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Goodbye Fahad: An Exit Interview With Our Outgoing Communications Intern

This month, we say goodbye to our communications intern Fahad Aldaajani. Fahad joined us from the University of Washington’s CommLead program, where he earned a Master of Communications in Digital Media. Hailing from Saudi Arabia, Fahad had never experienced firsthand a community process. He attended his first community meeting while at Pomegranate Center. Fahad’s eye for detail and knack for visual storytelling has resulted in numerous collaborations over the last six months, including our Woods at Golden Given project video, Pomegranate Method training promo, and our newly launched Image of the Future podcast. We say goodbye with sadness over the departure of such a talented filmmaker and dedicated community member, but with excitement over all the amazing work we know we’ll see from him in the future.

You recently finished the CommLead program at the University of Washington–congratulations! What’s next for you?
Thank you for interviewing me again and for supporting me along the way. You all made it easier and richer experience for me. I’m currently waiting for my wife to finish her masters in Art Leadership at Seattle University. I’m having a year to reflect on what I’ve learned and put it into practice. One of the options is to pursue my Ph.D. and stay at UW, especially since I got introduced to the information school and their Ph.D. program where they merged data, design, and storytelling in a cutting edge school. The second option is to do the OPT where international students are allowed to work for up to three years with their student’s visa. UW and the CommLead are connecting me to exciting job opportunities, and I’m applying for some of these openings.

You had the chance to sit in on two of our Pomegranate Method trainings. What did you learn? Is there anything from the training that you will apply to your own work?
I was lucky to attend the training at the beginning of my internship and again at the end. I still have my notes from the first training where I wrote a couple of techniques that I learned and used both in my personal life and in my workplace. I learned how change takes time and how we use time wisely, so everyone gets involved, absorbs the vision, and puts in their voice to reach a mature project. From the convening group meeting where we understand the community to the community meeting where we work with them, so they shape their projects. Early success, writing ideas, and voting, all these techniques are used every day in our houses and our offices. Personally, as a storyteller, I started to apply these techniques by giving the people I’m filming the chance to tell the story using their voices and how they want their stories to be told. Early success for me can be a rough cut that I share with the people; it brings me motivation, feedback, and sometimes unexpected ideas.

Do you have any favorite memories from the projects you worked on while at Pomegranate?
What I recall first is when I had to do the podcast. Audio engineering was a field that I never touched. I tried many devices, watched lots of YouTube videos, and tested the gears in many rooms at the Impact Hub without success. The podcast training I had at Cloud Studios, using Audition software, the support from the Pomegranate family helped me produce a professional podcast–and now we are working on episode eight.

Has your opinion about how communities can work together changed since you started working with Pomegranate Center?
Before my experience with Pomegranate, I used to film projects at the end where people celebrate the final product. I used to get a couple of shots while they put final touches and I’d interview some of them. They are telling how they worked together and everything, but listening to them wasn’t fulfilling like watching the community gathering at the first day to talk about ideas and proposals with almost no idea where the project is going. With Pomegranate, I got the chance to film two projects from day one. I saw how communities initiate their communications to the day where all the efforts merge into one vision.