30 Years of INURA

June 2021 marks the 30 years since the founding of INURA, the International Network for Urban Research and Action. In that time, INURA has developed into a resilient network for people involved in action and research in localities and cities. The Network consists of activists and researchers from community and environmental groups, universities, and local administrations, who wish to share experiences and to participate in common research.


INURA advocates for social justice. Most recently INURA spoke out against the arrest and imprisonment of Eugene Kalinouski, 22, urban geographer, who was arrested in Belarus for during a political protest. Belarus has a history of arresting those who dissent with the government, and are facing international sanctions after the recent extraordinary lengths they went to in order to arrest a blogger. Other examples of the issues that Network members are involved in include actions such as standing in solidarity with workers, criticising environmentally unsound development processes and research on major urban renewal projects, the urban periphery, community-led environmental schemes, urban traffic and transport, inner city labour markets, do-it-yourself culture, and social housing provision. In each case, the research is closely tied to, and is a product of, local action and initiative.

This year, INURA member Tomislav Tomasevic, activist, researcher, and organiser of the 2019 INURA conference in Zagreb, was elected as the new mayor of the city of Zagreb (population 805,000) winning more than 68% of the vote.

INURA was founded in 1991 in Salecina, Switzerland as a network with a self-organising, non-hierarchical, decentralised structure. INURA is also a member of the Habitat International Coalition, a global network for the right to housing and social justice.

Since 1991, INURA has held yearly conferences in cities around the world, although the 30th conference, which will take place in Luxembourg, has been postponed until 2022 due to the global pandemic. 

Spectacle’s founder Mark Saunders is a founding member of INURA and Spectacle’s archive contains valuable video footage or urban environments throughout the 80s, 90s, and 00s from Montreal to Brussels to Berlin which is available for the researchers in the INURA network. 

Spectacle has long focused on inequality in urban environments and precarious housing arrangements including squats, cooperatives, evictions, and estates. All this material and more can be explored through our archive



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Spectacle’s Online Training for Oxford COMPAS Researchers

How Universities Researchers are Adapting Online 

Imagine: you’re running an international research network and suddenly – a pandemic hits! All international travel is on hold for up to two years! It’s your worst nightmare. You’ve got researchers who are supposed to be flying in from all over the globe for a week-long retreat or training workshop! What can you do? 

This was the predicament numerous Universities found themselves in, but they found ways to adapt and continue projects – many turned to Spectacle’s Bespoke Training Workshops to help them creatively solve problems. 

Through 2020, video conferencing has become the norm and many researchers are now imagining how important and useful video making or remote online participatory video research could be for communicating their research or archive-based workshops going forward. Maybe we can help you too.  

Oxford COMPAS

This week Spectacle kicks off a bespoke training course for The Oxford Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS). Since 2003, COMPAS has established an international reputation for original research and policy relevance. 

The training we will provide is for the researchers focusing on sustainable cities. Researchers will join online from cities around the world including Oxford, Beijing, Bangalore, Cape Town and Medellin. 

Spectacle’s training will give these researchers the skills to film with a more professional production quality and edit with an eye for narrative flow. Going forward, this will enable them to make short videos to effectively communicate their research to a larger audience. 

Does this sound like the kind of training you or your organisation might benefit from?  

Bespoke Training for Academics

When it comes to making videos, the just ‘point and shoot’ method only works if you are extremely lucky. From inaudible audio, to interviewees that clam up as soon as they see a camera, to takes ruined by continuous autofocusing – the pitfalls are innumerable. 

Spectacle online video training

When looking to make video, academics have unique needs. They aren’t looking to become documentary filmmakers. They aren’t looking to invest in overly expensive filming equipment. They won’t have a large support crew to help with filming. And the need to make a final project where the medium (and mistakes) don’t distract from the message.

About Spectacle

Spectacle is an award-winning independent media company that specialises in documentary, community-led investigative journalism, and participatory media.

