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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Exodus 2 DVD Special Offer

Spectacle has a special 2 DVD offer: Exodus Extended Mix and Exodus from Babylon for £18.00 (including VAT and post)

Exodus Extended Mix

 

Never seen on UK TV Exodus Extended Mix was broadcast by ARTE in Germany, France  and Italy. It contains all the 26 minutes of Exodus: Movement of Jah People that Channel 4 broadcast plus an extra 18 minutes on HAZ Manor, attempts to get the Ark, on prohibition and the police operations.

Exodus offer working, viable solutions to many of society’s stated ills, poverty, crime, drugs, unemployment and the break down of community.

Exodus is a unique urban phenomenon which does not simply confront but intelligently challenges society’s assumptions and values. They offer working, viable solutions to many of society’s stated ills, poverty, crime, drugs, unemployment and the break down of community. Exodus blend a volatile mixture of rastafarianism, new-age punk and street smart politics. ‘We are not drop outs but force outs.’

Exodus from Babylon

 


The utopian Luton based Exodus Collective has met with powerful opposition. This film investigates the intricate web of this opposition and identifies a number of interlocking interests at play.

The Luton based Exodus Collective came into existence in 1992 as part of the growing DIY culture which arose in response to unemployment, poverty and frustration amongst young people.

They organised free ‘rave’ parties, renovated derelict homes, set up a community farm and now plan to open a community centre.Some of their activities border on illegality but they are entirely peaceful Exodus has a huge following amongst local people.

Their philosophy has a strong spiritual strand, appealing to notions of community and natural justice in its struggle for survival and renewal. However, their utopian project presents a challenge to the status quo and has met with powerful opposition.

Exodus from Babylon investigates the intricate web of this opposition, from aggressive policing to local government obstruction. It reveals the shift in policing from reactive peace keeping to proactive intervention, involving a series of special operations by Bedfordshire Police.

The programme looks in detail at a number of police actions against Exodus, including the prosecution and acquittal of collective member, Paul Taylor, for possession of Ecstasy and for murder. It asks why the strategy of getting tough with Exodus emerged and identifies a number of interlocking interests at play.

Exodus from Babylon contains original music by the Exodus Collective and some great reggae tunes.

Buy on Paypal below or visit our distribution page for details of other payment methods

£15.00 +VAT = £18.00 (post is included)

 

Exodus Special Select buyer,language and format

Visit Spectacle’s Archive for more videos on Exodus and Marsh Farm
Watch Cracklife music video. Shot in a one day workshop on Marsh Farm with Marsh Farm Outreach and local youth
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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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Commissioning Poverty and Creative Authorship

Poverty in the Media – Commissioning Priorities

Poverty is a problem faced by both individuals and society.

Societies commentators are an exclusive group, selected via a hierarchy and instated within a system, how representative can their voice be of the individuals who, because of the restrictions of their experience, do not rise through this?

The stories that find there way into the mass media produce a profound impact on the public subconscious; all mediated by the editorial chain, with whom the conditions are set and must be met to be accepted. The commissioning editors of both BBC and Channel 4 documentaries present similar priorities in their commissioning guidelines: Their requests come in loaded language – requesting proposals to match.

Hamish Mykura, Head of Documentaries for More 4 lists ‘harrowing’ ‘obsessed’ ‘extreme’ and ‘compelling’ in the descriptions for previous successes, the titles of which are equally charged (Eight Minutes to Disaster, Killer in a Small Town).
Alternatively, there is a focus on the ‘cheeky’ (BBC3) or the BBC4 equivalent ‘witty’, with both seeking ‘onscreen talent’ just as Channel 4 emphasises ‘presenter-led’ documentaries; encouraging programmes that are less focused on informative or critical worth and more (as requested by BBC3) the ‘entertainment values in their DNA’.

None of these criteria are detrimental in themselves but with this blanket approach to issue based programming, there is an obvious conflict of interests, the end point of which is arrived upon by Mark Raphael.

“I want to make ‘Risk Taking’ films that shed light on subjects we thought we already knew. ‘Provocative’ films that stir controversy, and ‘Popular’ films that thrill and excite large audiences.”

Mass appeal and commercial viability, are not criteria that encourage varied and responsible reporting. Industry checks may happen but if the material never leaves this sphere, pre-public release, there can be no dialogue. Fact checking, largely to avoid any potential legal repercussion, only happens to concrete information, not implication and is far more perceptible in specific rather than abstract cases. Where backlash does happen, it tends to pass more quietly than the impact of the broadcast programme.

