On the 6th May we began our collective journey towards better practice with the largest ever web gathering of participatory video practitioners, experts and enthusiasts. Leading PV practitioners took part in a launch event at the Open University, joined by 90 people from 20 different countries, including India, Australia, Canada and Nigeria. They shared their ideas and perspectives on the key questions raised, whilst adding new and challenging topics for discussion over the coming months.
“I thought I had died and gone to PV Heaven…”
This is what Tony Roberts, PV practitioner, PHD student, and alumni of our UK-based PV training course, wrote about how he felt after the face-to-face launch event of the ‘Better PV Practice’ webinar series. In his blog post he describes the event on 6th May and how much he enjoyed meeting and sharing experiences with ‘real-life PV Gurus’ such as Jackie Shaw and Clive Robertson (Real Time Video), Julia & Rick Goldsmith (Catcher Media), Nick Lunch and Gareth Benest (InsightShare), Chris High (Open University) and Christoph Warrack (OpenCinema).
Click here to read the blog.
A great start of the discussion through presentations, audience contributions…
During the morning face-to-face session, a group of 25 PV practitioners split up into 3 smaller groups to collective explore the following questions: What is PV for? What is PV today? and Where is PV going? During the web gathering they presented the outcomes of their group discussions. As these three questions are central to the web gathering series, we are keen to hear from people all over the world! We therefore invited the 90 online attendees joined to contribute to the discussion by writing their views and questions in the chat box.
What is PV today?
PV is a tool for people to learn about their environment and their issues; a tool to make links and share ideas, skills and solutions; a tool to create dialogue with, within and between marginalised groups. One of the main challenges is to translate our PV Practitioner ideals into practice and avoid raising expectations that can’t be met. How do we best learn about the impact and consequences of PV projects? What is appropriate in which place, with whom and for what purpose?
What is PV for?
Amongst the PV practitioners present at the face-to-face event there seemed to be a consensus that PV is a tool for social change: a tool for democratisation, emancipation, challenging power relationships and supporting people to work towards the change that they’d like to see through enabling people to tell their own stories in their own voices and images and by stimulating dialogue, horizontal and vertical sharing and encouraging shared ownership. At the same time PV was described as is also a tool for skills building, awareness raising and increasing peoples’ media literacy, confidence and their ability to think critically.
Where is PV going?
Going forward there is a need to build common framework, share experiences and case studies and develop an evidence library. The practitioners also expressed the hope that in future PV will have a strong focus on intent, that it will be owned, initiated and adapted by communities, that it will trigger important conversations and create safe spaces for complexities to be recognised and that it will enable people to discuss and prioritise future plans and strategies and to learn through a truly two way process.
The largest ever collective drawing exercise on PV
Interestingly, the 5 minute collective drawing exercise was the topic that most people were tweeting about during the web gathering. To represent what PV means to them, the attendees were invited to draw or write their ideas on a virtual white board. The result of this exercise was rather messy (see the below) and the ethics of the enthusiastic drawers could be questioned – as some people were writing over, or erasing other peoples’ contributions! The final image does however seem to capture the value of experimental learning and the spontaneous and positive approach of participatory video. Whilst it seems impossible to distil any concrete insights from this fun exercise, it was exciting to experience how the web gathering software allowed people based all over the world to work on something visual together.
What does PV mean to you? What is PV for? Where is PV going?
Risks & Challenges
share your experiences and strategies
During the web gathering we received live feedback from the attendees, for example about how they felt about what they had heard thus far. As you can see in the image above, a lot of people were keen to hear more and many thought that what had been shared sounded exciting. However, five per cent of people also indicated they were not sure yet! We found all of this direct feedback very useful and will integrate similar polls in the remaining web gatherings of this series.