We have been leaders in Participatory Video (PV) practice and community engagement for more than thirty years, and offer training and workshops in every aspect of digital filmmaking.

We offer affordable, accessible, and enjoyable film, media, and video training. No prior knowledge needed! Learn what you really need to know to make quality videos with us

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Remote Participatory Video in Medellin, Colombia

Spectacle has been at the forefront of Participatory Video (PV) practice and community engagement for more than thirty years. We continue to innovate and during the last 9 months we have developed a model for delivering Participatory Video workshops remotely.

Reinventada, a participatory video project for LSE

The Project

Spectacle is currently a partner in a research project developing a groundbreaking remote PV method. The research project Reinventada is funded by the London School of Economics (LSE) Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund (KEI). It investigates the condition of displaced and migrant women, especially mothers and heads of household, living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Medellin (Colombia).

The Garcia sisters, Celmira and Elicenia

The research was initially planned to produce a participatory documentary on women’s ‘right to the city’ in Medellin. However, as soon as the pandemic crisis exploded, being well aware that women are amongst the most affected groups of people during emergencies and disasters, we were able to create a remote participatory project that investigates the impact of COVID-19 on participants’ everyday lives in poorer areas of the city. 

The Beginning

Started in May 2020, the project was originally planned to be conducted face-to-face, but was forced online due to the pandemic. It is led by dr. Sonja Marzi, the Principal Investigator from the Department of Methodology at LSE, as well as supported on the ground by two Colombian partners: Maria Fernanda Carrillo, a sociologist and filmmaker, and Lina Maria Zuluaga, anthropologist.

Dr. Sonja Marzi, Principal Investigator of the project

The aim of this research project is to create a documentary filmed and edited by the women themselves to depict their daily lives during the pandemic. 

Online Participatory Video

We began initially by training the participants on how to best use web platforms and available technology. We set up weekly ‘Zoom’ meetings that served as an online space for workshops on filming techniques and how to use their smartphones to capture high quality video. Zoom meetings became the workshop space where all production and editorial decisions were discussed and made in consensus. The production meetings are chaired by participants on a rotating basis. We discussed film content, planned shoots, reviewed and critiqued the footage together, and collaborated on editing the final documentary.

Demetria, chairing a meeting

The groundbreaking project has successfully adapted Spectacle’s Participatory Video methods and techniques to an online environment. The short documentary Reinventadas was released at the end of 2020 and premiered in film festivals in 2021. 

Collaborative editing process

Visit our vimeo channel to see examples of Spectacle’s past PV work.

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Video Production Enhances Research Impact

Are you an academic researcher, PhD student, PostDoc fellow seeking to boost the impact of your research? Do you wish to improve the originality of your research proposals in humanities, science, arts, social sciences? Why not include a video outcome in your funding application?

Video workshop at Sheffield University

Other academics are already using media production to enhance the impact of their research in many ways. Video can be used either to monitor the research process and report research results, or it can be integrated in the research methods as a strategy to collect original data that can be easily analysed and disseminated. Spectacle has long experience in training academic staff in how to achieve quality video outcomes for their investigations.

We have already organised bespoke courses for anthropologists and social researchers of Edinburgh University, Cambridge University, Open University, Social Research Association, Amsterdam University, academic staff at Birkbeck, Comms departments at Oxford University, Cambridge University Press, King’s College as well as the Macular Society. All gave us excellent feedback.

Together with practical skills and confidence, they went away inspired and excited by the potential of incorporating video in their academic work in order to improve the impact of their scientific communications.

We offer a range of options to train you in video making, from weekend courses to three-day participatory video workshop, to bespoke training programmes addressed to staff or research groups.

Please visit our Training page or write to us for quotes and info at training@spectacle.co.uk

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Video Production Enhances Research Impact

Are you an academic researcher, PhD student, PostDoc fellow seeking to boost the impact of your research? Do you wish to improve the originality of your research proposals in humanities, science, arts, social sciences? Why not include a video outcome in your funding application?

