story ● 14 Dec 2023

Session Two: 'Finding the right words': Participatory filmmaking with young people in York

LAT 53.96 LNG -1.07

Finding the right words

The first part of this session was dedicated to two simple writing exercises the group took part in using an online platform called Mentimeter. The aim of the activities was to produce keywords and writing that could become part of the film.

The first activity asked the group to brainstorm keywords they associated with the idea of emotional support as a whole. The group responded with a range of different suggestions, which generated a word cloud.

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The word cloud showed how emotional support can mean different things to different people, but a recurring theme revolves around the importance of listening and being listened to, as a way of making space for understanding and expression.The group discussed how listening doesn’t necessarily need to require resources, as in receiving professional support, but just a sense of presence and someone who can help establish a safe space.

The second writing activity proposed a series of prompts of incomplete sentences, based on conversations which took place in previous sessions, that group participants could fill in.

The prompts were:

“I feel safe when…….”

“…….. makes me feel grateful”

“When I feel down what helps me is ……”

“My favourite space to spend time in is …..”

The inputs from group participants again generated a range of ideas about what is emotionally supportive to them. Some of the participants writing from this exercise was elaborated as follows:

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Creating images for our writing

The second activity for Session 2 introduced storyboarding as a way to illustrate ideas and plan possible filming materials. Participants were asked to pick a sentence from the writing just produced and illustrate it by drawing four simple images that visually capture the essence of the words.

The group produced three different storyboards.

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One storyboard illustrated the sentence “I feel safe when I’m at home” with images of someone coming back home, unlocking the front door, being greeted by their dogs, and then being joined by the dogs on their sofa, highlighting once again how important pets can be for providing emotional support.

Another storyboard illustrated the idea of having a cup of tea as a calming ritual, which connects to the ideal of mutual support amongst people. The storyboard focuses on closeups of a tea pot, followed by two cups of tea, and then the hands of the people having the drinks, to close on an image of someone sipping tea. The details help enhance the idea of mutual support without necessarily having to show full faces and attach a specific character or circumstance to the intimacy of the gesture.

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