Creating participatory video with communities

Prof. Paul Cooke is Centenary Chair at the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures at University of Leeds, and Principal Investigator of Changing The Story. In this short blog, he outlines how his previous work in using participatory video with young people has led to the development of the Changing the Story project, sharing examples of his work and insights into some of Changing The Story’s sister projects in Nepal and Kenya.

Participatory Video at University of Leeds

Show Reel Leeds Project video: https://vimeo.com/217571746

Over the last few years, the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures has been working with colleagues from across the University of Leeds on a series of participatory video projects. These began as Arts and Humanities Research Council ‘Follow-on-funding’ projects, designed to help maximise the impact of our work exploring the legacy of Germany’s totalitarian history for Europe today:

Bautzen Doc HD video: https://youtu.be/Uc6TL2F67Z8

They also considered the global impact of the Holocaust and the ways in which it can be used to inform human rights education:

Germany’s Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context video: https://vimeo.com/124141383

How humanities research is contributing to development through the Global Challenges Research Fund

More recently our work has led to a series of GCRF projects. Much of this has fed directly into the thinking of the Changing the Story project, where we have focussed on the power of participatory video specifically, as well as participatory arts more generally, as tools to support often vulnerable young people to advocate for change in their lives. Central to this has been our work with the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation and with the NGOs the Bishop Simeon Trust and Themba Interactive, who support vulnerable young people in Townships around Ekurhuleni in South Africa:

#ChangingTheStory video: https://vimeo.com/187562219

This aspect of our work continues to grow, most recently leading to our involvement in a training project for teachers across Kenya, as the country seeks to respond to the challenge of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to put greater emphasis on ‘creativity’ in the education of young people. This work will be the subject of a future blog.

Storytelling and Filmmaking with Kenyan Teachers video: https://vimeo.com/262213759

Combatting health issues through participatory video in Nepal


Members of HERD International and public health professional Dr. Caroline Tait try out the filmmaking audio equipment for the first time.

Over the last few months we’ve also begun an exciting new project that has taken our work in a very different direction. CARAN (Community solutions to Antibiotic Resistance using Arts in Nepal) is a partnership between the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures, University of Leeds’ Nuffield Centre, Nepal’s HERD Internationaland the Nepalese Ministry of Health. Its aim is to use participatory arts to raise awareness at community level of the consequences of antibiotic misuse and the resistance (ABR) this is generating – a major public health issue for the country. In doing so, our project also aims to support communities to explain to policy makers what they understand to be the drivers and barriers to addressing antibiotic resistance locally. We’re working with two communities on this project:  an urban community living in a slum in Kathmandu and a rural, farming community living in the outskirts of the city.

We are still in the development stage of this project and have just returned from a fascinating week working with our Nepalese partners. This involved visiting the rural community we will be working with and also beginning the process of developing the project manual we will be using to deliver a series of workshops, during which we will train members of the community both to become documentary filmmakers and facilitators of community discussions about antibiotic misuse, using the World Health Organisation guidelines and the Nepali antibiotic resistance strategy as a creative stimulus for their films.

CARAN video: https://vimeo.com/259989980

So far CARAN has been a wonderful example of how interdisciplinary can allow people both to play to their disciplinary strengths and yet develop an innovative approach to an established research problem. The disciplinary expectations of public health are very different to those of participatory video. All participants have engaged in a detailed process of negotiation, where every member of the team has had to continually re-evaluate what they consider to be the core purpose of the project. Initially, I thought that this was going to be very similar to work I’d undertaken previously. The community would define how they wanted to engage with the topic and this would change with each group we worked with. There would be little need for a detailed ‘manual’ and the project would develop iteratively in response to the creative direction the groups wished to go in. This, I think it’s fair to say, made our colleagues in public health somewhat nervous. They were particularly concerned that an entirely community-led filmmaking process could lead to the spread of misinformation about ABR.  They also initially saw the project primarily as about data-collection on attitudes to ABR, rather than about how film can generate advocacy.

Through detailed discussion, where everyone involved was very keen both to see the collaboration work, and also to ensure that their core disciplinary values were maintained, we developed a working method that we feel will genuinely bring something new to the discussion about the role of participatory arts within public health. Through the use of film, we hope that the project will genuinely provide new research insights, foregrounding the specific cultural barriers to antibiotic misuse within specific communities that are not generally engaged in policy development. Our project will provide a way of engaging communities on their own terms, while also ensuring that the project is rooted in an understanding of the facts about ABR. This, in turn, will allow us to develop a case study in the specific value of participatory video in public health campaigns. At the same time, we will also investigate how social science methodologies can work together with arts practice to engage policy makers. In so doing, it will also discuss the thorny issue of ‘scalability’, exploring the value of ‘micro’ knowledge in a world of ‘big data’. Key to our thinking in this project has been a reflection on the nature of ‘equitable partnerships’ within a participatory project, where all members of the team, from public health specialist to filmmaker to community participant understand why they want to participate in the project, what they bring to the table in terms of expertise and what they hope to gain from it. Have a look at our first film, to get more of a flavour of what we hope to achieve.

CARAN Nepali video: https://vimeo.com/259995510

To find out more about the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures and for more information about Changing The Story’s sister projects taking place across the world, contact us.

Article Details
Author:

Professor Paul Cooke,
Centenary Chair at the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures at University of Leeds, and Principal Investigator of Changing The Story. ,

Date Published:

October 8th, 2018

Tags:

, , , ,

Would you like to contribute to our Real Impact blog? Find out how.

Recent News & Blogs

- Discover impact news from across the globe

Stay In School campaign: Operationalising the extra medical measures to address the issue of fistula in Northern Nigeria

Dr. Bankole Allibay

Fistula and Extra-Medical Solution The orthodox response to gender-based sicknesses is scientific medical treatment. Although not incorrect, field experiences show that these treatments are often times reactive, and do not prevent a repeat incidence. Social performance practice recommends proactive social risk diagnosis and proactive risk management procedures, rather than reactive impact management. Such is the

Read Article

Emerald Publishing announces winners of the 2019 Real Impact Awards

The Real Impact Awards celebrate the commitment to impact by the research community across the globe, honour the changemakers, and bring together key stakeholders in the impact debate Emerald Publishing has announced the winners of its annual Real Impact Awards which celebrate the commitment to impact by the research community across the globe. Now in

Read Article

Raising the bar on improving the public’s health at Healthy City Design International Congress 2019

Michael Chang - Health, Open Research

This year the theme of the annual Healthy City Design International Congress, ‘Designing for utopia or dystopia? People and planetary health at a crossroads’, reflects a tipping point in which people’s health and wellbeing are becoming a central consideration in healthy city design and place-making.  The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a healthy city as

Read Article

We use cookies to enhance your online experience. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to accept them in accordance with our cookie policy or you can .

Emerald Logo

Privacy and information

You can find further information about our privacy policy here.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

Strictly Necessary Cookies should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings and ensure that the website works correctly, for example logging into the website.

If you disable these cookies, we will not be able to save your preferences and you may not be able to log in to the website. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.

You can find further information about our cookie policy here.

Third Party Cookies

This website uses Google Analytics to collect anonymous information such as the number of visitors to the site, and the most popular pages.

Keeping this cookie enabled helps us to improve our website.

You can find further information about our cookie policy here.

Privacy and information

You can find further information about our privacy policy here.

To enjoy the full experience of our website please .