HARC, Sydney, NSW, April 2012
Tallstoreez’ Change Media worked with 12 participants, aged 14-63, during a hands-on 2-day workshop at the Sydney North Shore Hospital. Participants included director and staff from the Health and Arts Research Centre, HARC, Glebe community development workers, Burundi community members with refugee background and people living with mental health issues. All engaged with the Change Media production and training methodology, which included a basic intro to equipment and digital media narratives and how to create relevant digital media art works.
PARTNERS: Australia Council for the Arts Creative Community Partnership Initiative; Health and Arts Research Centre; Tallstoreez Productionz
Health + Arts Research Centre training
All participants trained hands-on in no-nonsense video techniques, including HD camera and sound work on Day 1, a strong focus on recording interviews on Day 2 and how to build engaging narratives, create video messages and artistic documentations. Three main project proposals were developed, alongside mentoring for several individual concepts.
We also developed a scope for a larger partnership with the Health and Arts Research Centre, to create art with people living with dementia, as part of a long term research project. We started to develop creative concepts to support survivors of involuntary ElectroConvulsiveTherapy, ECT, in finding creative ways to address issues around memory loss, the injustice experienced and ways to connect to other electroshock survivors and advocate for changes in the mental health system.
On the second day the group reviewed their test footage and discussed possible improvements and changes for their second attempt at interviewing and developing story structures.
We watched interview techniques training videos and tips how to structure a story in 5 key points, on the examples of our Ngarrindjeri workshops.
Before and during lunch we discussed different strategies to craft messages and use digital media for CACD work and social justice campaigns. Special focus was given to cross-cultural process and equitable negotiations, the push for excellence as a political necessity especially in community arts. We demonstrated examples from our latest creative laboratories with Bell Shakespeare and refugee communities.
After lunch we continued with viral campaign examples [The Perfect Refugee advert ideas and Sir Thomas More], and elaborated on ways to determine who is your audience, how to target campaigns, work with message ambassadors/ mavens, to reach inactive supporters and fence sitters, and how to avoid targeting hostile audiences or preaching to the converted. What is the buy in, what does it take to get anyone to act – who benefits, how do we reach [format, time frame, linkage, what is our power of influence, how can we increase it?]
Then the three teams continued to work on their creative 5 points plans and recorded high quality interviews, based on their experiments from Day 1. Special focus was given to working with radio mics, shot sizes and framing, using natural light and identifying design elements such as good backdrop. Another important areas was how to develop empowering questions and building trusting relationships within a short and formal interview set up, that make everybody feel safe and supported, while addressing issues around whiteness, privilege, equity and equality – how is your liberation bound up with mine?
One group developed digital storyboards for the ECT story, from idea to printed storyboard.
We set up computers for each team to upload their footage, manage their files, edit their interviews and story pitches and experiment with non-linear editing software and overlay footage.
SCREENINGS & AWARDS: Stay tuned for updates!
IMPACT & FEEDBACK:
In feedback sessions during both days – from initial expectations, to how the process worked and what possible future collaborations may bring – we discussed our process, costs, time frames and how to engage communities.
The feedback was enthusiastic throughout, people reported that they learned new and relevant skills, confronted and overcame fear of technology and made new connections. Especially moving was the feedback for our ways of challenging perceptions and representations of ‘other’ and life-changing moments for some participants as they developed new ways to cope creatively with very difficult mental health issues. The team decided to meet again with the next 4 weeks and was very interested to run more workshops with us.