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Papers, Articles and Reports

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Using Participatory Video for Action Research
By Dr Jackie Shaw, Founder, Real Time
This paper provides an account of the practice and processes used by Real Time, a UK-based professional media organisation and educational charity. Real Time is a voluntary-sector provider that offers consultancy and project services to government and non-statutory agencies in the Health and Social Care sector. Participatory Video is a facilitated group method that involves participants in communicating their own experiences, issues and stories on video.
There is developing interest in the possibilities of visual methods in researching complex social problems. Real Time specialises in applying participatory video as a collaborative group process to engage service users in exploring explanations and possible ways forward for issues that have proved hard to address in other ways.


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Beyond Empowerment Inspiration
By Dr Jackie Shaw, Founder, Real Time
Participatory Video has generally been framed idealistically, resulting in a discourse of possibility and potential as presented in methodological guides (e.g. Shaw and Robertson 1997, Lunch and Lunch 2006) and motivational literature (e.g. White 2003). In this chapter, I open the gap between these participatory video ideals, and actual practice manifestation in the complex social reality of project application. To do this I explore the participatory video process used by Real Time Video in its work as a UK-based, professional media organisation that specialises in using video to catalyse social benefit in community contexts. My standpoint is that participatory video processes such as Real Time’s are not magic bullets despite the many positive claims. There are often tensions between different social agendas in real-life project settings.

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Positioned on shifting sands
By Dr Jackie Shaw, Founder, Real Time
Community Video emerged alongside radical community work in the arts and media activity that occurred from the late 1960s onwards. For many the inspiration lay in disrupting usual relational dynamics by involving marginalised people in exploring their own issues through video, in order to catalyse community-led social change.
Discourses shape our worldview and thus how we act. For this reason, video is assumed to be a means of creative resistance as disadvantaged communities construct and communicate alternative narratives and perspectives. However, in reality communication dynamics between state and citizen are complex and contested. Framing concepts, such as ‘participation’ and ‘citizens media’, have a function in inspiring efforts to shift the status quo of social influence. In reality, Community Video projects are usually situated between interest groups with different perspectives on both the purpose and the consequences. This means that actual practice involves negotiation between practitioner’s implicit intention to build group agency, and the (often conflicting) agendas of the various stakeholders involved. Moreover, the predominantly idealistic and intentional practice discourses that abound have contributed to appropriation and dilution of the potential in many project contexts.
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