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.

Whilst there are a number of projects presently looking at the impact of video, particular feature documentaries, none focus specifically on participatory, activist and majority world contexts. Many also tend to emphasise quantitative over qualitative measures. Beyond the hits, clicks and tweets, we are interested in how the process of production and distribution influences participants, how video can move people beyond passive “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 represents.

Led by EngageMedia and MIT’s Open Documentary Lab, this project will comprise of three key components:

  1. Impact research designed to share and develop video4change practices and strategies for creating and measuring impact.
  2. Community building and knowledge sharing among video makers, campaigners and video4change organisations to the foster sharing of effective and ineffective strategies. The community will be convened through the website, online events and discussions and presentations.
  3. A toolkit that will provide a flexible framework to support video4change initiatives and organisations to design for and measure impact.

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.

The project 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.

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.

You can read the summary of the first stage of the research here.

This research is supported by the Oak Foundation and Hivos. We are however still seeking further funds, if you are interested to assist please contact us.