Social Impact Symposium: Speakers & Abstracts

Angela Aguayo

Angela J. Aguayo is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Cinema Studies and Dean’s Fellow in the College of Media at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is a scholar-media artist specialising in participatory and engaged cinema.

Her most recent book, Documentary Resistance: Social Change and Participatory Media (Oxford University Press, 2019) investigates the political impact and democratic possibilities of engaged production practice. Aguayo is an award winning writer, director and producer of documentary shorts utilised in community engagement campaigns, screening at festivals and museums around the world.

Related links:

Angela Aguayo will hold her presentation in the panel "Impact Strategies: Reaching Audiences, Working with Communities" on 12th August, 18.00 - 19.00 (CEST).

Angela Aguayo

Abstract: "The Documentary Commons as Political Action: Establishing Critical and Ethical Impact Assessment"

We are living in a historical moment known for its emphasis on media engagement and anticipated impact. The evolution of mobile media technology, the ubiquity of social media, and the omnipresence of multiple media platforms have led to new and evolving modes of interaction as well as magical thinking about the infinite possibilities to create change with the documentary impulse. The interactive conditions of digital culture align with a significant historical moment: growing political and social upheaval, economic crisis, dissatisfaction with representative government, and disillusionment with state institutions. While the documentary genre is frequently conceptualised as a democratic tool with civic potential, the way it functions in the process of social change is variable, contingent and riddled with ethical considerations. The advocacy film is a time-honored tradition in documentary history, made specifically for the aims of democratic exchange and yet the documentary industry is slow in confronting its own political tourism legacies, recording social injustices where the most significant benefit of production serves filmmakers and not the communities on the screen. While the commercial documentary industry has embraced a top-down impact model, there is another grassroots participatory media model worth considering as an ethical pathway to redistributive justice with the documentary impulse. This presentation will focus on contemporary production practices within this evolving public commons where documentary moving image discourse is a vibrant pathway of political exchange. Focusing on the relationship between documentary and collective organising in the US historical context, the presentation will suggest that participatory, collective and community media practices can be harnessed to correct the tendencies of problematic tourism and surface level transformation.

Naima Alam

Naima Alam is a media scholar in the Centre for Media Competence (ZFM) at the University of Tübingen, Germany. There she is part of an interdisciplinary Occupational Health Management (OHM) project titled BGM vital, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

She is also working on her doctoral thesis focusing on the utilities of explainer animations in development communication. Her research interests lie in the various roles of animation in development communication, social awareness, health literacy, and political activism.

Related links:

Naima Alam will hold her presentation in the panel "Fictional Forms and Impact" on 13th August, 15.00 - 16.30 (CEST).

Naima Alam

Abstract: “Narrative Strategies for Animated Development Communication – Examples from BRAC in Bangladesh”

This presentation undertakes a detailed analysis of animated explainer videos from BRAC (Building Resources Across Communities), the largest NGO in Bangladesh, to demonstrate the use of locally customised narrative strategies for development communication. Established in 1972, the year after the Bangladesh’s independence, BRAC was ranked number one NGO on March 2020 by NGO Advisor, an independent Geneva-based media organisation. Referring to narrative strategies suggested by global animation practitioners, the chapter provides details on creating two kinds of explainer videos, expository and instructional. These narrative strategies, “Meet Bob,” “Announcement,” and “Process Overview,” outline ways of incorporating complex information into short videos in a concise and efficient manner. Although the animation examples chosen for this presentation are aimed towards creating awareness for women’s rights issues these strategies are applicable to other development communication topics.

Florence Ayisi

Florence Ayisi is professor of International Documentary Film at the Faculty of Creative Industries, University of South Wales, where she teaches and researches diverse aspects of documentary film theory and practice, identity politics and transnational cinema. She has taught film and media studies for over 25 years at several HEIs in the U.K. Ayisi’s research focuses on expanding revisionist dialogues around the decolonisation of African cultures, gender identity, cultural heritage, and spectatorship from Pan-African and woman-centred perspectives, within a transnational context and postcolonial framework.

She has extensive experience of producing documentary filmsin international contexts with resulting impact. Her most recent documentary film, The Bronze Men of Cameroon (2020)has been selected and programmed at several international film festivals and has won several awards. In 2017, Zanzibar Soccer Dreams(co-directed with Catalin Brylla, 2016) was shortlisted for the prestigious AHRC Research in Film Awards; International Development Award – Mobilising Global Voices category.

