I attended a week long course on Participatory Video and editing run by Insight Share (www.insightshare.org) at their Lambeth hub in London.
What is participatory video?
“Participatory Video (PV) is a set of techniques to involve a group or community in shaping and creating their own film. The idea behind this is that making a video is easy and accessible, and is a great way of bringing people together to explore issues, voice concerns or simply to be creative and tell stories.
This process can be very empowering, enabling a group or community to take action to solve their own problems and also to communicate their needs and ideas to decision-makers and/or other groups and communities. As such, PV can be a highly effective tool to engage and mobilise marginalised people and to help them implement their own forms of sustainable development based on local needs.” (http://insightshare.org/pv/pv-nutshell)
The course was attended by 10 other people from a diverse range of organisations from across the world.
During the first half of week we learned games and exercises that can be used to teach participants how to use the camera and equipment. This was to prepare us for our community placements that would take place on the Wednesday. There were three community groups who kindly offered to take part in our training course and provide us with experience of facilitating a PV workshop.
Cooltan Arts (www.cooltanarts.org.uk)
Roots and Shoots (www.rootsandshoots.org.uk)
Nueva Generacion (http://www.nuevageneracion-uk.org).
My placement was with Cooltan Arts, a community group that use creativity as a tool for promoting mental well-being, run by and for those with mental distress.
I have to say that although I was prepared for this being a challenging day, it really wasn’t! The group of participants picked up the camera and how to use it easily and had a strong idea of what they wanted to make their film about. So as a facilitator all that was needed was to stand back and let the participants make their film. I’d like to thank the Cooltan Arts group for giving me such a smooth and problem free first attempt at facilitating a participatory video workshop!
After the placements we then had to go back and edit the film, making sure that before we left the placements we had a good idea of what they wanted included in the film and what they wanted to be left out.
I’ve decided that editing was my least favourite part of the course! I found it to be quite frustrating but this was probably due to my inexperience of the software. I was really impressed by how all of the films turned out in the end though.
In the future I hope to use participatory video methods in the continuing work we are doing in Parkwood but also in future projects that we may undertake. It is a valuable tool not only for capturing the story from the residents point of view but the methods and exercises used as part of the PV process can help to build cohesion between groups of people and communities.
I had a really great week and would recommend this course to everyone! Particularly anyone who works with people and wants to understand things from their point of view.