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Spectacle video training for academics and researchers

Other academics are already using media production to enhance the impact of their research in many ways. Video can be used either to monitor the research process and report research results, or it can be integrated in the research methods as strategy to collect original data that can be easily analysed and disseminated. Spectacle has long experience in training academic staff in how to achieve quality video outcomes for their investigations.

Recently we have trained anthropologists and social researchers of Edinburgh University, academic staff at Birkbeck, Comms departments at Oxford University, Cambridge University Press and King’s College. All of them gave us excellent feedback.

Together with practical skills and confidence, they went away inspired and excited by the potential of incorporating video in their academic work in order to improve the impact of their scientific communications.

We offer a range of options to train you in video making, from weekend courses to long bespoke training programmes addressed to whole department staff or research groups. Please visit our Training page or write to us for quotes and info at training@spectacle.co.uk

If you are interested in our work visit Spectacle homepage
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Data Leak Reveals the Truth About Palm Oil

Owners of Battersea Power Station,  Palm Oil giants Sime Darby, want to build a bio-fuel power station at the site to power the massive development. To side step criticism they claim not have decided what bio-fuel it will use ( yeah right. Maybe Palm Oil?)

This blog has been sourced from an article by David Carrington, for The Guardian.     Click here if you would prefer to view the full article.

A new data leak has revealed how certain bio-fuels can have a worse impact upon the environment then fossil fuels. Although some bio-fuels can be advantageous in preventing climate change, others such as palm oil are quite the opposite due to the large carbon footprint that they generate.

In distinguishing the good bio-fuels from the bad ones it is also important to account for factors such as deforestation and other man made sources of pollution that are involved in harvesting bio-fuels.

A diagram displaying the individual carbon footprint of bio-fuels in comparison to that of crude oil from tar sands, puts Palm oil just beneath that of the crude oil:

Biofuels

Second generation fuels (SG), particularly those that are land-using such as Biodiesel and Ethanol produce the least CO2. While sugar cane and corn maize are thankfully less harmful then crude oil, however their carbon footprint could still be considered a cause for concern.

Recently, the US environmental protection agency stated that Palm oil failed to meet the US requirement of emitting a minimum  of 20% less carbon then the diesel produced from crude oil. Furthermore, bio-fuels campaigner Robbie Blake for Friends of the Earth Europe further condemned the use of Palm Oil (speaking to David Carrington):

“It’s getting quite indisputable that the use of soy or palm oil to fuel our cars is even dirtier than conventional fossil fuels. Forests in Asia and South America are being destroyed by the expansion of plantations to meet the European market. It’s a delusion for politicians to think that biodiesel will solve climate change.”

An important factor that helps assess how beneficial or environmentally unfriendly bio-fuels are is sourced from research into more sustainably advancements, with the latest examples in sourcing low carbon bio-fuel come from seaweed and algae.

An EU target has been made to ensure transport fuels incorporate 10% of bio-fuels by 2020. However the production of certain bio-fuels has been named ‘unethical’ in relation to the environment and to human rights. Research groups meanwhile have branded it ‘immoral’ to not look for an alternative to using fossil fuels.

For more information on this topic view the full article here, or try these related links:

Issues surrounding the production of second generation fuels, how the EU brands fuel sustainability, other recent studies into bio-fuel carbon footprints.

https://www.facebook.com/BatterseaAgainstBiofuels

http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2013/battersea-biofuels/

Click Battersea Power Station for more blogs
See our Battersea Power Station project pages for more information and videos.
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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Incompetent filmmaking is incompetent ethnography

"This is the type of course that every anthropologist should take" 
"Excellent course to get you feeling comfortable with a camera"
"This course delivers on what it offers"
"Mark is extremely experienced, versatile & an excellent teacher"
"Interview technique tips were great"

“Films that are cinematographically incompetent are also ethnographically incompetent (even when made by an ethnographer)” (Heider, 2007: 4).

