Participatory Video for Community Consultation

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Participatory Video is a great way to engage a group or community in the planning and implementation of local schemes, creating a true dialogue.

InsightShare offers a face to face qualitative consultation process which facilitates communication between stakeholders and decision-makers and between various stakeholder groups. By building understanding between stakeholder groups we hope to build consensus in the community.

We mobilise those at the grassroots by encouraging authentic participation. Innovative methods and creative media enable us to reach parts of a community that others don’t reach!

Used in conjunction with other visual practical tools such as community maps, problem trees and drawings, Participatory Video makes consultation visual, entertaining and captivating. It involves meeting with groups on their terms, and on their turf. By taking the consultation process to the community we show how much their views are valued. Making an effort and providing accessible and fun tools helps to build trusting partnerships.

  1. InsightShare trains a group of local people recruited from target groups in the community. We specialize in working with the so-called “hard to reach” groups.
  2. Involve decision makers from the start, because after all they could be perceived to be “hard to reach” themselves! PV enables them to create a message explaining the consultation and decision making processes, the objectives and the limitations.
  3. Building Trust. The team takes the consultation process to where people feel most comfortable: drop–ins, cafes, sheltered housing.
  4. The team trains and supports groups to use the video to capture their views. Those who commission the consultation can decide on using standard questions for video interviews which match those written in questionnaires. The PV can therefore feed into a quantitative survey. Alternatively, or in addition, these can be left open for the groups to create themselves as they prepare to film.
  5. Drafts edits of the video are produced at several stages and screened to the groups so that the facilitators get feedback to help them create a true picture of the diverse opinions in the final video.
  6. Re–visiting the groups several times develops trust and confidence and enables people to learn about the statutory process, to understand their rights, and to keep abreast of the project as it evolves.
  7. Meet local people face–to–face as the footage captures the feelings and rich personality of the community.
  8. All footage is also transcribed, typed and added to the data collected from the wider consultation process so that the views captured on film are heard equally with views collected in questionnaires, and door–to–door consultation, as well as other quantitative methods.
  9. The video can be shown to Council Officers and to community representatives to directly affect decision–making.
  10. By playing back footage people are able to add to their ideas and share one another´s concerns. As a consensus–building process this can gradually develop understanding of other stakeholder perspectives.








  • We come to you; to the drop–in centre where you meet, the local cafe, or the churchyard where you hang–out. We understand that people feel most comfortable in their own space.
  • People´s views are being recorded on video; in a sense this gives you a real, physical and tangible presence. Emotions and feelings come through.
  • Through playback participants rapidly develop confidence in themselves and realize the extent of the knowledge that they are able to offer.
  • Statistics and questionnaires are two–dimensional, repetitive and can be boring. The meaning or the feeling behind people´s views can be lost, so decision–makers lose out too.
  • People without literary skills are intimidated and excluded, whereas video is accessible to all and can be subtitled from a participant´s first language.
  • Decision–makers watching the edited films will meet people face–to–face and that makes it harder to ignore what they are really saying, really wanting.

Trust is a massive issue in this work and this process takes time. Posters placed in drop–in centres and distributed through local community activists offer free training and support and the chance to use video and "get to know your community". A group is formed based on the skills and diverse connections to the local area brought by the members. A balance of genders is important, as is careful representation of the various ethnic minority groups in the area –bringing cultural sensitivity and language skills. The right team will reflect the diverse backgrounds of the groups we aim to reach and have people with diverse needs such as wheelchair access, or support with childcare.

The team creates a web of personal links reaching out through local organizations, friends, networks, families, meeting places, or the street itself. As a group we celebrate these diverse and authentic connections to those we aim to reach, and to the community at large.

Another challenge could be to get commitment from the diverse stakeholders to watch the video drafts at regular intervals, to create a real space for policy dialogue and exchange of ideas. This should be addressed from the conception of the project and be negotiated among the partners and participants.

“PV catches so much; it has a broader, fuller, more objective gaze"
Gillian Chowns, Macmillan Cancer Relief.

"It changed the way I listened to people”
Celia Jones, planning officer, Oxfordshire County Council.

“I was impressed by the ease and clarity with which illiterate nomads and farmers expressed their concerns related to environmental change. Such videos carry messages that go far beyond language”
Astrid Bjornsen Gurung, Mountain Research Institute

“This is important work -creating a feedback loop so that the system can self-regulate for its health”
Joanna Macy, environmental campaigner.