Reflection on Gathering #6: “PV is not PR”

By Rick Goldsmith, Co-director of Catcher Media

Some key words and responses to the web gathering. Click here to watch the full recording!

Nick Lunch: thanking people that were involved and reminding us of the rich discourse that was the Better PV Practice webinar series, and reminding us too that all of this knowledge can still be accessed on the website.

Speaking too, of the importance of the longer-term ripples and impacts of PV projects.


Collaborating and supporting one another. In order to facilitate the flow of knowledge between those already interested or practising, but also to create a wider acceptance of the possibilities presented by embedding PV within research and development and learning and creativity and social justice.

“Widening ripples”

Soledad Muniz: Key areas discussed at the writeshop which grew from Learning Agenda:

The Big Five of PV (or unresolved issues in PV practice):

When (and when not) to use PV, Monitoring & Evaluation, Ownership & Control, Sustainability, Participant recruitment and selection.

Tamara Plush: Spoke about six institutional views relating to the experience and purpose of PV: Agenda-Driven, Output-Focused, Voice as Opportunity, Apolitical Participation, Innocuous, and Easy-to-Learn and Sustainable.

Tensions related to the PV process – always tensions between empowerment and other agendas (PV is not PR) – but can it be a creative, active, motivating tension sometimes? And what is behind these tensions?

“Voice isn’t a gift – the question is why is it marginalised”

“Participatory video for raising voice is a creative, transformative learning methodology and tool that can, through reflexive filmmaking processes, raise awareness; develop and empower individuals and groups; amplify voice for engaged dialogue and listening; foster equitable relationships; socially and politically mobilise; and accelerate social change and justice.”

“Structural voicelessness”

Rick Goldsmith: Presenting the key topics within the learning agenda, and describing how it is structured, I felt that the document has the potential to grow and grow as a wiki to become a really useful practical tool for a whole range of interested parties – a tool with the input of many voices and experiences.

Also the concentration of key resources – articles, PDF guides, how-to-videos, case studies, creative commons workshop templates and soundtracks onto the Better PV Practice website and the OU library is a great step too. Acceleration. How very far removed from having Jackie Shaw and Clive Robertson’s book tucked up in my rucksack with a whole load of video equipment on my way to a workshop nearly 20 years ago!

Chris High: Importance of longitudinal research and practitioners embedded in organisations

Value in networking and support and collaboration – but how to negotiate this within different organisations with their own agendas – mutual benefits can make it worthwhile

Training – Advanced practitioner training and opportunities for distance learning

“Autonomous PV”

Some problems with audio

Jay Mistry: PV participants becoming practitioners, continue work on other projects –  like with Cobra, outside their locality, extending reach, bringing their own knowledge and perspectives to bear on the participatory process.

Christoph Warrack: Open Film Studio – Open to any PV practitioners, and made available to the community.

Joining the dots between 30,000 film-makers in the UK and 200,000 community projects – enabling funded projects to bring these together.


And finally thanks from me too, thanks for the invitation to be a part of the webinars. After years working in near isolation, I know how important it is to engage with this level of discourse and thinking about PV with practitioners and academics. It has been challenging but also very, very enriching.

Rick Goldsmith

Co-director of Catcher Media
cathcer media

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