Spectacle’s new Participatory Video Workshops

Spectacle has a long history of establishing and supporting participatory community media workshops and a large number of our productions have adopted participatory video (PV) techniques and ethos, resulting in an excellent track record of high quality, award-winning TV documentaries, short films and powerful campaigning videos. We are happy to inform everyone interested in applying a participatory media approach into their community based projects, that it is now possible to share Spectacle’s experience taking part in our Participatory Video Workshop (PVW).
Spectacle has made extensive use of Participatory Video as a successful strategy to involve communities in production processes, allowing people to produce knowledge about themselves rather than being represented – and often misrepresented – by outsiders.

Recently one of the films that Spectacle produced through participatory techniques has been re-screened on the Pepys Estate: “Poverty and the Media: the tower”. The film shows the way in which local residents have felt misrepresented by the BBC ’s program The Tower: A Tale of Two Cities. The BBC’s program intended to document the transformation of the Lewisham council estate into a chic development and the alleged clash between rich newcomers and poor long term residents. Spectacle, was commissioned by the Rowntree Foundation to develop a participatory video project in the Pepys and other estates in the area: “Poverty and participation in the Media“. At the time the BBC project begun, Spectacle was already organizing video workshops that focused specifically on the way mainstream media (mis)represent poverty. In our film Pepys residents have filmed each other while commenting on the effects the BBC’s program had on their lives. Spectacle’s “Poverty and the media: the Tower” illustrates the advantages of a participatory approach, highlighting the local dynamics in a way that is factually accurate and respectful of people’s feelings, intentions and views on the world they experience.

Following the very positive feedbacks from residents and in order to meet the growing demand from community based researchers to be trained to lead participatory projects, we are happy to inform you that we are now offering a Participatory Video Workshop (PVW). Our PVW is addressed to social workers, NGOs’ and charity organization’s staff that are engaged in community development and empowerment, artists and, in general, anyone who wants to integrate participatory methods in their own projects. Based on our long experience, the PVW will provide you with practical and transferrable knowledge on video techniques, and train you on how to engage your stakeholders in participatory productions.

The PVW is designed as 3 day immersive experience that will allow you to use participatory methods in documentation, evaluation and research. If you and your staff are particularly interested in specific topics, we are happy to bring our workshop to you and tailor it to your specific needs.

Please, find here our workshop description or get in touch for further information.

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Screening of Poverty and The Media: The Tower

Trailer for Poverty and The Media: The Tower

On the 16th of July our film will be screened at the Pepy’s estate 50th anniversary festival in Deptford (SE8), which is running from 2-10pm.

We worked on this film with the residents of the Pepy’s estate as part of our poverty and the media project. Our film shows the effects the BBC’s documentary series ‘The Tower: A Tale Of Two Cities’ had on the residents of the Pepy’s estate and their views on how their community was portrayed. At the time of release The Tower received mixed reviews, it won awards but also sparked controversy as some people claim it was based on stereotypes of people who live on council estates.

Our full film will be available shortly on vimeo on demand and we encourage you to come and watch it at the Pepy’s festival on Saturday at 9pm where it will be screened. For more information on the festival and up to date information of the screening times you can find out on our social media.

Click Poverty and the Media for more blogs

Click here to get the DVD

Or visit our Poverty and the Media project pages for more information and videos.

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Sheffield DocuFest debates the ethics of Poverty on TV

Poverty in the Media

Can documentaries about people living in poverty in the UK inform debate without resorting to voyeurism?

This relevant topic will be hotly debated on Friday at Sheffield’s documentary festival.

Among those taking part is Mark Saunders, independent documentary filmmaker and founder of Spectacle, a campaigning media production company and ever expanding web presence. Spectacle produced the Poverty and Participation in the Media Project.  Mark will be showing clips discussing the BBC’s documentary The Tower and Channel 4’s Rich Kid, Poor Kid.

He will be joined on the platform by leading UK programme makers Andy Glynne, Nick Fraser, Jim Boyle, Alexander Goodman and Robert Pendlebury. Brian Woods of True Vision and Julia Lewis from the Rowntree Foundation are moderating.

Although reality shows have attempted to provide more insight into the realities of life in poverty, they beg the question as to whether contrasting wealth and poverty is a sound approach. There may be better ways to create memorable, sensitive and engaging films.

After the debate, there will a series of shortlisted pitches.

The event is being hosted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which has partnered with Mosaic Films and BBC Storyville to find documentary makers who can produce compelling stories which engage audiences and encourage debate on poverty in the UK.

Venue: Town Hall Reception Rooms

Date: Friday 05 November 2010

Time: 10:30am

Click Poverty and the Media for more blogs
Or visit our Poverty and the Media project pages for more information and videos.

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Poverty and Participation in the Media Screening

Poverty and Participation in the Media – Screening Event with Discussion

Wednesday 30th September 7-9pm
Reception 9-10.30pm

Poverty in the Media

Poverty in the Media

A participatory media project examining how the media treats poverty and those affected: Looking at opportunity and exclusion; representation, stigmatisation and stereotyping. With the wealth gap on the increase and virtual segregation of the classes creating urban ghettos – Does the media influence bridge or increase the divide?

Speakers:
Chaired by Fred Robinson, Durham University
Eileen Devaney, UK Coalition Against Poverty
Glenn Jenkins, Marsh Farm Community Outreach
Jessica Leech, Pepys Estate
Jheni Arboine, Larkhall
Mark Saunders, Spectacle

Street Lecture Theatre
London College of Communication
SE1 6SB

Open preview 3-6pm

Guests welcome
Please RSVP to confirm attendance
events@spectacle.co.uk
020 7223 6677
www.spectacle.co.uk/poverty-and-the-media

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‘How the other half live’ fails to tackle real issues

From the makers of ‘Secret Millionaire’, ‘How the other half live’ is Channel 4’s new program dealing with poverty in the UK. Each week a rich family looks at the life of a poor family and at the end of the program gives a certain amount of money or ‘sponsorship’ to that family.

