Sarah Perry graduated in 2014 with a degree in anthropology and a minor in Spanish. She worked in the non-profit sector in Asheville for a year after graduation. In 2015, she moved to Colombia to work with Heart for Change, Volunteers Colombia, and The Ministry of Education. These organizations joined together in an effort to make Colombia bilingual. This is an exciting time in Colombian history, as the government is beginning to invest more money in the public education, leveling the playing field for all Colombian children. Sarah had been working in a public school in the city of Medellin teaching English to 9th graders and engaging in cultural projects in the community.
She is now currently the executive producer and researcher for a documentary about historic memory in the frame of the ongoing peace agreement between the FARC-EP guerrillas and the Colombian government. She is assisting with the grant writing and helping with the development of ideas for the documentary, which will not be journalistic in nature but rather a compilation of memories, thoughts and experiences from both victims and perpetrators of the conflict. The purpose of the project is not to tell one story, but many intertwined stories in order to investigate how memory affects the way we document history. The film seeks to raise questions such as: What exactly is gained or lost by remembering? How can a society confront the difficult legacies of their recent past? Can one truly 'forgive and forget'? Whose story is it to tell? Is there one "Truth" or many truths?
Much of the work I am doing now draws upon my studies at Appalachian State. Specifically, the course "Engaging Anthropology" which helped me develop a framework in order to take anthropology beyond university. While anthropology in the United States is largely based in academia, in Colombia it's the opposite; most job opportunities are found in governmental positions or with NGOs. This can problematic since much of this type of work is situated in praxis rather than theory, and this can compromise the way we think about traditional anthropology. However, "Engaging Anthropology" prepared me to think about the opportunities that exist at this intersection, and how this might strengthen the objective of the discipline as anthropology grows and evolves. -- Sarah Perry
Posted February 8, 2016 - 3:18pm