Documentary film

Work with us: Community-driven research inspiring change is a 20-minute film produced in collaboration with communities around the world as part of the Participate initiative. The film recorded over six months in seven countries provides an opportunity for some of the most marginalised people to communicate directly to decision-makers. From disabled people living in slums in Bangladesh to indigenous people protecting their rights in Mexico, it looks at some of the insights and stories that can emerge from participatory research, and what this contributes to the policy arena.

The purpose of the film is to both illustrate the kinds of knowledge that emerge through participatory research, and how change can happen. It highlights the need for ongoing commitment, involvement, and support from decision-makers for collaborative dialogue and action.

The participants in the film worked with the filmmakers to plan the content identifying the stories they wanted to tell and how they wanted to communicate them. The film places the participants at the centre of their own stories in the locations where they live. The participants in the film speak directly to the audience in their own language presenting and exploring the context of their stories.  The stories, messages and perspectives that emerge provide background to how change can happen and the challenges in dealing with complex issues.

The film also explores how participatory processes can be more than a means for community-driven storytelling. As strategies for action research, they can enable deeper sense-making through participant-led exploration and dialogue. The film shows the value of participatory processes in generating deeper contextual insight missed by other methods, and why participatory dialogue between marginalised groups and decision-makers is important, and how it can contribute to policy development.

Real Time logo The film was produced by Real Time, a professional media organisation specialising in using participatory video and other visual methods to structure collaborative action-research processes. As well as producing the documentary film Real Time convened the visual methods programme, which supported partners in using visual participatory research techniques, including participatory video, to build ground level understanding of the realities of poverty, and generate dialogue with decision-makers.