At TCP, we love to give slide shows about the stories we document! And teachers and students in schools across the country love it when we bring our presentations into their classrooms. Students meet the documentarian who did the field work, who has experienced the culture, who can tell first-hand stories that are funny and moving and surprising, and can encourage and answer questions. Learning becomes exciting!
Many schools these days have no budget to support extra programming, so TCP sends speakers into schools that would otherwise never be able to afford it, giving students a valuable educational experience that's becoming increasingly rare.
While we focus on presenting at schools, we're also happy to speak at libraries and other venues where we can bring our work to the public. At every presentation, audiences have an opportunity to engage personally with the writer, photographer, or filmmaker who created the project and to ask them questions about it. It's a rewarding experience for all!
Here's what some hosts have had to say about the presentations:
Van Gujjar Migration:
“Mr. Benanav's presentation centers around the truly extraordinary images he captured during his time in Northern India. His photographs capture the life and character of a people whose way of life may be on the verge of disappearing from the face of the planet. Mr. Benanav's stories create a compelling narrative to complement his images, and allow students to connect in a meaningful way to the plight of a people who live in a place most of them will never see. By the end of the assembly, our students not only had a sense of a way of life so very different than their own, but they also cared about the fate of the people who they had "met" through Mr. Benanav, and they continue to ask questions about how they can find out more about what is happening to them. As an aside, the assembly fit in perfectly with the diversity workshops that we conduct over the course of the school year. I would recommend Mr. Benanav's assembly without reservation; it was a fabulous experience for our students.” Kathy Dunn, Associate Director of the Middle School, Kingswood-Oxford School, West Hartford, CT
“Michael Benanav's slide lecture on the Van Gujjar migration was a wonderful up-close learning experience for the adults and students alike. His stories and stunning photos took us from the lowlands up into the Himalaya as the Van Gujjar sought seasonal pastoral lands for their water buffalo. We were all riveted by the greater implications of the conservation movement on nomadic peoples of India and even more so by the intimate story of the Van Gujjars with whom Mr. Benanav lived and their struggle to gain access to traditional migratory routes. Mr. Benanav's talk was serious and informative, but also riveting for the inherent drama of the fate of these people whose story is so compelling. My students are High School Freshmen who are studying Indian history. They universally loved the presentation and one was so inspired that she is pursuing the greater question of nomadic rights in India as her semester research project. Mr. Benanav is a talented speaker and an artful photographer. I recommend his work and am looking forward to the possibility of having him back for future classes.” Carolyn McNulty, Chair, History Department, San Francisco University High School
“Michael’s talk and photos were perfectly targeted for the three presentations he gave to each grade (6/7/8). He is an engaging speaker, that the kids viewed as a "real life Indiana Jones". His photos were an amazing clarity and quality that demonstrated a common humanity in us all. Throughout the year I have had students continually bring up elements of his talk, the self-reliance of these people, the tight community demonstrated, the empathy and caring to their animals, all touched my students. I strongly recommend having Mr. Benanav speak at your school.” Joshua Satlof, Social Studies Team Leader, King Philip Middle School, W. Htfd, CT.
"Michael’s presentation was close to flawless.” Alan Charne, science and social studies teacher, San Andreas H.S., Larkspur, Ca
Turkey's Munzur Valley
Michael Benanav presented "Turkey's Munzur Valley" at the Embudo Valley Library on February 28. His presentation was fabulous: beautiful pictures, very well researched, funny, and emotionally moving. Certain parts of the slideshow and narrative actually brought tears to my eyes in his thoughtful and heartfelt representation of the Alevi people, their livelihood, and their homeland. - Felicity Fonseca, Executive Director, Embudo Valley Library, Dixon, NM
Saharan Camel Caravans
"Michael gave his slide show to my high school students, and they were captivated. Several said it was the best assembly of their high school careers!" - Karyn Silverman, librarian, The Little Red School House, New York City; Chairperson BBYA committee
"Michael's slide show and description of the physical features of the land as well as the culture and history of the Saharan people he traveled with held our students' attention better than any other assembly in years. His use of humor, facts, and interesting events that occurred during the difficult voyage by the 'ship of the desert' helped our students grasp the conditions of living or traveling in that part of Africa. Our students peppered him with questions following the slide show. It was a pleasure to witness so many of our students taking a keen interest in people, places, and events that are so removed from their daily life and their familiar surroundings. Michael is clearly at ease and skilled at holding the attention of a large group of people (students and staff), while delivering information on topics as varied as geography, cultural issues (marriage, food and water, clothing, music, etc) and the history/economics of salt, gold and more in this amazing corner of our planet. I feel he helped many of them by inspiring them to step outside their comfort zone and to look at the world as a place of wonder, warm hearted people of many different cultures, and amazing natural beauty that they too may experience someday." Alan Charne, science and social studies teacher, San Andreas H.S., Larkspur, Ca
"Of the 300 books I read last year, MEN OF SALT was in the top 10! The slide show is fabulous. Though booked as an adult program, it's perfect for teens as well. The audience was enthralled. I highly recommend this program!" - Ed Spicer, ALA/BBYA committee member
"Michael Benanav is just as excellent a speaker as he is a writer. In the summer 2006 he came to Makor in New York City to talk about his recently published book, Men of Salt. He had meticulously prepared a slide show that detailed his journey into the salt mines of the Sahara. We had a full house, and the audience was riveted by the stunning pictures and Michael's understated presentation (delivered without notes) of his amazing adventure. The comparisons with Indiana Jones are inevitable, and while Michael is far too modest and humble to draw them out, his nose for discovery and a good yarn are as sharp as the creators of that series. Don't miss him!" - Elliott Rabin, Director of Education, Makor/92nd Street Y
"Prepare yourself for an adventurous journey that not only tugs at your heartstrings but also uplifts your soul. Michael Benanav's presentation, based on his incredible book, will transport your audience onto the back of a camel and across the harsh Sahara. By combining stunning photos, stories, and readings from the book, Michael will take your readers to a place many would not dare visit. I was so mesmerized, I felt like I had sand in my shoes!" -Kevin King, Lead Librarian, Oshtemo Branch, Kalamazoo Public Library