Participatory Video Workshop

for engagement, research, documentation and evaluation.

This training course is now available online. Please visit our online courses page for more details.

What is participatory video (PV) and why use this approach? How can participatory methods be integrated into community based projects? What are the benefits of participatory documentation? Is it suitable for research and evaluation of projects?

Participatory Media is a way to use visual communication for engaging and recording a wider range of perspectives. It aims to build up practical skills that will allow participants to produce knowledge about themselves and what is relevant to their communities. Participation strategies are the most effective catalyst for group brainstorming, discussion and decision-making and can be the key to develop successful projects for social engagement, community empowerment, cohesion and development. Moreover, participatory media has proven to be a powerful tool to engage communities and give a voice to those most marginalized and "hard to reach".

Spectacle's Participatory Video Workshop (PVW) will illustrate the features of successful uses of this approach in a variety of contexts. It will provide practical skills to integrate participatory techniques into different phases of your future projects.

The workshop will use a participatory approach to convey  transferrable knowledge of participatory video production and participatory editing. Attendees will be equipped to produce community-based video in preliminary surveys, research, evaluation and documentation of their future projects.

The PVW is designed to engage attendees through a balanced hands-on and theoretical approach: basic understanding of technology, techniques and strategies (from filming to editing) will be combined with a theoretical frame based on successful participatory video experiences.

The online version of this course is split into modules. Please visit the Participatory Video Workshop online course for details.

What you will learn:

- Participatory media history

- Participatory video production techniques

- Participatory editing methodology

- Ethnographic methods and approaches to fieldwork

- Power balance issues in community-based projects

Acquire participatory media skills for:

- Project documentation, as well as research and evaluation through video

- Participatory decision making and brainstorming

- Community Outreach especially to the "Hard to Reach"

- Community-led research, oral history, testimony and awareness-raising

- Community-led economic development and production of knowledge

- Community mapping and placemaking

- Community Cohesion and Empowerment

- Inter-community communication (narrow-casting)

- Intergenerational projects

- Helping marginalised voices influence policies by speaking to "power"/decision-makers

Practical advice on:

- How to choose suitable technology and how to introduce it to absolute beginners - even technophobes

- Making collective decisions on production strategies and content

- Setting up peer to peer interviews as well as unmediated peer to peer discourse

- Participatory video editing processes and democratic editorial decision making

- Screenings as outreach, research and dissemination

- Positive ways to use the "insider/outsider" dynamic and conducive interventions to address cliques, social exclusion, elitism, hierarchies and prejudices

- Conditions required for meaningful participation and sustainable media projects 

- Dealing with mixed language groups

short course, filmmaking, participatory video, editing, participatory media, video training, comms, media training, startups, workshop, video production, digital video production, digital media


Anyone, with or without video skills, who intends to develop participatory input into their community, social and urban projects.

Community and international development workers, social and health workers, Third Sector practitioners, cultural workers and artists who wish to develop participation as part of their outreach and idea development "tool-kit".

The PVW is also designed to be modular and can be bespoke according to particular needs, or delivered as part of ongoing projects. Get in touch about tailoring a workshop to be delivered at your premises.


The PVW is offered as a 3-day immersive experience, involving groups from 4 to 8 people.


Visit our  Online Course page for details of modules.

BOOK NOW Online Course Intensive January 11-12-14-15-18-19-21-22 (8 days)

BOOK NOW Online Course Intensive March 8-9-11-12-15-16-18-19 (8 days)

BOOK NOW Online Course Intensive May 3-4-6-7-10-11-13-14 (8 days)

Our face to face courses will be rescheduled as soon as the pandemic lockdown allows, our online courses will continue.

BOOK NOW for a place on future face to face courses.

BOOK NOW for Online Courses

If you need any assistance with bookings please contact us on

You can look at the dates of all our different courses on our course Calendar




Unit 25 of the Battersea Business Centre, 99-109 Lavender Hill, SW11 5QL.

Detailed travel instructions are included in our FAQs and will be sent to all enrolled participants upon booking and again a week before the course begins.

About the tutor:

Mark Saunders has been engaged in participatory media practices since the very first UK community video projects in the early 1980s and has a wealth of experience of participatory media outreach work with the so-called "hard to reach".

He founded the groundbreaking community access media co-operative Despite TV in 1982 and Spectacle Productions in 1990.

Mark has been a broadcast TV producer since 1990. Some of his work produced for Channel 4 includes: “Battle of Trafalgar”, (Winner of Prix du Public International Festival du Film Documentaire Nyon, also broadcast in France), “The Truth Lies in Rostock” (Nyon Documentary Award Special Mention). “Outside The Law” and "Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice" featuring interviews with Guantanamo detainees and their legal counsel have both been screened at the House of Commons.

As Director/Producer, Mark leads Spectacle's groundbreaking participatory media work. Read more about Mark's and Spectacle's work

Michele de Laurentiis is an anthropologist and filmmaker. He carried out long term ethnographic research in Italy (prisons, migration, health care) and Bolivia (rituals, indigenous politics, mining conflicts). His PhD research was focused on ritual fights, political engagement and conflict among Aymara and Quechua speakers in Potosì department (Bolivia). He is developing participatory documentary projects about extractive conflicts and indigenous groups in Latin America.

About Spectacle's Participatory work

Spectacle was a core partner in Working Broadband GB (WBGB), a National programme that aimed to assist black and minority ethnic (BME) groups and individuals into the creative and technological industries. This EU Equal programme was aimed at producing large-scale innovative projects that have impact through a direct interface with emerging policies in member states.

Spectacle was also a key partner in APaNGO (Advocacy, Participation and Non Governmental Organisations in planning). It aimed to develop best practice in community involvement in urban planning and to undertake a study into community involvement in planning across North Western Europe. At a special INTERREG organised session on media and documentation in Amsterdam, Spectacle's documentation and participatory media work on APaNGO was cited as best practice.

For CIRÉ (the Belgian Commission for Racial Equality) we produced a series of short, participatory online clips as well as an interactive DVD "Quand les Papiers Arrivent..." ("When the papers arrive...") by and about the "sans papiers", asylum seekers awaiting the right to remain. It was distributed on DVD to all schools in Belgium. National TV showed a selection of clips every night at 10pm before the news for 2 weeks.

Spectacle was the official media provider and participatory media co-ordinator for the Well London project from 2008 to 2012. The Well London Alliance includes London Health Commission, Groundwork, London Sustainability Exchange, University of East London, Arts Council England, Central YMCA, and the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust,.

Throughout its history Spectacle has provided that vital, trusted link between researchers and communities. Our work is known and respected across various relevant community and research networks and organisations internationally. We have collaborated with academic researchers on community-led research projects. We are the only non-academic group commissioned for a research project by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The research programme was a participatory project that involved people with experience of poverty and it resulted in a series of films ("Poverty and Participation in the Media") aimed at media decision makers and it is also used by the BBC College to train journalists.

For the Howard League, we produced two “user generated” films, shot and largely directed by children resident in a high security children's home, as a powerful tool in their campaign for maintaining government funding.

In 2003 Charles Picqué, Belgian Minister for Economic Affairs and responsible for Policy of Major Cities, commissioned a conference featuring the 10 best practice examples of urban participation from across the EU. Two of them, St Josse (Brussels) and Marsh Farm (Luton), were Spectacle projects.