages our Kreyol and Portuguese projects.
Tagles is MAESTRA principal Graphic Designer
Norma Guillard was born in Santiago de Cuba and joined the Literacy Campaign when she was 15 years old. An AfroFeminist and leading Social Psychologist in Cuba today, she calls herself an “eternal literacy teacher”, dedicating her life to raising consciousness and activism on the issues of Race, Gender and LGBTQ equality and empowerment.
Norma is one of the protagonists in the MAESTRA documentary & has traveled and lectured widely with the film.
Griselda was only seven years old when the Literacy Campaign started in 1961. She insisted on joining and became the youngest female teacher. Her student, Carlos Perez Isla, was 58 years old. She taught him to write his name. Her story was immortalized by Eduardo Galeano in his book ESPEJOS.
Griselda is one of the protagonists in the MAESTRA documentary & has traveled and lectured widely with the film.
Kathy Sevilla was a young literacy volunteer in the Nicaraguan Literacy Crusade of 1980. She then became an archivist and film editor, working for years at INCINE. She edited numerous Nicaraguan films, especially working with women directors. She founded the Editorial de la Mujer, and Nicaragua's Iberoamerican Festival of Film.
Alejandro is a Managua-based DP whose work encompasses documentary and fiction. After working and studying in Los Angeles, he returned to Nicaragua to contribute to Central American cinema.
Checho is the son of two Nicaraguan Literacy Brigade teachers. He studied sound recording & design at EICTV (the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television) in San Antonio de Los Baños, Cuba. When he is not making films, Checho listens to heavy metal and plays the drums.
Checho is CRUZADA Sound Recordist