British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Spotlight on Community Filmmaking

Community Filmmaking and Cultural Diversity: Practice, Innovation and Policy.  Sarita Malik, with Caroline Chapain and Roberta Comunian, discusses an AHRC funded project that has opened up a range of possible research avenues and partnerships between academics and community filmmakers.

About the Authors:

MalikDr Sarita Malik is a Lecturer in Media and Communications in the  Department of Sociology and Communications at Brunel University. She previously worked for the BBC as a Researcher, and later as an Arts Programmer specialising  in Asian Arts, a research bid writer and Research Fellow on a large ESRC project exploring public understandings of regulation. Her doctoral research, based at  the British Film Institute, analysed the history of Black and Asian  representation on British television and was supervised by the renowned  sociologist, Stuart Hall. Sarita’s academic research is focused on how social  processes and systems operate in relation to ideology and inequalities, with a particular focus on the relationship between the media and cultural  representation. Current projects examine cultural diversity and public service broadcasting, reality TV and discourses of equality, and black and Asian British cinema.

ChapainDr Caroline Chapain is a lecturer at the Business School, University of  Birmingham. Previously, Caroline studied and worked in France and in Canada. From 2002 to 2005, she worked as a research advisor on public finance, economic development, and cultural issues for the Montreal Metropolitan Planning Organization. Since 2005, she has been looking at the way creative industries emerge, operate and develop at the local and regional levels in the UK and in Europe. She was part of ACRE, a FP6 project which aimed to assess the impact of the emerging ‘creative class’ and the rise of the ‘creative industries’ on the competitiveness of EU metropolitan regions. She was involved in a project   looking at the links between creative clusters and regional innovation in Great Britain for NESTA (the British national agency for innovation).

ComunianDr. Roberta Comunian is Lecturer in Cultural  and Creative Industries at  the Department for Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London.  She previously worked at the University of Kent and at the University of Southampton. She holds a European Doctorate title in Network  Economy and Knowledge Management. She is interested in: relationship between public and private investments in the arts, art and cultural regeneration  projects, cultural and creative industries, creativity and competitiveness. She  has been Marie Curie Fellow at University of Newcastle (Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies) investigating the relationship between creative industries, cultural policy and public supported art institutions.


Context of the project
Led by Dr Sarita Malik (Brunel University) along with Dr Caroline Chapain (University of Birmingham) and Dr Roberta Comunian (Kings College London), this research has helped to understand better how community filmmaking practices, in culturally diverse contexts, contribute to the wider film ecology and to representation, identity and innovation.

The British Film Institute, where the final project conference was held on 22 and 23 January 2014, says that this project has helped, ‘enrich our own knowledge and contact with this area of film culture.’ Such was the interest in the conference that there was a waiting list!

At the conference, Malik, Chapain and Comunian presented some of the preliminary findings from the research. There was also an opportunity for academics, experts and practitioners in this field to contribute through papers, presentations and networking. With in-depth case studies conducted in three English regions, Hampshire, the Midlands and London, an important part of the project was working with community partners, City-Eye, Lighthouse and WORLDwrite and also giving them an opportunity to share and discuss their community filmmaking and also present their work at the showcase event, one of the highlights of the BFI-hosted conference.

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