Radically hopeful cooperation in community food-growing

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In March-April 2022 the course on ‘Visual Storytelling about Community Food-Growing’ held its third and final instalment. Six participants of the cohort made engaging video stories; many more exchanged their experiences in the discussions.  This blog gives an overview of the insights gained, before introducing each story.  The spring 2022 video stories had resonances with many from the first two cohorts of the course, namely: During the Covid-19 pandemic, people were seeking ways to overcome social isolation in ways that … Read More

Remote working in participatory video – the UN Women experience

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The Covid-19 crisis has forced many people to stay at home and work remotely. But what are the pros and cons of remote working in participatory video projects where face-to-face communication is extremely important? Is it still possible to involve and train groups coming from disadvantaged backgrounds remotely? What strategies and methodologies can be put in place to make sure that the participatory process is still inclusive? A good learning experience came from the UN Women Second Chance project in … Read More

Evaluating the impact of community food growing initiatives

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Over the last two weeks, and as the digital storytelling about community food growing project comes to an end, we have been visiting case study initiatives to evaluate how community gardens’ activities influence wider collective and sustainable practices and how they could play a transformative role in peoples’ lives.     More specifically, we wanted to understand how these food growing initiatives overcame difficulties or obstacles of the Covid-19 pandemic, how participants developed forms of cooperation while getting to know … Read More

The Exquisite Corpse Process: Expanding our participatory art-based methods

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Since joining the Cobra Collective in Oct 2020, I have been participating in a number of Cobra Collective projects and developing my own research focus within the Collective by expanding our array of participatory creative methods. Now, I’m very excited to share the outputs from my first independent research project in collaboration with Ocean Networks Canada – the Exquisite Corpse process, a group-based multi-week asynchronous art project. The idea behind the Exquisite Corpse process is to use art and creative … Read More

International Women’s Day 2022

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To celebrate the International Women’s Day, we would like to present the free, open, online courses developed as part of our work in a project for the UN Women’s Second Chance Education and Vocational Training (SCE) Programme. The project developed, piloted and tested a participatory video approach to the development and contextualisation of online courses. We supported local facilitators in Cameroon, Jordan, India, Mexico, Chile and Australia to learn how to use participatory video to create courses targeting the most … Read More

Connecting Wetlands – Celebrating World Wetlands Day 2022

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This year, we are celebrating World Wetlands Day with a story spanning three different and diverse wetlands connected through the SMART project. In this project, we are co-designing flood monitoring tools to be used for wetland management together with communities and diverse actors in Guyana, Sri Lanka and Scotland. Our three sites, the North Rupununi wetlands in Guyana, the Colombo urban wetlands in Sri Lanka and Firth of Forth river and estuary in Scotland are incredibly different. Yet, they are … Read More

Digital Storytelling about Community Food Growing Project: Second Insights from autumn 2021 course

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In early 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted community food growing initiatives, while also revealing and intensifying the stark social inequalities in our society. People’s social isolation prompted even greater interest in community food growing initiatives. In the ‘Grassroots Visual Storytelling about Community Food-Growing’ course, which began in spring 2021, participants gained skills in digital visual storytelling, while exploring and promoting their experiences of community food growing during the Covid-19 pandemic. From the spring 2021 films, the First Insights page described … Read More

“We feel at home” at the Calthorpe: Community garden volunteers share their experiences

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“We feel at home here” was a common view of community garden volunteers at an event hosted by the Calthorpe Community Garden, central London. This was the September Spotlight Garden of Urban Harvest 2021, organized by the Capital Growth programme. Held on Friday 24th September, the event began by screening short films made by participants in various community-gardens (see our project below). The films stimulated a discussion about volunteers’ experiences, especially getting to know different kinds of people, sharing their skills, … Read More

Using Storytelling to Engage in Complex Social-Ecological Challenges

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How do we navigate our way through complex challenges and how can storytelling support this process? Julieta Vigliano Relva and Cobra Collective member, Julia Jung, have recently published an article that explores this key question. This blog post is a brief summary of the article which can be freely accessed here. Our current times are complicated and contradictory. The impacts and need to address the climate and biodiversity crisis are becoming increasingly more clear and urgent with unprecedented environmental disasters … Read More

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