Florence Ayisi will hold her presentation in the panel "Non-Fictional Forms and Impact" on 13th August, 13.00 - 14.30 (CEST).

Florence Ayisi

Abstract: "Bridging North-South Divide through Documentary Film"

This presentation discusses the social impact of Zanzibar Soccer Queens (ZSQ - Florence Ayisi, 2007). The documentary presents a portrait of Women Fighters’, a group of Muslim women determined and proud to redefine their positions through playing football, while calmly resisting the cultural ‘norms’ of how a woman is supposed to behave. The impact of ZSQ has been profound through local and international reach with a ‘ripple effect’.

The research context and conceptual framework for ZSQ was based around postcolonial revisionist dialogues of decolonising the cinematic gaze with specific reference to cultural representations of African People. The research aimed to communicate perspectives, lived experiences of women and their identity, and visible evidence of an African that has changed and continues to transform. This objective reflects the broad agenda of Third Cinema. Hence, the research for ZSQ employed ethnographic methods in mediating and unveiling the women’s stories, documenting their activities and subjective perspectives in ways that would engage and enhance audience empathy on an emotional level. The process of documenting the women’s stories and activities represents some of the ideas of “strategic impact documentary” proposed by Kate Nash and John Corner (2016). It is in this context that the film aimed to be strategic in engaging and enhancing audience empathy on an emotional level.

ZSQ was disseminated widely and screened at numerous international festivals with resultant local-global impact. For the players, the film was a catalyst for renegotiating their identities and transcending their stigmatised status of “hooligans” to become “cultural ambassadors” when they were invited to Potsdam (Germany) in 2009; this was the first impact activity enabled by the film.

Their visit became the impetus for facilitating dialogue amongst different stakeholders, and inspiring strategic links between Potsdam and Zanzibar (Tanzania), which eventually led to a Town Twinning Partnership in 2017.

The ‘Sister Cities’ partnership has delivered a vast array of projects and engagement activities which are ongoing in both cities and are having significant impact and benefits. These include exchange visits, environmental projects, community development initiatives, renovation of a botanic garden. These projects are creating impacts into the environment, social welfare, culture, and society, and manifesting rich, and tangible benefits for people in both cities.

The presentation will discuss some of the partnership projects, the impacts, and resultant benefits. It will also offer provocations and reflections on the dynamics of global citizenship, and the role of documentary film in bridging gaps of cultural understanding and representations in cross-cultural contexts.


The presentation will include short video clips to explain and evidence some of the projects, engagement activities and impact claims.

Zanzibar Soccer Queens - Full-length film is on Vimeo and YouTube.

John Corner

John Corner is Visiting Professor in Media and Communication at the University of Leeds and Professor Emeritus of the University of Liverpool. Since the 1970s he has published widely on media history, documentary, political communication and cultural analysis in international journals and in books.

His monographs include Television Form and Public Address (1995) , The Art of Record (1996) Critical Ideas in Television Studies (1999), Political Culture and Media Genre (with Kay Richardson and Katy Parry, 2011) and Theorising Media (2014). His edited works include Documentary and the Mass Media (1986), New Challenges for Documentary (2nd edition with Alan Rosenthal, 2000) and Soundings: Documentary Film and the Listening Experience (with Geoffrey Cox, 2018).

John Corner will hold an introduction to the discussion on "Strategies and Ethics of Impact" on 12th August, 19.15 - 20.15 (CEST).


John Corner

Frédéric Dubois

Frédéric Dubois is a journalist and producer of digital media, currently completing a research-creation PhD in film production at the Film University Babelsberg. His thesis is entitled 'Interactive documentary production and societal impact: the case of Field Trip'. Previously, he did practice-based research on alternative and community media, as well as internet-based communications.

He edited two books, Autonomous Media (2005)and Extraction! Comix Reportage (2007), and authored award-winning interactive storytelling features such as Atterwasch (2014)and Field Trip (2019). He is the Managing editor of Internet Policy Review - an open access journal on internet regulation published by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Berlin.

Related links:

Frédéric Dubois will hold his presentation in the panel "Conceptualisations of Impact" on 12th August, 16.30 - 17.30 (CEST).

