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Media Memo: Students creating multimedia documentary in Peru during winter break

January 18, 2012

TO:                 News/Assignment Editors and Directors

FROM:           Judy Berthiaume

SUBJECT:    Students creating multimedia documentary in Peru during winter break

Peru 1
UW-Eau Claire communications and journalism students Brita Dallmann, Megan Roltgen and Lacey Weninger are spending their winter break in Peru working on a multimedia documentary focusing on a cultural exchange among indigenous textile weavers in the mountains of Peru and their customer-benefactors from across the United States. (Photo by Sharon S. Kessler)
Three journalism and Spanish students and a journalism faculty member are in Peru as part of a Winterim immersion project.

Dr. Mike Dorsher, associate professor of journalism, is overseeing the multimedia journalism and Spanish immersion project, titled "Peru to Wisconsin: Weaving the Web."

During their time in Peru, the students are gathering material for a multimedia documentary website focusing on a cultural exchange among indigenous textile weavers in the mountains of Peru and their customer-benefactors from across the United States. The UW-Eau Claire student team is spending three weeks following an ArtAndes tour together with the Peruvian weavers who design and hand craft the rugs and wall hangings that are sold in western Wisconsin and Minnesota. The U.S. sales help move many of the Peruvian weavers out of impoverished and unsanitary conditions.

Megan Roltgen holds a 1-day-old alpaca while in Peru.
Megan Roltgen holds a 1-day-old alpaca while in Peru as part of a UW-Eau Claire Winterim immersion project. Roltgen is one of three communication and journalism students working on a multimedia project involving indigenous textile weavers in the mountains of Peru. (Photo by Mike Dorsher)
To make the immersion experience possible, Dorsher has worked with Melanie Ebertz, owner of ArtAndes, a business based in the St. Croix River valley. For decades Ebertz has worked with Peruvian weavers and has led trips to Peru so her clients can meet the weavers who create their rugs and wall hangings. As a result of the trips, ArtAndes supporters formed a nonprofit organization that has started schools and nutrition programs in the Peruvian highlands for indigenous people whose communities were decimated by terrorist groups in the 1980s and 90s.

The students will use their Spanish language skills to communicate with Peruvians and use their English speaking and writing skills to communicate online with U.S. audiences.

Students participating in the Peru immersion experience are Lacey Weninger, Slinger; Brita Dallmann, Wauwatosa; and Megan Roltgen, Mt. Calvary.

Megan Roltgen is one of three UW-Eau Claire students participating in a Winterim immersion project, titled
Megan Roltgen is one of three UW-Eau Claire students participating in a Winterim immersion project, titled "Peru to Wisconsin: Weaving the Web." (Photo by Sharon S. Kessler)
he UW-Eau Claire team will return to Eau Claire Jan. 23. The students are blogging about their immersion experience. You can find the blog at http://uwecperu.wordpress.com/.

Dr. Mike Dorsher is available to talk with the media about the immersion experience via email or Skype. You can reach him at mdorsher@uwec.edu.

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