Hear our stories! What happens when communities share their stories through film

| No responses | Theme: Blog, Research

[This process] has made me think about the importance of storytelling through video and the powerful impact you can make in a few minutes” Member of ParaPride

Over the past two months, four London charities have experienced the process of Participatory Video (PV) at the Young Foundation. Members of ParaPride and the Black Heroes Foundation made their way to the three workshops in late August to mid-September, while individuals from Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers (CARAS) and Student Action for Refugees (STAR) followed suit in October.

Throughout the Participatory Video process, each group worked collaboratively to identify issues central to their organisations, translated these issues into storyboards, and ultimately created a film. The aim was to create films which help raise awareness and tackle discrimination. A series of engaging games and activities allowed participants with varying levels of technical ability to build their confidence using camera equipment, as well as helped to inspire ideas for the stories and format of the films. The Participatory Video process differs from more traditional teaching and learning formats in that collaborative learning is at the core of every aspect of the training. Participants were encouraged to learn from one another and teach each other any newly acquired techniques and skills for the duration of the project.

“I felt through visual and kinaesthetic learning the mission statement was explored widely” Member of the Black Heroes Foundation

Members of the Black Heroes Foundation playing a game to familiarise themselves with the camera equipment on the first workshop day.

Participants note down some ‘technical learnings’ after reviewing their initial footage

The first day of the workshop began by introducing participants to the film equipment and talking through various themes relating to the work of their organisations. Activities allowed participants to reflect on questions that formed the starting point for more in depth discussion: What has made you proud of yourself recently? What is a judgement or misconception that people have of you? How has being a part of your organisation influenced you?  Following a morning of introductory games and activities to familiarise everyone with the equipment, participants grouped off in their respective charities in the afternoon and began to think about their films’ mission statements in greater detail.

The group learns about different types of microphones and how they are connected to the cameras.

Jamala works on the story board for STAR’s film

The second day began with participants capturing footage out and about and developing their story boards. After watching the footage they had captured, the groups reflected on the technical aspects of film making that they had learned throughout the process. When is a lapel mic best used? Which type of shot might be powerful in establishing a scene? With their story board developed and confident knowledge of how to use the equipment, the four groups were ready to take the cameras, mics and tripods away with them in order to shoot the footage needed to bring their story boards to life.

“I loved collecting the footage & finding out lots about what STAR means to people”  Member of Student Action for Refugees

The final day of the workshop focused on editing the films. To ensure that decisions were made collaboratively, each group reviewed their captured footage together and decided which shots they wanted to keep, and how these were to be cut together into the resulting film. Finally, the groups collectively planned the film screening event, where their films will be shown to a wider public audience. Together they considered who they would like to invite to this event, how they will introduce their videos and generally how they would like the film screening to play out.

“I loved collecting the footage & finding out lots about what STAR means to people” Member of Student Action for Refugees

The four films are currently undergoing a final round of edits and will be premiered on the 12th of November at the Canada Water Theatre. Our next blog will feature a recap of the films’ premier – and we’ll be sure to capture some audience reactions!

The Young Foundation will be offering additional participatory video workshops in future. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about any such opportunities.


To learn more about the organisations who participated in these workshops, please visit:

Black Heroes Foundation
Community Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Student Action for Refugees


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