Frédéric Dubois

Abstract: "A Maker-inclusive Understanding of Impact"

Critique of widespread impact models  

Audio-visual media impact is often referred to out of context. Some use it rhetorically to sound serious, others use it in a quantitative manner only, without any consideration for the qualitative aspects. Others again consider the psychological impact rather than a psycho-social impact or the impact on democracy.  

Grant committees within public funding agencies, public broadcasters or foundations, as well as juries within the interactive documentary (i-doc) niche - a dynamic subset of audio-visual media - have in many cases developed criteria for evaluating digital storytelling productions. The value of an interactive documentary is there often solely established on the basis of quantitative and easy to measure metrics… and this is where the main critique of makers and scholars vis-à-vis this model resides.  

What is more, in research on i-doc impact, widespread impact models tend to be biased towards the impediment of technical innovation, bent towards commercial objectives or easy to measure criteria. By better contextualising and detailing the notion of impact with the help of applied knowledge, we can offer a reference point.  

The reason why impact is such a central notion is because it reflects the ethics, culture and values that can be drawn from the production of digital documentary processes. 

Integrative model of impact 

Based on the grounded impact expectations of i-doc makers inducted from my own doctoral research, the common characteristics of i-docs, as well as latest impact literature, I will present a Multilayer impact framework that differentiates between product and process.  

Forms of impact developing during the process of production 

The main forms of impact developing during the process of production are what I call the re-use triad, meaning the Content re-use impact (on maker peers; cultural, media and educational sectors), the Format re-use impact (on maker peers; cultural, media and educational sectors) and the Tech re-use impact (on maker peers; cultural, media and educational sectors). Additionally, there are four other impact forms that I will explain: Common ground impact (on maker peers); the Workflow impact (on maker peers; media and cultural institutions); the Positioning impact (on maker peers; media and cultural institutions) and, the Partnership-induced impact (on cultural, media and educational sectors). 

The aim of this session is to identify hard to measure impact criteria while challenging traditional impact models. 

Patricia Finneran

Patricia is founder of Story Matterswhich creates innovative content, impact distribution strategies and media arts programs at the intersection of non-fiction and social engagement. She is dedicated to connecting media artists and movement leaders with funders, platforms and partners to advance social good, and support a vibrant public media ecosystem. At Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program she was Creative Producer for the Sundance|Skoll Stories of Change programs, and represented the documentary fund at forums around the world.

As Director of SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival from 2003 to 2008, she led its growth to become the largest documentary festival in the US and created the International Documentary Conference. Most recently, she led Doc Society’s Good Pitch Local program which seeds pro-social media partnerships for local artists and organisers in five US cities.

Related links:

Patricia Finneran will hold her presentation in the panel „Impact Strategies: Reaching Audiences, Working with Communities“ on 12th August, 18.00 - 19.00 (CEST).

Patricia Finneran

Abstract: “Pandemic Effects on Media Impact Campaigns”

Effective A/V media impact campaigns rely on a great story well told.  Impact strategy is about how to reach and engage audiences and inspire action. How has the pandemic affected this work, and what do practitioners need to learn to move forward?  How might academic researchers share actionable information so that those stories that have the power to advance positive social change, actually do so?

Let’s start with the essentials. First, story matters, and visual storytelling is particularly powerful.  After leaving the White House Barack and Michelle Obama (who know a thing or two about communicating and leading change) created a media production company, “We created Higher Ground to tell great stories,” noted the former President.  Their first documentary “Crip Camp” was Oscar-nominated, which led to the first fully accessible Oscar ceremony, and a revitalised conversation on disability rights.

Second, the pandemic made undeniable the need for human connection. Media Impact Producers have long known the value of the shared viewing experience. “Community screenings” are the sine qua non of this work. 

The virtual gatherings that replaced in-person experiences offered the benefits of expanded reach and greater access, if not the beautiful contagion of laughing together in a movie theatre.

The new reach and access were amplified by a global reckoning on racial justice, all  highlighting the necessity of equity from production through distribution.  As storytellers and impact producers we are accountable to the communities whose stories we document and share. Indeed, campaigns that are not co-created with communities may be doomed to fail.

From a practical perspective, campaign strategy starts with identifying goals and key audiences to help achieve them, then mapping how to reach the relevant people. Impact Producers rely on partner organisations to reach both off-line and on-line audiences. Evaluation is both qualitative and quantitative, and notoriously challenging.

