This post was originally published on InsightShare’s blog. For more on their participatory video work see insightshare.org, or read my reactions to their participatory video training back in 2013 here.
Laptops banned. No notebooks allowed. For those of us who like to write everything down, the instructions for the latest InsightShare course on Participatory Video for Most Significant Change were a bit daunting. How would I remember it all?
Fortunately, visualisation (lots of drawing, arranging of keywords and mind maps) and experiential learning (going through the process ourselves as participants) helps it stick. Here’s what I learned:
1. “Most Significant Change” sounds a bit fluffy, but it’s actually a recognised evaluation technique.
Watching the ‘Amplify Dandora‘ video, below – they used some of my footage from the slum in Eastern Nairobi – brings back memories of a great group of people. The Amplify team are hoping to do more of the video work I started on a very small scale last November (more on that project here) – and improve education opportunities for young people in Dandora.
I’d had my doubts: I have no qualifications in youth work, nor do I have years of filmmaking/photography experience. “’If you can’t – teach’… eh??” remarked some guy I met in London, the week before leaving – and I wondered if he was right. Maybe I was being totally irresponsible.
But – with a first full ‘participatory photo/video’ project behind me, with young people in Kazo, Uganda – I’m glad I stuck with my instincts. Of course, the doubts didn’t disappear (for a blow-by-blow account, see here) – but I know a few people learned something. As for me, here’s what I learned. Continue reading “Making workshops work: Film & photo in Kazo”→
This month I’m in Kazo, just outside Kampala (Uganda), working with a community organisation called UYWEFA – who I found via idealist.org, a great resource for non-profit opportunities all over the world.
I’m doing film-making and photography projects with young people, schoolkids, and HIV positive women – not to mention a few other unexpected tasks like filming the local football tournament. More details, pictures and videos coming soon – in the meantime, I’m blogging from over here.
Which image of Africa would you rather see: skeletal, abandoned child, or healthy-looking working family?
Most people would say the latter; certainly most of those in the aid sector – some of whom were discussing this at the recent PICS festival – now consider the starving child images not only unethical, but also unhelpful. They’re “not effective”, is the general view.
But effective for what? Fundraising appeals today still deploy the same imagery, and the same language, as they did in the 1980s, when “poverty porn” made it to the mainstream with the Ethiopian famine hitting our headlines. That’s not only an indication that we’re seeing the same problems as we did three decades ago; it means we’re also stubbornly looking at them in the same way.
I’ve just emerged into the real world after a week immersed in Participatory Video with InsightShare. When they say participatory, they really mean it: there’s no dozing off, not much sitting still, and not even any note-taking.
The energy never seemed to drop, though – or at least, when it did, ideas kept bubbling up, questions kept churning. Credit to the organisers for that, but also to the group: a mixed bag of thinkers and doers who’d come from as far as Myanmar and Canada, with backgrounds from peacekeeping to academia to youth work.
So what’s participatory video, exactly? There’s more than one definition, but in the Insightshare model, the “video” part is almost secondary, a mere tool to gather and engage a group of people (say, a community that’s divided in some way; that feels they have no voice or influence; or who find it difficult to express something). Continue reading “Brilliance in a can of worms”→