The makers of  ‘How the other half live‘ may have had the best intentions in the world with this program, asking the viewer to explore the gap between rich and poor, highlighting the poverty that exists in UK and encouraging people to be as generous with those who need help in this country as they are with those abroad, but it is still, as Keith Watson put it in the Metro  ‘patronising‘ and astonishingly contrived.

Instead of looking at the general picture of poverty in this country it focuses on a handful of ‘lucky’ people who are to become the benefactors of a handful of wealthy patrons. This view makes each episode an almost Dickensian style story of the hopeless poor being rescued by the good-hearted rich.

Having a nice easy solution at the end of each program, where a single familie’s problems are solved by a cheque book, actually masks the real issue of the thousands of other families who continue to live in poverty. It also fosters the idea that poverty is a personal issue to be solved by wealthy individuals rather than a societal issue to be dealt with by all.

What do you think?

Are these programs helping or hindering those in poverty?

What is wrong with rich people adopting poor families?

To find out about Spectacle’s Poverty and the media project please visit our Project Page

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Being seen and getting heard: Joseph Rowntree Report

Joseph Rowntree has published a report examining  how people with direct experience of poverty in the UK can have a more effective voice in the media. Presentation of their views and experiences through media channels and help to shape and develop public opinion and build support for action to combat poverty.

Key points raised in report:

  • Poverty is generally under-reported in the media. If more people with experience of the everyday realities of poverty were given a voice in the media, this would enhance public understanding of poverty in the UK.
  • When journalists write stories about poverty they usually want case studies – people who can talk about their experience of living on a low income. This provides an important opportunity for people living in poverty to tell their stories.
  • The internet provides new opportunities for self-expression. People can send emails, develop websites, write blogs and upload sound, stills and video clips.
  • An online audience could be developed by setting up a web portal to provide a reliable resource of material from people with experience of poverty. This would also be a focus for debate. A demonstration project with a specific community could test the potential of internet media to develop awareness of poverty issues.

To download a full copy of this report please visit our Poverty and the Media Resources and Download Page

To watch clips from Spectacle’s Poverty and the media project please visit our Project Page

Alternatively footage can also be found in our Archive

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Minimum cost of living rising twice the rate of inflation

In 2008 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published its first  ‘minimum standard for Britain’ surveying members of the public to find out what income they thought was needed to achieve a socially acceptable standard of living. This survey has now been updated taking into account the rising rate of unemployment and the economic crisis with some fascinating results.

  • A single adult with no children now needs to earn at least £13,900 a year before tax to reach the minimum standard. This is a £500 rise from 2008; nearly half of this extra income is needed for the rising cost of food.
  • About one in four people are living below the minimum income standard for Britain, and this is increasing as unemployment rises.
  • The minimum cost of living has risen by 5%, contrasting with official inflation figures of 2½% (CPI) and -1% (RPI). A low-paid worker whose earnings were linked to the retail prices index could be 6% worse off this year, relative to the minimum cost of living.
  • Job loss can leave you with less than half the income that you actually need to live according to the minimum income standard for Britain.

To download a full copy of this report please visit our Poverty and the Media Resources and Download Page

To watch clips of Spectacle’s Poverty and Media project please visit our Project Page

Alternatively you can also find footage of this project in our Archive

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Poverty and the Media DVD clips online

There are now clips of the ‘Poverty and Participation in the Media‘ DVD available to view online. Please click here to view clips of our interview with Zac Beattie, maker of ‘Rich Kid Poor Kid‘.

There is also a discussion of ‘The Tower’ with residents of the Pepys Estate.

Other topics include:

Abusive Elements In The Media

Advertising Pressure

Community

The Media’s Potential For Change

Young People and Education

Media Views of Poverty

New Media

Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment on this blog.



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Changing face of poverty

Save the Children recently announced it would be giving emergency cash grants to families in poverty due a massive increase in food prices and worrying increase in malnutrition amongst babies and pregnant women. These families are not the ones that Save the Children normally deal with, they are not in refugee camps or war-zones but in cities and towns across the UK.

With the recession taking hold unemployment has soared and so has the price of food; according to the Guardian the cost of food rose by 11.3% in the year to February, and within that the cost of vegetables has risen by 18.6%. This is leading to new levels of poverty amongst children and families in Britain say Save the Children.

Save the Children argue that many people are facing terrible problems with debt, not because they are frivolous as suggested by some of the media but because they have had to rely on credit for basic essentials. Now the safety net of easy credit has been removed people find they are stuck with high repayments and no new income and end up cutting their food budgets to compensate.

With organisations like Save the Children and Oxfam turning their attention to the UK’s poor is it time we changed our perception of what poverty looks like?

Does the media do enough to let us know about poverty on our own doorstep?

Is it easier to pretend poverty only exists in foreign countries?

For more clips from our Poverty and  The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page



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Spectacle to interview maker of Rich Kid Poor Kid

Tomorrow Spectacle will be holding a question and answer session with Zac Beattie of Close-up Films, maker of Rich Kid Poor Kid and local residents from the area where the film was made . This is to enable him to answer some the of the criticisms of the program that were raised in our poverty and the media workshops. We would like people to suggest any questions the would like us to ask him.

Please leave any questions in the comment section of the blog or email us at info@spectacle.co.ukFor more clips from our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Archive

To find out more information about our Poverty and The Media project please visit our Project Page



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