In this talk, we will explore how campaign strategy and activation changed during the pandemic, and ask what we should carry forward from this collective experience?  (And what do we leave behind?)  As society returns to a new normal, how might we reimagine community in a post pandemic world? 

Peter Hartwig

Peter Hartwig was born in Babelsberg and studied there at the "Konrad Wolf" Academy for Film and Television. Since completing his studies, he has been involved in over 65 films in various areas of production - as producer, production manager and line producer.

With his own label kineo, Peter Hartwig produced the first TV movie by Andreas Dresen "Das andere Leben des Herrn Kreins" in 1993, in 2008 based on a script by Wolfgang Kohlhaase "Haus und Kind" (TV movie award Baden-Baden) with Andreas Kleinert, in 2011 as co-producer for Denis Dercourt`s "Zum Geburtstag" and in 2014 "Der Fall Bruckner" (Urs Egger). In 2010 and 2015 Peter Hartwig was awarded as "Fairest Producer of Germany" for the productions "Goethe!" and "Der Fall Bruckner". For the latter he received the Grimme Prize in 2015. Peter Hartwig has now worked and produced twice with Nora Fingscheidt. After the award-winning documentary WITHOUT THIS WORLD he also produced her feature film debut SYSTEMCRASHER. The film won the SILVER BEAR at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival 2019. Since then it has won over 28 awards at over 65 national and international festivals and was a German candidate for the OSCAR 2020.

Peter Hartwig will hold his presentation in the panel "Fictional Forms and Impact" on 13th August, 15.00 - 16.30 (CEST).

Peter Hartwig

Abstract: "From the Middle of Society – The Audience is More Mature than Some Decision Makers Think"

The example of the successful German drama “Systemsprenger” (“System Crasher”, 2019), is used to show how to produce and distribute a fiction feature film that also addresses the social relevance of depicted issues - in this case in the field of childcare and therapy. The film reached more than 650,000 viewers in German cinemas and more than 5 million on free TV in Germany. But, it has also raised awareness of the issues in local and regional governments, nursing homes, schools and other institutions. The presentation also explores how television broadcasters and film sponsors can promote 'committed filmmaking'. Ultimately, the key question is: Which attitude and consciousness should one adopt when producing films?

Samantha Iwowo

Dr. Samantha Iwowo, is a Senior-lecturer at the Bournemouth University, UK, and a filmmaker who commenced her career as a commissioned screenwriter with South Africa’s cable network, M-Net, writing several episodes of the daily drama series, Tinsel (2008 – present). She has written fifty published screenplays including the award-winning Oloibiri (2016)directed by Academy-Awards winning director, Curtis Graham, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

One of her most recent screenplays, Mugabe (forthcoming), is a biography on Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, commissioned by Theatron Media Inc., Canada. Iwowo is currently in the post-production phase of Paint-Brush, a research drama film into the socio-cultural priming of knife-crime gangs in South-East London involving teenager females.

Related links:

Samantha Iwowo will hold her presentation in the panel "Fictional Forms and Impact" on 13th August, 15.00 - 16.30 (CEST).  

Samantha Iwowo

Abstract: "Scripting and Filming Paint Brush – Exploring the Identity of Black, Teenage and Female in a Nigerian Diaspora Community of Peckham in London”

Using the lenses of Postcolonialism with leanings towards Critical Race Theory, this presentation is based on the research drama-film, Paint Brush (forthcoming), for which I am the screenwriter and director. The discussion will explore tensions of cultural stereotype and hybridity that instruct the construction of the story’s protagonist named Promise, and unpack how her character-arc is created with consideration to the vestigial colonial legacies of migration, in a diasporic Nigerian home, in London.


In this regard, the paper will attempt to underscore how colonial vestiges of inferiorisation (Fanon 1963; Iwowo 2011) and colonial mentality (Fanon 1967;  Wa Thiongo 1992; Kuti 1977) might engender a crisis of cultural-identity in British-Nigerian youths, and amplify their vulnerability towards gangs. It will also argue that the cultural complexities of female characters like Promise can be better understood via the theory of Intersectionality (Crenshaw 2014) and Africana Womanism (Hudson-Weems 2004), rather than of Feminism. Indeed, Ntiri (2001) and posits that the diaspora female of African descent is primarily considered in the context of the dynamics of her race and class, and how they influence her essence.

