The Callejeros project seeks to engage students in actions to improve road behavior, prioritizing and assessing our own perspective of the problem. A display of images was created and made available on the web to generate interaction.
The Road Safety Education Project "Callejeros" arises from concerns that a group of students raised about the risks posed by street traffic. The students, aged 15-16 years old, attend the fourth year, secondary level at Escuela Nacional Ernesto Sabato, which belongs to the National University of Central Buenos Aires.
For us, the street represents both a space of freedom and risk. In recent years, it has been difficult to sustain a sense of freedom on the street, since social and economic events that affect our country, Argentina, make relations and security guarantees more complex, particularly in public areas. In addition, clear rules on correct road behavior, shared by citizens, have not been easy to establish. This has made it difficult to ensure the priority of pedestrians and the responsible behavior of drivers of all types of vehicles. In our country, there isn’t yet a culture of road respect for those most vulnerable; what dominates is speed and the rule of law of the “strongest”. Drivers ignore signs and signals and take over road areas with contempt for other road users. As students, we frequently move around the city walking or cycling, and we are continuously exposed to such risks.
We exchanged views in the classroom on the difficulty of working from the bottom up, producing messages from the most vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists) to the “strongest” ones (the drivers) without repeating speeches that have proven insufficient. Therefore, we agreed that we would try to portray the daily reality in the most realistic way possible.
In the classroom, the debate on the images we would use was intense. We wanted every author of the photographs to reflect on those aspects of daily life that are so internalized that they are taken for granted ‒ when they shouldn’t be at all. We carried out some techniques to discuss and select the pictures that we wanted to publish and reflected on the work of the whole group. Immediately, the group realized that we wanted the community not only to access and visualize the pictures but also to have the opportunity to share their own photos of situations they witnessed. This would be a way to actively involve the community, which we are all a part of.
The images were produced by the students, allowing the school’s staff (teachers, principals, assistants) to intervene as little as possible; their role was to create the required pedagogical conditions to make the pictures available to the public. The IT department was involved, guiding the students in the creation of a blog where the pictures could be displayed: http://callejerosseguridadvial.blogspot.com.ar/
We were able to carry out the project, despite numerous interruptions to our class schedule motivated by reasons beyond our control (claims for a fair wage increase by the teachers' union which caused strikes). However, the time we estimated to conclude the project was completely insufficient due to the interruptions and we couldn’t complete all of the steps that we had planned, and so this presentation represents the work that could be developed under those conditions.
The following are actions of the project which are not concluded:
1) Within the blog, create a device that allows community members from the whole city to upload their own images. Students will assess and categorize these images.
2) Contact the local authorities showing the importance of this project with the aim of getting support to share the blog on official public channels through campaigns, graphical images and radio messages.