ARETE – the power of story-telling to increase social awareness

by Milena Rampoldi and Denise Nanni, ProMosaik. In this
interview we would like to introduce the importance of story telling, a brand-new
subject for ProMosaik. ARETE tells
stories that make a difference. We talked to Kate Holt to find out what ARETE
is about. Would like to thank Kate for her impulses and wonderful photos.
How was founded Arete and
with what aims?
Arete was formed in 2012 by
photojournalist Kate Holt, who has over twenty years experience working for the
international media and global humanitarian organisations. Kate has been both a
journalist and photographer, covering many wars, humanitarian and natural
disasters: from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Somalia, to drought in the
horn of Africa and the earthquake in Haiti. Arete works throughout Africa,
Afghanistan and the Middle East and has recently taken on projects in South
America. Kate established Arete with the aim of using her extensive knowledge
of the media and NGO industry to help organisations tell their stories better.

What are the reason that
brought you to establish Arete?
Arete (Ancient Greek: ρετή), means excellence of any kind. In its earliest appearance in
Greek, this notion of excellence was ultimately bound up with the act of living
up to one’s full potential. It means “being the best you can be.” Through
excellence in production and training, Arete helps its clients to tell stories
that make a difference by inspiring positive social awareness.
Kate has always been
committed to using local talent where possible, and through Arete has provided many locally based photographers and videographers with the
opportunity to work for international clients.  Kate also believes
passionately that anyone can be trained to take a photo or tell their story. A
key pillar of Arete’s work is providing workshops –  for both children and
adults – that empower them to tell their own stories, or those of people they
work with, better.

How important is the way in
which a story is told? What are the benefits of an effective story-telling?
Arete believes in the power
of good story telling to promote positive social awareness. When stories are
told well they are memorable – people are able to digest key messages better,
and retain information long afterwards. People always remember a strong
photograph, and the strength of the visual imagery in everything we produce is
one of our trademarks.
Our services are based on
extensive knowledge of the media industry. We help a diverse range of
organisations to build customised communication strategies and cultivate
effective story telling – both visually and through the written word. We also
design bespoke training courses to help companies and organisations tell their
own stories more effectively.

The Arete team are committed
media and communication experts, all with considerable experience of working in
challenging and hostile environments, as well as high profile corporate
situations. We understand the importance, in these environments in particular,
of organisations and businesses must get their messaging right to ensure the
local population, as well as a wider audience, are supportive of programs. As
people become increasingly skeptical of aid programmes and their motives this
type of positive story telling is become increasingly important.