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LIAS Research Seminar:Prof Paul Cooke - Participatory Filmmaking in Partici...

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Minerva Building: MB0302 Cargill Lecture Theatre

Brayford Campus

Lincoln

LN6 7TS

United Kingdom

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Participatory Filmmaking in Participatory Development

The aim of this presentation is to reflect upon the findings of the recent AHRC project ‘Troubling the National Brand and Voicing Hidden Histories’. Working in Brazil, India and South Africa’ this project used participatory filmmaking to support specific marginalised communities in country to challenge the way these nations present themselves to the world via 'nation branding' and other 'soft power' initiatives. In so doing, the project sought to raise awareness nationally and internationally of these communities' precarious place in society and to support them in campaigning to effect change in their lives.

In South Africa, we worked with the Bishop Simeon Trust and Themba Interactive to support vulnerable children and young people in townships across Gauteng, focussed in particular on the problem of xenophobia. In India we worked with Budhan Theatre/Nomad Films and with the 'Denotified Tribes Rights Action Group' (DNT RAG) to explore the historical predicament of these ex-'Criminal Tribe' communities in the cities of western India. In Brazil, we worked with Plan International to support groups of vulnerable girls in Codó, a region within Brazil with one of the lowest scores on the Universal Human Rights Index.

In each case participants had to reflect upon the role of ‘participation’ as both a tool for creativity, on the one hand, and the delivery of ‘practical’ development outcomes on the other. Why use filmmaking as an international development tool? What are the enablers of – and barriers to – successful participatory filmmaking initiatives? What does ‘success’ mean in this context? What is the role of the filmmaker? Is s/he an artist? A community worker? A therapist? What happens after a project takes place?

Prof Paul Cooke Bio

Paul Cooke is Centenary Chair of World Cinemas at the University of Leeds. He is the author of Representing East Germany: From Colonization to Nostalgia (2005) and Contemporary German Cinema (2012). His edited volumes include World Cinema’s ‘Dialogues; with Hollywood (2007), The Lives of Others and Contemporary German Film (2013), with Marc Silberman, Screening War: Perspectives on German Suffering (2012) and with Rob Stone, Screening European Heritage: Creating and Consuming History on Film (2017). He is currently involved in an AHRC project exploring the role of film as a tool for the generation of ‘Soft Power’ across the BRICS group of emerging nations. Over the last few years he has run a number of participatory filmmaking project supporting young people to explore the legacy of ‘difficult’ pasts. This has involved working with the former main Stasi prison in Germany and groups of young people from Germany and the UK to explore the legacy of the GDR for our contemporary understanding of democracy, and young people in Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Johannesburg looking at the legacy of holocaust and its implications for our contemporary understanding of human rights. In addition to Changing the Story, Paul’s current projects involve working with marginalised groups in South Africa, Brazil and India to use filmmaking as a tool to challenge their nation’s ‘Soft Power narratives’, and working with public health professionals to use participatory arts to develop community-led solutions to the misdiagnosis of antibiotics in Nepal.

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Minerva Building: MB0302 Cargill Lecture Theatre

Brayford Campus

Lincoln

LN6 7TS

United Kingdom

View Map

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