v4c Impact Research Yogyakarta

Earlier this month at our EngageMedia office in Yogyakarta, Indonesia we hosted a consultation session with organisations that are using video as an approach to create or support social change. This consultation is the first in a series we have planned to gather feedback on our draft Video for Change Impact toolkit (read more about this project here).
Contributing to the vibrant discussion were representatives from Kampung Halaman, Film Festival Dokumenter, Kotak Hitam, Rumah Poros, and the Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA).

After a casual lunch reception and introductions, we introduced the Video for Change Impact Research Project and Toolkit, running through the rationale, the structure and key components, including the ethical principles that underpin the toolkit’s framework. We then gathered feedback and stories of impact and experiences of impact assessment from the attendees.

One of the important insights provided by the participants was that our list of Video for Change approaches (see below) was missing a few categories. First we discussed how a number of the attendees were using Video Archiving as an approach to social change. This was important to the attendees whose work is focused on ensuring that alternative histories and stories are not lost and that they are made accessible.

After some discussion, we found that this Video for Change approach was unique since its values, concerns and priorities are different to the others we have listed. Similarly the attendees found that Oral History and Testimony was missing from our list of approaches and we discussed how this category was particularly important to indigenous communities and communities being exploited by governments and corporations; while this category has some cross-over with the approach we call ‘Digital Storytelling’ there are also distinct differences. We have now added these two categories to out list of Video for Change approaches (see below table).

Our consultation also included a session where the participants were asked to reflect on their own and their organisation’s ethical principles and to consider how these influenced their work. While all the attendees had some ethical concerns specific to their own work and working style, there was broad agreement that the four ethical principles that underpin the draft toolkit’s framework (Power Analysis, Participation and Inclusion, Accountability, Risk Mitigation) are all very important to Video for Change initiatives. A number of the participants discussed how, in particular, it was difficult it was to think through the potential risks associated with projects, particularly in unstable environments. They agreed it would be useful to have a framework to help assess and mitigate risks.

The Video for Change Impact Toolkit is expected to go into a testing phase in early 2015 and to be released to the broader public later next year. If you would like to contribute to the toolkit or become a toolkit-testing partner, please let us know. We’d also really appreciate inputs from any Video for Change practitioners via our short survey; these inputs are helping inform the Video for Change Impact Toolkit’s ongoing development.

Video for Change Approach*

Core values/functions/practices
Participatory video and community video
  • Providing access to media-making tools, technologies and training as well as access to targeted audiences
  • Can focus on addressing social inequalities and supporting marginalised groups to tell their own stories
  • Critical thinking/analysis (particularly in relation to development and politics)
  • Project self-reflexivity (reflecting on the [project)
  • Focus on locally-led change and on collective action
  • Often has focus on providing local actors will full ownership and control over footage and all editing and distribution decisions
  • Emphasises local knowledge
Social documentary video
  • Exposing a problem/issue with journalistic principles
  • Broad outreach and audience participation
Video advocacy
  • Addressing specific and targeted law, policy or practice change or influence on a particular event/ongoing situation
  • The ability to resonate with specific and targeted audiences and participant communities based on a strategy that sets out how law, policy or practice change can come about
Communication for development and communication for change (where video is used)
  • Inclusive social, economic and political development
  • Reflective, critical discourses relating to development plans, practices and outcomes
  • Supporting marginalized communities to impact on development
  • Providing access to media tools, technologies and training as well as access to targeted audience
Citizen journalism video
  • Supporting broader publics to report on the issues that matter to them
  • Supporting the production and distribution of local news and media
Witnessing video
  • Exposing/addressing rights abuses or social justice issues through the collection of visual evidence. Can involve raw video from direct witnessing of an event or personal testimony documentation
Digital storytelling
  • Emphasis on intimate and personal experience as an approach to change-making
  • Focus on personal story as a form of empowerment
  • Focus on supporting people to tell their own stories, in their own voices
  • Sometimes emphasises the building up of collective memory and/or community building through story sharing
Change-focused video memes, remixes and mash-ups, and curated collections
  • Emphasis on engagement with issues through media
  • Supporting people not affected by an issue (who may be located in another country) to become advocates
  • Emphasis on creative commons licensing and the value of remix/participatory cultures
  • Curated collections can focus on amplifying the reach of videos (whether online or through screening events) or serve to bring different videos together to tell a larger story
Video Archiving
  • Emphasises knowledge creation and access to knowledge
  • Focuses on documentation of events and histories that may otherwise be ignored or forgotten
  • Emphasis on taking responsibility for collecting and making videos available to the right people (may not be public access)
Oral history/testimony
  • Emphasises knowledge creation and access to knowledge
  • Often plays a special role in indigenous communities and ensuring local knowledge and languages are not lost
  • May restrict access to this knowledge where it considered appropriate to do so
  • Focus is often on ensuring people are able to record the stories and histories they feel must be recorded


*A note on this Approaches to Video for Change Table: While we describe these video-making approaches as unique in this table, we also recognise from our interviews with Video for Change practitioners, that these are not fixed concepts and nor are they necessarily distinct and separate categories. Very often Video for Change practitioners refer to backgrounds, training and experience with a number of these different approaches and thus they combine them when it make sense to do so; they also use the same terms in different ways.