Participatory Video: new steps for re-imagine the tool

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This year we participated in MásSocial, a program developed by the Fundación Barrie de la Maza. From Gingko, we provide a training on Participatory Video (VP), whose purpose was to train the technical staff of social organizations in this work methodology.

And why train other people if we can do it ourselves? Over the last few years, we have energized VP activities with very diverse groups and in contexts of all kinds. So far, the group we worked with always returned a motivating assessment, reminded us how a group of people can work together, can dialogue and seek consensus, can value their resources and can tell their story by themselves.

But what happens when we leave? Well, the activity is also over. And this always remained pending: We have a group cohesive, where everybody already know each other, who knows how to use the different tools and wants to continue working… But there is no one who can continue to accompany this process.

Ensuring the sustainability of these projects is our first motivation, so we proposed to the Fundación Barrie de la Maza to perform a training in VP for the technical staff of the organizations. For that, they selected two organizations from whithin those who had participated in previous phases of Más Social; It is important that, before facilitating a VP process, the people who are going to develope it, have some knowledge of Audiovisual Communication, to avoid that technical and/or technological problems hinder the process of participation.

How did we do that? We conducted a series of sessions that included a VP process from start to finish: from the idea to the collective viewing. During these sessions, we were accompanied by those people who would be in charge of facilitating the activity once in Gingko we had already finished.

The organizations that participated were ADACECO (Association of Acquired Brain Damage), in A Coruña, and FEAFES (Federation of Associations of Relatives and People with Mental illness), from the Association Doa. The facilitators were Lucia, Elena, Ana, Araceli and Marisa. And from here we draw a first conclusion: they are all women. Those who are dedicated to the care of people at risk of social exclusion are mostly women. Therapists, psychologists and a journalist accepted the challenge of getting to know better this methodology to be able to apply it later in their day to day work. The future VP facilitators in Adaceco and FEAFES are women, and they will be responsible for re-imagining this tool and for adapting it to different contexts, with their own objectives, launching innovative actions for social change.

Secondly, we all learned to know better the collective with which we work. These facilitators wrote about their discovery of the group and left phrases like “they are capable of absolutely everything. People who don’t even have a mobile, have done amazing things! (Elena, from Adaceco); When we asked them to evaluate the experience, they said that it has made, in turn, that I know them a little more and show that it is possible!” (Lucia, from Adaceco)

“I’m delighted, I love everything it generates and how it gets it,” said Araceli in our group of WhatsApp. In both groups, they agreed that it was a surprise to see people with mental illnesses and acquired brain damage get to work as a team, without looking at the clock, with unexpected delivery and implication. Marisa writes about the group that worked “showing so much desire, enthusiasm, talent and know how to make the result to be extraordinary, taking the best possible version of all of us.”

Another conclusion we got is that the VP is very strong, so much so that for Araceli “it is revealing to live a new experience of coexistence as well. Here we are, more than 10 people working on the same project. And I am excited to see how we complement each other, to continue knowing and discovering things about them, to be me who also learn from each other, to laugh without stopping, to surprise ourselves with the quality of the first results…

Ana gave us this assessment: “Our first contact with participatory video was undoubtedly an experience of discovery and learning. VP has always been difficult to explain; However, these facilitators have lived through it and now can tell it as we have never succeed in doing it: “Initiatives of this kind allow to overcome the stigma […], showing the many capacities that a person possesses” (Marisa)

Thank you, friends, for letting us learn with you. Now, we just hope that the time comes when we will get back the tool re-thought, re-imagined, cared, strong and constantly moving.