Ultimately, this paper speaks of a postcolonial research project centred on black (media) representation: One which aims to open a space that includes the contributions of Nigerian diasporic stakeholders, to the subject-matter of knife-crime in London, in which their youths are nuancedly implicated, by UK media.

Key words:Postcolonial storytelling, migration, black female protagonist, cultural tensions, black teenage identity, practice-led research.

Dan Jackson

Dan Jackson is a researcher, educator and consultant in the field of media, communication, sport and politics. His research broadly explores the intersection of media and social change, including the construction of news, mediated disability representation, political communication, and journalistic role performance. He's a former convenor of the Political Studies Association Media and Politics Group and International Liaison for the International Communication Association's Communication and Sport Interest Group.

Alongside colleagues at Bournemouth University, he has led a string of publications around recent elections in the UK and USA. The election analysis reports provide over 80 short and accessible analyses of every part of the election, written by leading academics in the field, all published within ten days of the vote. He was co-investigator on a major AHRC project examining the cultural legacy of the Rio Paralympics, and am currently co-investigator on an AHRC-funded project that examines the role of constructive journalism as a response to the pandemic.

Dan Jackson will hold his presentation in the panel "Non-Fictional Forms and Impact" on 13th August, 13.00 - 14.30 (CEST).

Dan Jackson

Abstract: "Channel 4 and the Paralympics – How a UK Broadcaster is Reframing Disability"

Upon becoming the United Kingdom’s official Paralympic broadcaster for 2012, Channel 4 set out with the explicit intention to “create a nation at ease with disability” according to their Disability Executive, Alison Walsh. They pursued this through a) unprecedented exposure of para sport, including over nine hours a day of live sport, plus extensive build-up programmes, b) a ‘no-holds-barred approach to the portrayal of disabled people’ (Walsh, 2015, p. 49) c) marketing Paralympians to the British public with an emphasis on athlete backstories in order to familiarize audiences with GB para-athletes, and d) developing disabled talent both on screen and in production. All of these practices formed a significant shift from those of the former Paralympic broadcaster, the BBC, and were explicitly aimed at challenging existing media stereotypes (see Pullen, et al., s, 2018).

In this presentation I will present the findings of an AHRC-funded project that examined the intentions and practices of Channel 4’s broadcasting of the Rio 2016 Paralympics; the influence of this on the content of Paralympic coverage and mediated forms of disability representation; and the wider impact on public attitudes toward disability. I will demonstrate the extent to which socially progressive forms of disability representation can and do effect positive social change with respect to disability awareness. I will argue that both the quality and quantity of Paralympic coverage by C4 has been an important vehicle in progressive forms of disability representation marked by greater inclusion, education, and visibility of disability. At the same time, I highlight some of the complexities and contradictions in the Paralympic legacy with respect to issues of inclusion and exclusion, empowerment and disempowerment, and forms of marginalisation.

David Knight

David Knight is the Course Leader for BA (Hons) Film and Televisionat London College of Communication. He brings together a broad spectrum of skills to his professional practice as a director of photography and director at London College of Communication. His portfolio of creative work spans the panoply of the Film and Television industries: sponsorship idents, promos, drama, documentary, television commercials and feature films.

David shot sequences for the worldwide BBC broadcasts of the 2012 Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, installations at the Tate Modern and cinema and online platforms in the UK, Europe and international territories. As an educator, David has taught at many leading film schools and centres for the performing arts. His pedagogical practice includes, but is not limited to, the history of cinema, screen technology, production, cinematography, and directing.

David’s recent collaboration with Amnesty International, a six-part omnibus of investigative films in the ‘Protecting the Human’ series, was distributed at human rights festivals around the world and was screened at the U.S. Congress. This work prompted a presidential address by George W. Bush on waterboarding and human rights abuses by governmental agencies.

David Knight will hold his presentation in the panel "Video for Change" on 13th August, 11.00 - 12.00  (CEST).

Abstract: "Political Campaign Videos and the Pedagogy of Impact"

Coming soon

Bettina Kurz

Bettina Kurz works as a Senior Analyst and Consultant for PHINEOin Berlin, Germany. PHINEO is a think tank and non-profit consultancy for effective societal engagement. PHINEO’s goal is to strengthen civil society by helping those doing good to achieve greater social impact. PHINEO conducts social impact analyses, awards a seal of approval for non-profit organizations and their projects and publishes information on societal issues.


