Minimal animation from Panos on the role of communication in sustainable development, with emphasis on a population that is informed and listened to.
Working Films and the Fledgling Fund bring you the second in their IMPACT series of short films focussed on using film for social change. This one focuses on one man’s experiment in low environmental impact living, and how it became a campaign mobilizing thousands.
Working Films and The Fledgling Fund have produced a series of short videos looking at how film works in a social change campaign strategy. If the first video (below) ‘Assessing Impact: A Funders Perspective‘ is anything to go by this could be a useful starting point for many thinking of using video in their work. I particularly like the thinking on how the film goes beyond awareness raising to mobilise people. Basic stuff maybe, but no surprises that even this most rudimentary thinking is sometimes skipped by social activists overcome by the idea of producing a film without quite knowing why. I will resist elaborating on the controversies surrounding ‘Born into Brothels‘…
Readers wanting more depth than presented in the video may be interested in this paper by The Fledgling Fund, ‘Assessing Creative Media’s Social Impact‘.
The excellent Video Volunteers is launching a new initiative called VIVIDH which aims to create a network of community journalists in India – ‘a Reuters from the slums and rural areas‘ if you like. The programme will give a one year, full time fellowship to 60 local activists across the country and train them in video journalism. The end goal is to create a news agency that provides stories on social and rights issues to the main stream media.
Video Volunteers is asking for help in identifying individuals for the programme, who must fulfill the following criteria;
- Associated with social movements, human rights campaigns and/or NGO’s
- Belong to a disadvantaged background
- Strong interest in communicating local stories to the world
- Basic knowledge of computers desirable
- Willingness to work full-time on this project for at least one year
- Can communicate in Hindi or English
‘It features a world map and an interactive timeline that help visualize the story of threats and arrests against bloggers worldwide, and it is a central platform to gather information from the most dedicated organisations and activists, including Committee to Protect Bloggers, The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Reporters without Borders, Human Rights Watch, CyberLaw Blog, Amnesty International, Committee to Protect Journalists, Global Voices Advocacy.
The site will attempt to track and map the suppression of bloggers to gather more accurate data on when, where and to what extent threats are taking place and help develop strategies and partnerships to help defend bloggers and on-line activists.
The map is interactive, allowing people to submit reports on individuals, creating a ‘blogger profile’, as well as look at different views. For example click on a country and see the individuals threatened there.
And filter by type of threat. The screen shot below is by ‘arrest,’ and allows you to click on one individual, from where you can find out more info. You need to zoom in on some countries as it gets a bit cluttered and difficult to pick them out (especially on Egypt and China who appear to be in a race of their own to be ‘the world’s worst’! which I guess Egypt leads due to size of population?).
The pages on individuals will be populated by articles about the blogger. It would also be nice to see some of their own articles too. Another addition, which does not appear to be there at present is a ‘Take Action‘ button that takes you to current actions by participating partner NGOs.
Linked to the site are a range of other projects that provide tools and information useful to bloggers and those working for their defence, including the ‘Access Denied‘ map looking at on-line censorship.
All in all it looks like a cracking initiative and a good use of maps to provide info and, hopefully, encourage activism.
I don’t really focus on information technology, but seeing as this involves use of digital images I thought it worth posting. So, here is a short video brought to my attention by the excellent Osocio. It is a promo by The Tactical Tech Collective on how rights activists are using the internet for activism. The full length film will be released at the Front Line Club in London in December. Worth looking out for.
Although we have come a long way since online activism consisted of sending an email to the Prime Minister of some country doing bad stuff, we should not get too dazzled by the tech. As one of the activists says in the video ‘basically we are using new tools to do old fashioned activism.’ Some of the tech makes it easier to reach more people, and for them to take action. Some allows us to do stuff we couldn’t do before (e.g sat images). Yet much of the principles are the same – witness and petition style activism. Not necessarily a bad thing, but as things become easier and sparkly I wonder if we get a bit lazy in our thinking – a bit like moving from a film to digital camera, where we get a bit trigger happy?
I constantly come across activism sites and actions that appear to be generating tiny responses, and using tactics that are dubious given their targets. It is not that one tool or tactic is necessarily better than the other, but that we use what is appropriate in order to have impact. Obvious, I know. But still we have poor use of photographs lacking mechanisms for action, videos with no audience, celebrity endorsement drowning out local voices etc. With so much activism taking place on-line and so much content being produced I am often stunned by where to look next and why people aren’t giving their work more thought? And believe me, I have time to look at a LOT of stuff – I am on a one year sabbatical given over to researching this. Thankfully the picture is not all bad, in fact it is rather inspiring, its just that the good stuff is in the minority at the moment. I guess this is inevitable as people grapple with these new toys – again, like learning to use your first digital camera, and realising that in the end it will make you a better photographer.
But with so much to look at and get involved in I wonder whether the good stuff will rise quickly enough to the top? I have this image in my head that this so-called digital revolution is like the Big Bang. It has produced trillions of bits flying around in space that will gradually gravitate into useful groupings and linkages. There will still be trillions of bits being produced but the useful stuff will be more easily accessible and we will be able to find quicker routes to it.
Even when we begin to use the new media with more skill and greater impact we will still need to improve our coordination to make sure the best quality ideas, images and video get used. Strategy, content and coalitions will all still be key.
I just saw this thanks to Susanne Ure on Twitter. There is very little info beyond that some royalities are paid via a micro credit facility to the subjects of the photos (who sign a model release form at the time the photo is taken). World Portraits is partnering on this initiative with UK stock agency Image Source. If anyone knows any more please let me know.
YouTube has added a cool new feature for those using its Non-profit programme. Basically, it allows you to put links leading to external sites in your videos. The links will appear in the ‘annotations‘ you add to your videos (the ‘annotations’ feature allows you to overlay a text box in a video. Here for more details). This means that rather than just going on to watch another video after viewing yours, NGOs can lead people to sites where they can take action or donate money. Regular readers of The Rights Exposure Project will know how keen I am on providing appropriate mechanisms for action to accompany visual media, so for me this is a big improvement. Well done YouTube.
For a quick run through of the new feature watch the video below where Michael Hoffman of See3 Communications explains.
Launched in 2007, Good 50×70 is an independent, non-profit initiative aiming to ‘promote the value of social communication in the creative community, provide charities with a (free) database of communication tools, and inspire the public via graphic design.’
Good 50×70′s work revolves around an annual contest to design posters confronting seven of the critical issues affecting today’s world. Seven charities each provide a brief on a global issue. Anyone who wishes can enter a poster on any topic that inspires them. The best 30 responses to each brief are collected in a catalogue and exhibited around the world. All the posters entered are supplied to the charities for them to use as potential communication tools.