By Andrew Lowental
In early 2013 the video4change network began a research project in collaboration with MIT’s Center for Civic Media and Open Documentary Lab to explore the impact of Video for Change, with a focus on the approaches prevalent in the network. Those approaches are mostly short form, advocacy videos that emphasise participatory methodologies and are focused on the Global South.
The first stage of the research produced a scoping report and series of blog posts that included interviews with network members along with specific impact case studies. The scoping report, including recommendations for this coming stage, is available here. This report will also soon be made available in Spanish and Arabic.
Having wrapped up the first stage, EngageMedia, OpenDocLab and research consultant Tanya Notely will begin Stage Two. This stage aims to:
- Improve the quality of Video for Change work and enhance collaboration in the field by developing shared understandings of how video can create impact;
- Raise the profile of Video for Change and promote it as a change-making practice;
- Develop shared evaluation and impact assessment methodologies, resulting in a toolkit that enables video makers and campaigners to effectively measure and understand the impact of their work;
- Build the Video for Change field by improving feedback systems and knowledge knowledge sharing via an online space that allows the Video for Change community to share tactics, strategies and lessons learned.
Stage Two is made up of three key components:
- Impact research
- Community building and knowledge sharing convened through the v4c.org website, online events, discussions and presentations.
- A toolkit that will provide a flexible framework to support video4change initiatives to design for and measure impact
Whilst there are a number of projects presently looking at the impact of video, particular feature documentaries, there has been less focus on participatory and video activist approaches and content the Global South. Many impact projects also tend to emphasize quantitative over qualitative measures. Beyond the hits, clicks, likes and tweets, we are interested in how the process of production and distribution influences participants, how video can move people beyond “clicktivism” and catalyze deeper engagement with a campaign or movement, and how ethical components are built into video’s creation and dissemination, ensuring it is accountable to the movements it is part of.
The research aims to focus on four regions over two years: Southeast Asia, Mexico and Central America, South Asia and the Middle East/North Africa. We’ll be blogging the research as we go and hosting a number of online conversations. If you’d like to stay in touch please join our announcement list.
If you are interested in contributing to or supporting this research initiative please contact us.