Producing an Ethnographic Film is not the only reason to incorporate a camera in to your fieldwork.There is no substitute for what the camera can capture. It is an irreplaceable tool, one that can assist you, expand your academic knowledge, broaden your ethnography, enrich your experience and uniquely contribute to the field of Anthropology.

Learning fundamental, basic principles of film-making will make the difference between unusable, poor quality footage and priceless material.

Above all, understand the limitations and the potential of your equipment:

Visit Spectacle and acquire the knowledge you need by attending one of our affordable, intense, hands-on courses in film-making.

References

Heider, Karl G. (2007) Ethnographic Film, revised edition, Austin: University of Texas Press

For more information contact Spectacle at training@spectacle.co.uk

Visit our website and have a look at our upcoming dates for the Digital Video Production Weekend Course for Anthropologists and Social Researchers or find out about our other workshops.

If you wish to book you can find all the details you need on our how to book page.

If you would like more information on future courses and training opportunities sign up for the Training Newsletter – tick the box if you would also like Spectacle’s general newsletter.





“Anthropologist and the Camera”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

During our last course on Digital Video Production for Anthropologists and Social Researchers the single most important hindrance, while using a camera during fieldwork, came up; lack of fundamental technical knowledge. Chances are, more often than not, that poor sound, bad lighting, amateur framing and many more careless adjustments will stand in the way of what otherwise could be priceless, irreplaceable footage either for teaching/archive purposes or for professional documentary production.

Alas, the transition from the general theoretical knowledge of cinema, to which anyone of us can get access to (at least to some extent), to the actual implementation of it is highly challenging. Several prestigious universities and institutions, such as Manchester’s Granada Center of Visual Anthropology, have been promoting film-making as part of an anthropologist’s curriculum with great success. Yet, for most universities and especially smaller anthropology departments across Europe, Ethnographic Film is far from available.

My personal outlook on this matter is that if circumstances allow it (which only means if the communities which the anthropologists study allow it), a camera is as mandatory as a notebook. By extension, the quality of the filmed material should indicate an effort analogous to the one generated by the anthropologist for the actual ethnography. Thus, the technical knowledge of filming, sound and editing becomes critical. Nonetheless, as our particular academic interests gradually develop, a MA in Visual Anthropology may become a luxury that not everyone can afford, financially or otherwise. Does this mean that we shall be excluded from this community of anthropologists who have committed to become equally good film-makers as well as ethnographers?

Long story short, the fact that not every anthropologist aspires to a career in documentary and Ethnographic Film, does not justify a potential indifference to the efficacy of high quality filmed material for other purposes. As Mead (2003: 5) points out, we can only “cherish those rare combinations of artistic ability and scientific fidelity”, yet as whole cultures go unrecorded it is “inappropriate to demand that filmed behavior have the earmarks of a work of art”.

Spectacle’s weekend courses are a unique opportunity to acquire detailed and concise digital video filming skills at affordable prices. It is also important to stress that even the most experienced anthropologist does not necessary know the best way to introduce a camera in to fieldwork. With expertise in participatory media, engaging the ‘hard to reach’, as well as 20 years of professional film-making inside and with communities and minority groups Spectacle is more than equipped to provide this difficult to obtain knowledge.

References

Mead, M. (2003). Visual Anthropology in a Discipline of Words. In: Hockings, P. Principles of Visual Anthropology. 3rd ed. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 3-10

For more information contact Spectacle at training@spectacle.co.uk

Visit our website and have a look at our upcoming dates for the Digital Video Production Weekend Course for Anthropologists and Social Researchers or find out about our other workshops.

If you wish to book you can find all the details you need on our how to book page.

If you would like more information on future courses and training opportunities sign up for the Training Newsletter – tick the box if you would also like Spectacle’s general newsletter.