Middlesex University film students have produced videos promoting local charities which tackle gender-based violence and to encourage reporting of such incidents as part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign.
In a project commissioned by Barnet Council, students on the BA Film programme have worked with Jewish Women’s Aid, Rise Mutual, Barnet Homes, Youth Realities and Art Against Knives.
Students produced short one-minute films featuring a member of staff from each charity which have been uploaded to YouTube and shared across the borough including on the respective charities’ web pages.
“We wanted to support our community partner and help promote their services and thanks to our amazing media department we were able to give them a voice, promote the 16 Days of Activism and the reporting of such crimes and remind everyone that there are people out there who care," Ben Serlin, Senior Safeguarding Project Manager at MDX
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an annual international campaign which kicked off on November 25, the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, and runs until this Saturday December 10, Human Rights Day.
Speaking about the project, Dr Helen Bendon, the Interim Head of the MDX Media Department, said: “Barnet have various service providers who they work with in partnership on tackling and raising awareness of gender-based violence and they were really determined for the public to see those people behind the services.
“This can be an incredibly difficult and sensitive issue so seeing people who deliver these vital services takes some of the pressure off. The crucial takeaway message was that if you are somebody who needs help there are people out here who can help.
“For the students this has been an extremely beneficial learning process in which they also used their skills to draw out information from people who work in the charity sector and are not normally accustomed to being in front of the camera.”
The MDX Changing the Culture Initiative was set up in response to Universities UK’s 2016 taskforce report into tackling violence against women, harassment and hate crime.
It has worked with local community partners such as Barnet Council, Barnet Mencap and the Metropolitan Police Service to raise awareness about hate crime and encourage reporting on and off campus.
Ben Serlin, Senior Safeguarding Project Manager at MDX, explained how this project showcasing the local charities emerged from the University’s HearMyVoice project – a Changing the Culture campaign initiative focused on capturing the local context and in particular the narratives of individuals, groups and organisations in the community.
“We wanted to support our community partner and help promote their services and thanks to our amazing media department we were able to give them a voice, promote the 16 Days of Activism and the reporting of such crimes and remind everyone that there are people out there who care,” added Ben.
For one student Alina-Stefania Ilin this had been a very personal project as she said one of her relatives had been a victim of domestic violence.
‘I had the chance (in my first year) to use my skills as a film student as I made a campaign on domestic violence which was about my grandmother who was one of the many victims of domestic abuse.
“Being involved in this project made me understand that there is so much support and so much effort that they put into it and I think it was very inspiring.”
The other students involved in the filming were Rafael de Mello, Benjamin Bogdan-Hodgson and Paul McPherson, supported by Lecturer Voichi Judele.
Watch all the Changing the Culture films.