When RDF went head to head with the Queen (A Year with the Queen, BBC, 2007) the BBC placed all blame with RDF, whose misleading editing meant producer, Stephen Lambert’s, head rolled. Now he’s back (as Studio Lambert) with Benefit Busters and RDF are free to continue with programmes, Wife Swap and The Secret Millionaire. It is not the representation, but the victim and resource with which they can respond, that affects the reaction – but the personal harm and perceptual effect is no less dramatic for those without recourse.

The power the media wields in propagating and reinforcing hegemonic ideals has long been recognised: The veil of entertainment and pretext that responding to audience choice, removes the onus from the media, only highlights the need for institutional change.

This is just one of the issues that Spectacle’s ‘Poverty and Participation in the Media’ project seeks to address; finding alternatives, opening up discussion and challenging what is seen to be the authoritative voice. The project was commissioned as part of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s ‘Public Interest in Poverty Issues’ campaign, and project content can be viewed online at:
www.spectacle.co.uk/poverty-and-the-media

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Luton focus of ‘Changing Britain’, Channel 4 News

Luton was the focus of the Channel 4 News piece ‘Changing Britain‘ aired on Tuesday 23rd March.

On the streets of Luton and in the context of it’s pronounced industrial and migrant history, Jon Snow’s report examined crime, unemployment and the benefit’s trap, and inviting local perspectives on the upcoming elections.

The Snowblog ‘Hats off for Luton’, published prior to the broadcast, recognises Luton as “merely the tip of a very British reality, a snapshot of a country with vast social challenges extending far beyond what we mainly talk about – fixing the deficit.”

Glenn Jenkins (who extends the discussion in A view from the Marsh Farm estate) and other Marsh Farm Outreach members also feature in the programme. Spectacle have been working with the group for over 15 years, most recently on our Poverty and Participation in the Media project for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, but also during the early community activism and outreach principles of the Exodus Collective (now Leviticus and MFO), about whom Spectacle produced two films Exodus Movement of Jah People and Exodus from Babylon.

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England, N. Ireland, Scotland, Wales – Devolution and Disadvantage

Planning Map
Joseph Rowntree Foundation
have released a series of reports to mark 10 years of devolution. The reports look at the impact of devolved policies and recognise a need for the Westminster to continue to reserve certain powers in order to improve conditions across the board but picks up on a failure to communicate feedback and learning between central and devolved government policies.

While concluding that much of the improvement in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales stems from UK policy, the reports acknowledge promising results from devolved policies, especially in the areas of social housing and elderly care. Athough their impact so far has been limited in size these results should improve as the administrations stabilise and imbed.

A less positive equalising factor was raised by report author Jim McCormick, who warns –

“The scale of the projected cuts in public spending will cause some of the gains seen in the last 10 years to unravel.”

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Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

The Public Relations Guru

Being in a Reality TV programme can be psychologically damaging. To make sure you can financially benefit from your exploitation it is a good idea to have a public relations agent. He will look over product endorsement contracts for you and make sure when your private life is exposed in the press it is on the front page.

The PR consultant will oversee your career

The PR consultant will oversee your career

What do  you think he is advising the contestant??

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Follow the link if you would like to know more about our Poverty and Participation in the Media project

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #1

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #2

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

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Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

The Victim Contestant

In this picture the contestant is trying hard to win and keep his dignity. He is thinking about the fame and fortune that will follow. How the woman at the check out is going to say something like “‘Ere weren’t you on telly last night?”

How am I doing?

How am I doing?

What else is he thinking? Any ideas?

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Follow the link if you would like to know more about our Poverty and Participation in the Media project

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #1

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #2

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

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Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Studio Audience

The nice people at the Television company invite their  friends and family to be in the studio audience. Being in a TV audience is very easy but these days you need to know how to Whoop! like an American, which some English people find hard to do. You can practice this at home before you go “on set”.

Two reality TV fans are in the audience

Two reality TV fans in the audience

Can you think what they are saying?

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Follow the link if you would like to know more about our Poverty and Participation in the Media project

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #1

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #2

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

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Reality TV shoot – caption competition #2

The Director

In this scene the director is very animated and holds his hands up to form a frame so he can see what the image will look like on television.

Give me victim- Thats good-ACTION!

Give me victim- Thats good-ACTION!

Before he shouts “Action!” he gives words of encouragement to the contestants. Can you think of what he is saying?

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Follow the link if you would like to know more about our Poverty and Participation in the Media project

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #1

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #2

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #3

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #4

Reality TV shoot – caption competition #5

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