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Welcome to my place - Video Workshop Manual


This manual is based on the workshops organised in February 2010 for the Transition Finsbury Park association. Participants are invited to choose places that are important to them, optionally within a …

This manual is based on the workshops organised in February 2010 for the Transition Finsbury Park association. Participants are invited to choose places that are important to them, optionally within a defined perimeter, and to welcome viewers through videos.

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  • 1. Welcome to My Place: Video Workshop Manual Page 1Welcome to My Place: Video Workshop ManualBy Christophe Bruchansky and James Thomson, May 2010AimThis video activity is meant for people of any age and background to share the places that matter tothem. It can be used as:a. A tool to better understand the identity of a place or area (e.g. in the context of anethnographic study).b. An introduction to a collective urban planning effort (e.g. a design charrette, or in combination with a community mappingexercise (see for example study: Welcome to Finsbury ParkThis manual is based on the workshops organised between February and March 2010 with theTransition Finsbury Park Association ( Transition Finsbury Park Association wants to find ways ofliving that are based on localised food production, sustainableenergy sources, lively local economies and an enlivened senseof community, rather than on cheap and polluting oil. It waslooking for new ways to engage with local communities, and soorganized these Welcome to My Place workshops. See the videos made at the workshops: Read more about the Finsbury Park use case and the conclusions we drew from theworkshops: concept is easy to grasp: participants are invited to choose places that are important to them,optionally within a specific area marked out on a map by the organizers. The participants are thenasked to create videos of less than one minute which welcome viewers to their place.It is designed to be easily understandable by both children and adults, while offering enoughfreedom for creativity and artistic expression. The concept is the result of a series of brainstormingsessions and tests made in collaboration with Nathan Johnson from the small world project( The welcome practice is very rich and expressive, andparticipants can welcome the viewers in many ways.Here are two variants of the activity.
  • 2. Welcome to My Place: Video Workshop Manual Page 2Option 1: Conducting a workshop1. Prepare the material:a. Find someone who has a digital camera or a mobile phone that can capture videos.Make sure the videos can be transferred from the camera to the computer wherethey will be edited. The simplest way is to provide the participants with your owncameras.b. Choose your video editing software. We recommend Windows Movie Maker forWindows, which is free and easy to use. We used Sony Vegas Studio, which requiresa little more practice but provides more functionality. Many other options areavailable on the market.2. Introduce the project to the participants and ask each of them to think about a place thatmatters to him or her. We advise you do this introduction a week before the day of theworkshop. From our experience, the results are better when the participants have time tomeditate on their choice.a. Insist that the places they choose need to hold personal value to them.b. Make any restriction in choosing their place clear. Should it be in a specific area, orcan it be anywhere? Should it be a public place? Can the same place be chosen byother participants?c. If they need help choosing a place, offer a wide range of examples but insist that thechoice is up to them. The place can be a room, a street, a park, a building, aneighbourhood, or even the whole city – anything the participants can think of.d. Explain how the participants will create the videos (see point 3)e. Mention whether the videos will be published or not, and where. Being part of apublic exhibition can be motivating, but it can also worry some parents in case youare working with children.3. Shoot the videos:a. Split participants into small groups of between two and four people, each with onecamera and accompanied by one facilitator. (5 minutes)b. Ask the groups to choose between two and four places where they would like tofilm. Draw a quick itinerary on a map before leaving. (15 minutes)c. Make sure the groups have enough time not only to film their places, but also to gofrom one place to another. (something like one hour)
  • 3. Welcome to My Place: Video Workshop Manual Page 3d. When you give the camera to a participant, you are handing over power, so do notask for it back during the session: as the facilitator, you should help the group only ifneeded. Filming a video requires a cameraman, maybe a presenter and/or actors,even a director, a writer, and some technicians – depending on the group’sambitions. Negotiating who gets these roles within the group is part of the creativeprocess. It is up to the participants to choose how they welcome the viewers to theirplace, whether by standing in front of the camera or talking from behind.i. A short presentation before heading out to make the videos might help theparticipants – show them a few examples of videos (from our Welcome toMy Place database for example). If you have children in your group, showthem photos of television/film sets and give them a brief explanation ofeach role (presenter, actors, director, technicians, etc.).ii. While you are on your way to the first location, ask who is going to befilming, who will be presenting, etc.iii. On location – it is a good idea to use sentences like ‘3..2..1.. action’ to getthe ball rolling. As facilitator, you may need to play the director at first -particularly if you are working with children. However, the participants willquickly pick up the rules of the game, and fingers crossed, start playing ontheir own.Initially, participants might find it difficult to describe their place. If this is the case,ask them questions that can help to prompt them into action: Where are you? Whydo you like this place? Why is this place important to you? What would you say ifyou welcomed a friend to this place?4. Edit the videosa. We edited the videos ourselves, but if the participants are keen to edit their ownvideos, it could become part of another editing workshop.b. We decided to organize a second workshop for our group of children where theywatched their videos and made drawings of the places they had just seen. You couldthen add pictures of the drawings at the beginning or the end of the videos, furtheradding to the children’s perspective.Option 2: Asking for individual contributions1. Prepare the material and introduce the project, see option 12. Make the videos
  • 4. Welcome to My Place: Video Workshop Manual Page 4o The most effective approach is to ask participants to film the places that matter tothem while commenting on what they see from behind the camera. It provides moreinsight into their perspective and is easier for beginners.o That being said, participants should still be free to film their places the way theywant and present them in front of the camera, in one or several shots.o Keep an eye on the one-minute time limit. It might be challenging, but it is necessaryin order to make the screening of all videos manageable.o Participants can either edit the videos themselves or let someone else do it. Thesecond option may alter what they initially wanted to convey, but is necessary to getpeople who are less interested in video-making involved.
  • 5. Welcome to My Place: Video Workshop Manual Page 5What to do with the videosThe usage of the videos depends on your objectives.1. Organizing a screening for the participants and others to talk about the places that havebeen filmed is a good way to kick-off a discussion about a place’s identity (e.g. an area, a cityor a building). This is what we did to introduce the subjective maps workshop describedhere: Collecting of wider range of documents about a place that could inform further research onits identity.3. Creating of a public exhibition. The videos could change the public’s perception about aplace, raise awareness, or provide informative insights. Make sure you have the permissionof the authors and the people that were filmed (or in the case of children – parentalpermission). This manual has been written as part of the Welcome to My Place project andwe encourage everyone to publish their videos in our Vimeo group, so that it can make up aglobal catalogue of what places mean today: hope that this manual will be useful. If you plan to use it for one of your own activities, please letus know how it goes: for reading,Christophe Bruchansky and James Thomson