Mr. Rafique Siddiqui is an Associate Professor of Fashion Design and Director of Planning and Development at Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology (SMUCT). Star Showbiz caught up with him to have a conversation on the recent event titled “Celebrating Life: Film Screening and Photo Exhibition” hosted by SMUCT last week.
1. SMUCT has been involved with Celebrating Life for quite some time now. How is the response from the students?
We have been jointly collaborating with Celebrating Life for the last three years. We have departments which render academic studies in films, photography and graphic design. From that direct connection and being a liberal arts institute, we believe that this initiative can help our students a lot. In fact, we collaborated with the program in order to inspire our young photographers who are in academic learning of photography. I find the students of SMUCT to be very excited about the program and their response is positive.
2. What could be done to include more students to the program?
I think it is important that we ensure students participation as much as possible. Campaign to spread the message of this program could help attract more students. I think there should be more events in the month of June every year, just before the deadline of the submissions. Besides, academic exams, classes and other related works always make it challenging for the students to participate in such programs. However, we appreciate and inspire student's participation in such kind of programs.
3. Did you find any technical issues in organizing the program?
I would say there are no technical issues. But, we just needed some time to reach the students. However, it could be better if the program was done in a wider scale. On the other hand, it could be more effective if there were specific section for particular topic like one could speak on the camera lens, another could speak on films and filmography and so on, turning part of the show into a learning event. Besides, providing the students with assignments with a feedback process could make it more inclusive. Full-fledged workshops can be organized to help the students become more aware about technical aspects and raise their interest.
4. What suggestions would you make to Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank in making the programs more successful in the future?
I am quite happy with how the organizers have approached this entire initiative. I would suggest them to employ much time and effort in future events so that we can spread the message of such a program to the students. I think the initiative can be more fruitful it the organizers carry out events at Shilpakala Academy at Dhaka and Chittagong. This can attract more people to the program. We need a platform where we can practice photography and talk about other forms of photography and films. If we provide both the students and teachers with a platform, it could be even larger.
5. How do you see the prospect of this initiative?
This sort of initiative is obviously good for young learners. I think this can open newer possibilities for them. I hope the Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank always continues to organize Celebrating Life in the future.
About Celebrating Life
"Celebrating Life" is a competition that invites films, photographs and lyrics about various aspects of life in Bangladesh. Organized jointly by The Daily Star and Standard Chartered Bank, this initiative attempts to provide participants with a massive platform for creative expression. Since 2008, this contest has been attracting many participants from different parts of the country. This year, the theme is 'Living in Harmony'. Cash prizes worth Tk. 10 lac, along with crests, certificates and 'Honorable Mentions' will be awarded to winners in their particular fields in November this year. This initiative also aims at including the whole nation through a week-long campaign in the rural areas of Bangladesh by spreading the winning entries far and wide. For more information about Celebrating Life, please visit www.celebratinglifebd.com.