story ● 27 Mar 2024

Session Two: Mapping out meaningful places- Participatory Film-making with young people in Scarborough

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For the second session we returned to the same group in Scarborough, working with young people to produce a participatory film about place and emotional support.

Mapping out meaningful places

The session started with a recap of the previous one, then moving to our first activity for the day. The young people were invited to use post-its to illustrate a place they particularly like and a place they really dislike in Scarborough.

The young people carefully thought about places, and then explained what they picked.

One young person loves North Bay because of how quiet it is in winter and for its colourful cabins, while she disliked Brunswick shopping centre, because of its many vacant shops which make it feel run down. A young person mentioned a specific graveyard in Scarborough as a pleasant and peaceful place. Another young person has positive memories of Peasholm Park, where she used to spend time with her grandma, while she dislikes the area around Sainsbury’s, which can be unsafe at certain times of the day. Finally, one young person chose South Bay as a positive place, stating she particularly enjoys it at night because of the colours of the arcades and the boats at the dock, while she dislikes McDonalds, a place she feels is often overcrowded and unsafe.

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After discussing each place and finding that young people tended to agree on their likes and dislikes, we moved into the making of a map, with help from an adult mentor at the organisation, who designed the map’s overall shape and helped the young people place their post-its in roughly the right place. Looking at the map we talked about where each place is located compared to the young people’s homes.

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We decided that from next week we will dedicate a number of sessions to walking around Scarborough and to visit each of the places indicated by the young people.

Filming the city

After a short break, we started to watch some short films where cities have been captured by their citizens, and especially by young people. These viewings allowed us to start thinking about which film styles the group might enjoy.

We started by watching two short films about Bristol and West London respectively. The young people expressed they didn’t particularly like the fast-paced split-screen style which is often used to suggest a urban and young vibe, but which they found confusing and overwhelming.

We then watched a short film about Toronto which everyone enjoyed thanks to its lively music and smooth transitions. However, the group suggested, all the films watched up to this point were very celebratory of the cities represented, glossing over possible issues. The young people in this group would prefer to instead create a balanced representation of Scarborough, which would include what needs to improve.

We then watched a short film about York which took a more critical approach, and which was in fact appreciated by the group.

Simona then showed one of the very few short films of Scarborough she could find, probably from the 90s. The group found it amusing to look at such dated footage and very slow filming style, which is now so uncommon to watch. This example made the group feel motivated about producing something new and fresh about Scarborough.

Filming training

After another short break, we dedicated the rest of the session to exploring some filming techniques, in particular using shots of different angles as opposed to long moving (and sometimes shaky) clips. We had a round of practice, where the young people filmed their the room they were in, with its many artworks and Christmas decorations. We discussed some of the shots and some key rules to produce good quality footage using portable devices.

Having a map, an idea of our style of choice, and some filming practice, we are now ready to dive into filming Scarborough from next week.

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