Working with Head of Social Work at London Metropolitan University, Donna Jones
and film makers Nicole Cyrus and Sonny Thaker, this project has been developed
with our partner Islington Council to identify and explore the experiences of
Islington’s LGBTQI+ communities of inequality whilst living in the Borough.
The methodological approach for this project is ‘Videovoice’, and this method was
used to develop new understandings of the experiences and needs of LGBTQI+
communities who have been under-represented in previous projects. Videovoice is
an approach that uses documentary video filmmaking to explore personal
experiences, and the videos are accompanied by narratives that tell the story behind
‘VideoVoice’, which is a form of participatory action research. Participatory action
research emphasises researching with people rather than about them with the
researcher and participants developing knowledge and greater awareness together
that can lead to improvement and social change.
Storytelling with Elders Project
The ‘Storytelling with Elders Project’ recognises the value of “story” and the ability of
storytelling to build empathy and engagement. Stories do not need to be written down and
illustrated to be worthy of retelling. A good story is just as valuable to the teller as the
listener, especially if it’s shared in warm conversation, with room for thoughtful – or
emotional – pauses of remembrance.
This project, Led by Head of Social Work at London Metropolitan University, Donna Jones,
worked with a group of identified elders living in LB Islington to further understand their
experiences of poverty and inequality. The project fostered a sense of community,
recognising that the elders may be isolated and experiencing loneliness, especially as we
are coming out of an extended period of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Story Gatherers Merita Avdyli and Ricardo Pereira Carvalho worked with individual elders to
listen to stories of their experiences, using prompts and a personal memento identified by
the elder as having personal meaning to them. The stories were recorded and transcribed,
with consent, so that themes could be identified, analysed and passed on to Islington
Elders were photographed by a professional photographer with their memento so that their
image could accompany their story at an exhibition which highlights all the projects
developed as part of the Let’s Talk Islington initiative.