Participatory Video

6. Charles Menzies (University of British Columbia): Participatory video at Gixtaala

Abstract: Digital image recording is ubiquitous. Everyone has a device able to take pictures, record sound and moving images. “In our Grandmothers’ Garden,” is a reflection upon an approach informed by the intersection of an Indigenous and an Anthropological eye in film.  Menzies argues for the possibility of holding onto a directorial view and a community perspective in the context of collaborative film production. Menzies’ filmwork encompasses three general facets: (1) traditional narrative documentary; (2) community video and; (3) video vignettes.  His chapter outlines each approach with reference to video work he has produced. Film, says Menzies, returns the power of storytelling to both audience and filmmaker – especially when one can cut and recut and distribute pieces and vignettes of our work.  The filmic genre is a form within which the storytelling mode can truly take on its full potential.

7. Jean Schensul (Institute for Community Research) and Campbell Dalglish: “A Hard Way Out”: Improvisational Video and Youth Participatory Action Research

Abstract: This paper describes the process of creating and disseminating an ethnographically driven film, scripted by youth in a participatory action research intervention sponsored by the Institute for Community Research, and enacted by them under the direction of film maker Campbell Dalglish of CUNY, using an improvisational drama approach. “A Hard Way Out” depicts a composite narrative based on real life situations confronted by young people living in a gang-dominated area of an economically marginalized industrial center of the northeastern United States.  The film emerged from the lived experience and research conducted by young actors on factors contributing to high levels of substance use and drug dealing in their environment.  The film  was successfully shown to multiple publics and policy makers to draw attention to increasing gang activity and associated high levels of violence with significant health, mental health and social consequences for young people and their families.

Photo Credit: Jean Schensul