Bettina specializes in impact analysis and impact-oriented organizational and program development. She offers workshops and individualized consulting for nonprofit organizations, foundations and philanthropists. Bettina authored the “Social Impact Navigator”, a practical guidebook for NPOs targeting better results. Prior to working for PHINEO, Bettina worked in the Civil Society program of Bertelsmann Stiftung (Germany). She studied philosophy and political science in Munich and Hamburg.

Bettina Kurz

Abstract: "Social Impact – What, Why and How"

Audiovisual media (mostly) is created to have an impact on people. It aims to touch the audience’s hearts and minds, to challenge the viewers/listeners perspectives and probably to change their attitude and behavior. But how do we know, whether a film, a video or a TV program has the intended social impact? Or an impact at all?

In order to find answers to these questions it is useful to develop a common understanding on what ‘social impact’ is and how it is generated. Here a “theory of change” or a “logic model” can be helpful tools that serve as a starting point for a project that intends to create positive change.

(How) Is this applicable to audiovisual media? Knowing your target audience/group and defining impact goals can be a starting point to think about and to plan for social impact. There are numerous approaches that audiovisual media can choose to have an impact: participatory production, educational formats, creating awareness through advocacy for a certain cause, just to name a few.

Depending on the target audience, the impact goals and the type of project, there are ways to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of an intervention. What tools are useful and what questions should be asked (and answered) in order to gain an understanding of the social impact of an audiovisual media project?

Last but not least audiovisual media is not only a medium to create impact. Audiovisual media itself can be a tool to evaluate impact.

Andrew Lowenthal

Andrew Lowenthal has been working in the field of freedom of expression, open technology, and video for change for more than 20 years. Andrew co-founded EngageMediain 2005. As EngageMedia Executive Director he has built multiple networks, overseen more than a dozen large-scale events and hundreds of workshops, and created a team of more than 30 people across nine countries.

In 2019 EngageMedia launched the Video for Change Impact Toolkit, a resource that focuses on short-form film-making and co-creation methodologies. EngageMedia also run Cinemata, an Asia-Pacific hub for social issue film.

Andrew is currently an Associate at the University of Tasmania, and was previously a Fellow at Harvard’s Film Studies Centerand Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and MIT’s Open Documentary Lab. In 2015, he was a Ford Foundation JustFilmsFellow.

Andrew Lowenthal will hold his presentation in the panel "Video for Change" on 13th August, 11.00 - 12.00 (CEST).

Abstract: "Social Change through Digital Video"

Coming soon

Sue Sudbury

Dr Sue Sudbury is an Associate Professor of Media Practice in the Faculty of Media and Communication at Bournemouth University. As a freelance documentary filmmaker, Sue produced and directed over twenty films for British television and then set up a production company, Sequoia Filmsto make films for both British and international markets.

Her personal research interests include auto and visual ethnography, participatory filmmaking and gender and political issues. Village Tales (2016)won many film festival awards including the Arts and Humanities Research Council Film Award for Innovation in 2016. Sue’s feature documentary Indian Space Dreams (2019)has been broadcast in over 100 countries and was long-listed for the 2021 Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary.

Related links:

Sue Sudbury will hold her presentation in the panel "Non-Fictional Forms and Impact" on 13th August, 13.00 - 14.30 (CEST).

Sue Sudbury

Abstract: "Village Tales – Creative Practice and the Challenges of Evidencing Impact"

The aim of this film practice was to research the notion of ‘the everyday’ and to contribute to methodological discourses. I asked four of the twelve women, who were being trained to be video reporters by a local Indian government project, if they would use their cameras to film their everyday lives. For me, it was important that the women were in control of image production so after giving the four filming groups blank tapes, I left them to individually decide what to film and how to film it. I then filmed them as they shot their own government project film and asked them questions in ‘video diary interviews’ to produce five different sources of footage that were edited together so that the filmmaker/researcher’s voice and the voice of the subjects were ‘blended in such a manner as to make it impossible to discern which voice dominates the work…films where outsider and insider visions coalesce’ (Ruby, 1991).


When asked to develop an Impact Case Study, I soon discovered the challenges in evidencing the scale of impact that was claimed by the women. In this paper, I reflect on what I would have done differently from the beginning and in what ways I think creative practice can successfully demonstrate real and measurable impact.

Key words: rural India; participatory filmmaking; visual ethnography; impact