Youth media projects matter because they give young people “a voice”. Funders, nonprofits and facilitators emphasise this as their goal; participants celebrate it. And standard-setters expect it: a 2006 guide by the Open Society Institute, a significant early philanthropic backer of youth media in the US, says a key feature is that it “conveys the authentic views and voices of young people”.
But whose view is being conveyed? One academic study looked at a project where young participants could explore any issue of importance to them. A surprisingly large number chose gang culture, even though few were directly affected by this issue. Facilitators, whose role includes helping participants to challenge stereotypical, negative media representations of youth, were in a difficult position. Do they stop them from making films about a certain topic if it appears they’ve chosen it out of a sense of obligation or a need to conform to expectations? Or do they respect this as their authentic voice? Youth voice, it turns out, can be “a double-edged sword”.
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.
Seven ways to do better live reporting from events
We’re all using social media, so there’s an assumption that anyone can also live tweet from an event. But I don’t think that’s the case, or at least, not without practice. Often conference updates feel a bit bland (so what?), or irrelevant to those who aren’t in the room, or they simply miss out a lot of opportunities.
So I attended the Nonprofit Tech for Good webinar last week on live online reporting, and learned it takes a fair bit of thought to create useful, accurate updates that add to the conversation in the room, and that are valuable long after the conference has finished. Below are some tips: Continue reading “Selfie stick optional”→
Before I get into the next project — and before descending too far down the inevitable path of hopelessness/doubt/boredom as illustrated by Austin Kleon — I’m trying to keep in mind the stuff I learned from the last one.
The last project turned into a 40-minute film, ‘Unladylike’, about women and girls who box. It was the first time I’d made a documentary and the first time I’d worked with my two co-filmmakers.
I’ve been doing some writing for the European Commission’s EURES website, which aims to encourage jobseekers to take up opportunities in other countries. The blog posts are for the (somewhat oddly-named) Drop’pin blog, which targets 16-30 year-olds in EU and neighbouring countries.
A fairly broad audience then – and, being based in the UK, the challenge is to tackle a topic in a way that’s useful not only to readers in this country.
Experience of living abroad makes you aware of things that are country-specific, though (e.g. appreciating that the charity sector isn’t necessarily as developed elsewhere). Working in international teams is perhaps the best training for writing in plain English – better leave out those dazzling turns of phrase or idioms. And language skills help too, of course – for example, getting speedy responses from a source in Berlin for a piece on accessing the creative industries.
The bizarre and wonderful Wakaliwood is making ripples around the world.
The morning we visited the “studio” of Uganda’s homegrown action movie industry, the team was expecting a group of French and German reporters. The story has been picked up by the BBC, VICE magazine, Al Jazeera, and national Irish television. The films have a cult following, with fans in Russia, Guatemala, China. In the rehearsal space – which doubles up as a bedroom for some of the actors and storage space for props and equipment – there’s a wall with foreign names scribbled on it.
The series on youth opportunities I produced last year with Romanian TV journalist, Lorelei Mihala, is being published in instalments on Cafe Babel (appropriately, a magazine published in multiple languages and aimed at young Europeans).
We were funded by the Council of Europe, as part of a programme aimed at getting more diversity into the media – hence our focus on young migrants and refugees in both cities, London and Bucharest.
It’s almost two years ago to the day that I sat in a living room in North London with two people I’d met a week previously and agreed to make a documentary together about something I knew nothing about.
Unladylike, the story of women’s boxing in the UK, is still in progress. Part of me is horrified that it’s taken so long; I probably wouldn’t have signed up to this if I’d known what a beast it would become. Part of me, though, is secretly proud that we’ve stuck at it despite (between the three of us) one birth, one bereavement, several career changes, multiple moving-of-houses, one major computer crash, numerous months in other countries/continents, full-time jobs – and a budget of roughly zero. Still many, many more weekend editing sessions to go till it’s done – here’s a preview in the meantime.
Romanian TV journalist Lorelei Mihala and I worked together last year for two weeks in two cities, funded by the Council of Europe’s Mediane project. Here’s what came out of it (scroll down for more photos and video).
One in five young people – around 5.5 million citizens – in the EU are unable to find work; many more do jobs for which they are overqualified. Youth unemployment regularly hits the headlines across Europe – but what are the stories behind the statistics? A report from Bucharest and London
My exchange partner Lorelei and I are finally finishing up our joint project, part of the Council of Europe’s work to encourage more diversity in the media. Our full piece is coming soon; in the meantime, here’s a little preview – thanks to Iqraa (Somali) in London and Kiki (from Nigeria) in Bucharest – of what we talked about.