This discussion and screening with members of a number of community video projects from the 1970s will seek to explore the community video movement that worked with groups and individuals to take up the media once used to misrepresent them to engage in new forms of collective self representation and reflection.
In 1978 the Arts Council of Great Britain issued a list of 178 community arts projects in the country, of which between 50 and 100 used video. Women’s groups, gay liberation activists, tenants associations and people of colour had the means to represent and reflect on their own experiences collectively. The Community Video movement was born out of a combination of grassroots activism, a shift from marches and demonstrations to socially engaged arts practiced and ushered in by new video technology which enabled mobility and instant playback.
The themes of community and collaboration are central concerns for the summer school and through this event we will open up and engage with the history of community media in the UK and ask what relevance and impact it might have today. We will watch clips from films by Carry Gorney and the women of Milton Keynes, Ron Orders and Liberation Films and by Ron Peck and Four Corners Films.
Carry Gorney was a community artist during the seventies and pioneered grass roots video projects in the UK and abroad.
She subsequently worked as a systemic/narrative psychotherapist and whilst in the NHS initiated ‘Seeing is Believing’ using video with mothers and their babies. Her forthcoming memoir ‘Send me a parcel with a hundred lovely things’, will be published later this year.
Ron Orders has been working as a producer/director/cameraman since the mid-70’s making films first with Liberation Films then through his own production company Cinecontact which he founded in 1979. This work includes films for many clients including the Arts Council of Great Britain, the British Film Institute and UK and international television channels. His films have crossed many different genres, arts, politics, the environment and current affairs, but there has always been a strong emphasis on the people involved. Human lives and the stories people tell have always been central to the films, whatever the issues involved.
Ron Peck is known best for Nighthawks (1978), the first overtly gay British film, which he made in collaboration with Paul Hallam. However, his film output and other activities are diverse. He has made documentaries about artists (Edward Hopper, 1981) and boxers (Fighters, 1992), a personal film about naked men and censorship (What Can I do with a Male Nude?, 1985), and the high-profile feature Empire State (1987). Rather than choosing to work within the traditional film industry, which may have meant compromising his vision and his principles, he has always worked collaboratively and sought to share his filmmaking knowledge and resources.After graduating from the London International Film School in 1976, Peck set up Four Corners Films in Bethnal Green with fellow filmmakers Mary Pat Leece, Joanna Davis and Wilfried Thust.