Tuesday, 29 September 2009

What is participatory video?

Participatory video is one of those phrases that is used frequently and really says nothing at all about the kind of projects that are run under its banner. So what’s it all about? At Living Lens we are committed to making video a tool for active learning. We work with a variety of groups, and often with people who wouldn’t normally work together - in Peterborough, a group of young refugees came together with young people from the host community, in the Gambia teenagers from East London worked with a peer group from the Gambia, and Trinidad saw teenagers from the North and South of the island come together to produce films.

While video acts as a tool to focus a groups’ energy, it is the process they experience while working together that we recognise as being more important than the technical production skills they learn in producing a video.

The duration of all our projects varies, and we always develop new group activities to meet the needs of individual groups. Our intention is to provide an active learning experience so that people can learn about an issue first hand, explore different points of view and devise creative ways of presenting these to an audience. We strive to find the right balance between process and product, ensuring the process is participatory and the finished product is not only something the participants are proud of, but also something that others are interested to watch. Having films broadcast is not a priority as we seek to liberate people’s notion of film and take it out of the box in their living rooms and into shared spaces within their communities.

In short our projects look like this:

process of collaboration to produce the video > unique video expressing the groups' views and experiences > process of collaboration to distribute the video to relevant audiences to bring about positive change

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