We were invited to train as Community Reporters by Creative Minds at an event held at the Mental Health Museum in Fieldhead Hospital in Wakefield.
Community Reporters is a movement to encourage people across the world to share stories from their own communities.
We at CoActive encourage our members to develop a range of skills through creative ways from dance and drama to life skills, art and film-making, so we were excited to use our digital skills and train as reporters.
The course was held inside the Mental Health Museum which is full of artefacts old and new - which was a fitting place to be learning reporter skills through digital technology.
Rachael and Dan from CoActive’s steering group and Sophie who facilitates workshops on blogging, vlogging, film-making and journalism, all attended the two-day training course.
Here Rachael shares her experience of the training workshop:
Me, Dan and Sophie went to a course for two days The course was called community reporter training. We talked about about mental health and how it affects us and how we deal with it. We also filmed ourselves about creativity and how it helps us and makes us feel.
“Soft and Fluffy”
We also discussed as a group how often creativity is seen as “soft and fluffy” in the medical world when it comes to treating people with mental health problems. But actually, everyone in the group finds creativity a necessary tool to help their mental health.
The training involved an overview of what community reporters do as well as lots of practical elements for people to share their own stories through video and audio means.
Rachael also booked CoActive to return to the Mental Health Museum for a future session.
It was great to see how capable Rachael and Dan are of using digital technology. They both took initiative too to share the skills they have learnt.
The course also gave Sophie time out from delivering to realise how huge an impact creativity plays in her life and helps her mental health as well as other people’s health.
And we at CoActive have realised that using smartphones and tablets are a good way forward to create simple but effective content without the hassle of lots of cameras and gears all the time. We will still use cameras for different occasions but when it comes to evaluating and creating content often smart devices are the simplest tools to use.
We hope to be able to use our skills to train other community reporters as well as to keep sharing our own stories.
People used to say a picture tells a thousand words… but actually video can speak volumes.
The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded CoActive Arts with funding to help our group of adults with learning difficulties research what life was like for people with learning difficulties 120 years ago and to research how things have changed.
We did this by making films about people lives now, interviewing people with learning difficulties. We also found out about people 120 years ago by visiting the Museum, the Archive and the Library and then using drama to bring it to life.
Start of our Heritage Lottery Fund project
The group started by doing film interviews, and deciding what to talk about.
It was really useful, because we got alot out of it & when we showed our short films out in the public. We thought it would help out others to understand & learn about us.
The making of our film project
Everyone enjoyed setting up the cameras and lights but we soon realised that having too big a set-up could be intimidating for the person being interviewed. So we tried to film in a more informal way and used our group table time to discuss important topics.
Once we discussed general themes, such as school days & support. we then focused on individuals stories. we dedicated alot of time to individuals stories, and the editing process.
Editing our Heritage Lottery Funded film
Then came the longest part of the filming process - the editing!
We started off editing in big groups so we could all take part but we quickly realised this wasn't conducive and it was hard for everyone to follow.
So we started editing in smaller groups so that we could get more done and people could have more control and learn to skills.
How we found the project
We didn't just help others learn about what we did. but also we learned about knowledge we didn't know ourselves.
We hope others watch our films & learn about our own history.
By Dan and Dabion, CoActive Arts members
Our Coactive film-makers went along to mark International Women's Day in Wakefield.
As part of our Thursday morning session, where we work on interviewing techniques and filming skills, we decided to put our work into practice.
So we went down to Wakefield One in the city centre and met organiser Sarah Cobham of Dreamtime Creative...