Pacific Community Filmmaking and Gender, Impact and Public Engagement

Lead Research Organisation: Edinburgh Napier University
Department Name: School of Arts and Creative Industries


Gender inequality in the Pacific is a serious challenge and a sensitive issue - requiring a culturally appropriate and joined-up development approach to support and drive the necessary social changes. The prevalence of violence against women in the Pacific region is among the highest in the world, whilst women's parliamentary participation is amongst the lowest in the world. Countries across the Pacific region have put in place policy strategies, legal frameworks and a raft of initiatives, but against their own and internationally accepted indicators there has been poor progress towards gender equality, despite the development cooperation efforts of many donors over several decades.

The AHRC/GCRF Research Networking Project, Exploring Participatory Filmmaking as a Development Method to address Gender Inequality in the Pacific (2017/2018) and the SFC-GCRF Pacific Connections: Community Filmmaking and Gender Inequality in the Pacific (2018/19) projects have highlighted and brought together an emerging body of Pacific-made participatory documentary films and filmmakers. Their work opens up alternative routes to understand and influence gender inequality in the Pacific by enabling communities to tell their own stories through their own cultural terms. In their own analyses of events and actions, Pacific peoples point to the importance of differentiating gender within particular social, collective and kinship relations and of the nuances and sensitivities of promoting rights-based issues such as gender inequality and GBV within a communal society.

Significantly, these projects have brought to the fore the impact the processes of participatory production have on individuals and communities involved, and how projects can be seen as multi layered, locally embedded and culturally sensitive approaches to achieving gender based policy objectives. This proposed international community filmmaking project will enhance filmmakers' and organisations' capacity to work with communities around issues of gender inequality and to use this work as drivers for social change.

Based on outcomes from the AHRC/GCRF previous projects, this project will target support at training and mentoring for community filmmakers and emerging talent. It will produce media projects on gender related themes across the Pacific that will create impact for participants and audiences during and after production. It will develop audiences through cross platform screenings & events that bring together communities, funders, organisations, Government and stakeholders. Though training, production, distribution and public engagement the project will seek to visibly advocate for the validity of the emerging Pacific Filmmakers Consortium, and a sustainable and locally generated approach to contextualising and enacting change around gender equality.

The proposed project will build on the Pacific Filmmakers Consortium network, with media projects, filmmaker and public training and programmes of distribution and stakeholder, government and NGO engagement in ODA LMIC and UMC countries - PNG (including Bougainville Island), Samoa, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu. It has the potential to also include and bring into this network practitioners and communities in Marshall Islands and Kiribati. This multi strand approach has the objective of contributing to creative development methods to support the challenge of promoting gender equality in the Pacific.

Planned Impact

As set out in our ODA and GCRF compliance statements and Case for Support, gender inequality is widespread in the Pacific and a key challenge in the countries of Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Fiji where project activities and impact engagement will occur. By addressing Pacific conceptualisations of gender and inequality actions in the vernacular through the use of community responsive participatory documentary film-making we have designed a project around mixed impact and engagement activities which hold considerable potential in supporting efforts to face the challenge of gender inequality in the Pacific.

In designing the proposed project and pathways to impact, we take a lead from how Pacific governments view and are responding to gender inequality issues through national strategies. As such, the proposed impact and engagement project responds to calls made by the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The SPC holds a technical support and regional coordination role in the field of gender equality that builds on the Revised Pacific Platform for Action on Advancement of Women and Gender Equality (2005 to 2015).

Each of our workshops, training events, meetings, screenings and the production projects will involve some element of impact engagement, and be followed by publicity to the project's wider networks. We also recognise the need to specifically engage certain key stakeholders - with whom our group has existing working contacts - in their own location.

To this end we have designed a series of practitioner and public training workshops (June 2020) across 6 Pacific LMIC & UMC ODA countries that will build capacity and develop and share existing expert knowledge within the Pacific. These workshops will develop filmmakers' networks with stakeholders, their business and project development skills, use of social media and online platforms, thus building their capacity to be self sustaining, access funding and promote their work with communities. Workshops will also be extended to community members, students and organisations in community media techniques and mentoring relationships will be established to develop sustainable communities of practice and support. This will include peer-to-peer mentoring.

13 Participatory community media projects will be funded and produced (July- October 2020) across the Pacific, supporting filmmaker practice and gender equality engagement. Filmmakers and community partners will propose projects relevant to local issues or contexts. These projects will engage a range of community stakeholders and individual participants, telling stories in vernacular terms relevant to promoting gender equality or highlighting gender inequality. These projects will have impact not only as products to be viewed by audiences or policy makers, but will aim to effect change through the process of production and the space for dialogue and reflection that the process engenders.
A programme of screenings, audience engagement, community participation and project publicity will engage a range of audiences during 16 Days of Activism (November- December 2020). This will take advantage of existing festivals, events and activities, maximizing resources and publicity. Live events will be supported by social media, online and mobile downloads, exploring the potential of multi platform access and viewing. These events will give visibility and validity to the Pacific Filmmakers' Consortium at both public and stakeholder levels, building its capacity and the reputation of its members for quality, socially engaged filmmaking practice. These projects, their production and dissemination and the potential for creating dialogue across different public spheres seek to initiate and support efforts towards transforming gender inequality in the Pacific.


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