Nick’s passion for Participatory Video began in 1996 when he set up Right Angle Productions (RAP), a participatory video charity working with youth on intercultural exchange and environmental issues. His work rapidly demonstrated how video could be used to help disadvantaged Oxfordshire youth rapidly grow in self-confidence and take action to improve the quality of life in their own communities. As RAP went on to branch into music, dance and graffiti projects, Nick’s interests led him to work with a wider spectrum of marginalized groups from homeless people and refugees to those suffering from mental health problems.
In the meantime, Chris was working as a social researcher as part of a multi-disciplinary team with pastoralists in Kazakhstan. He became frustrated with traditional research methods, which led him to wonder whether Participatory Video could be applied to this context, replacing extractive reports with local reflection and the creation of homegrown video messages.
Nick and Chris pooled their experience in 1999 to set up Small World Action Projects, renamed InsightShare in 2003.Through combining Participatory Video with the growing body of participatory approaches to research and development, a powerful and effective methodology started to evolve. They were soon joined by other likeminded individuals and through an ongoing critical and reflective approach the widening team continued to innovate and develop the tools and processes into those rigorous techniques applied and taught by InsightShare today.
InsightShare’s story reflects a continual effort to achieve as far-reaching and long-term impacts as possible. In the early days Participatory Video interventions were carried out by InsightShare facilitators working with a local partner who would be “trained on the job”. By 2003, we had recognised the limitations of this approach. Today most of our projects are carried out by local facilitators drawn from NGO staff and community representatives, who are trained and supported by InsightShare within the framework of a wider capacity building process (see the How We Work section for more on our approach).
We continue to work with like-minded NGO partners, researchers and donors around the world but are now more focused than ever on developing greater community ownership over the tools. Not only should the process be led and facilitated by community members but they should also be the agents that initiate projects and spread the methodology regionally and beyond. InsightShare and local partners work with these community facilitators to support their learning and growth and to sustain this growing network of autonomous and sustainable Community Media Hubs.
The InsightShare team invites you to join with us and all the partners, supporters, facilitators and communities that are making this a truly positive global story for our time!