Participatory media is a powerful tool for empowering subjects, and giving them the agency they need to represent their experiences. Storytellers in such projects, including Mapping Memories, use personal anecdotes to tell their stories directly- with the documentarian simply playing the role of facilitator. Learning goes both ways in this scenario- as subjects (like the refugee women who previously was unfamiliar with public speaking) gain confidence, learn to express themselves, and how to convince others to take action or shift their perceptions.

However, I didn’t think about the risks of participatory media until our class discussion on Wednesday. Discussing sensitive issues can be challenging to say the least, and could pose the risk of breakdowns or even suicide in the subjects. It is therfore absolutely crucial that those involved in the production of these videos are ready to manage crisis situations. The issue of consent was also fascinating to me, especially when consent to publish is given before the subject tells his or her story. This can be problematic, since memories could cause the subject to deviate from what he or she intended to say. If one was to publish footage that a subject did not want to be seen, even if they give prior consent, others may be less inclined to participate in the future. Therefore, I think subjects must have the authority to review final footage before it is released.

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2 responses »

  1. ssingh6069 says:

    I also thought the idea of giving consent before and after was an amazing idea, it really helped provide a safe and secure space for the participants. It made sure that this is was really their project as well, as they had the final say in what would be projected to a wider audience in the end.

  2. Lucia says:

    I found the “why” portion of the consent forms the most interesting part of the organizations approach in establishing trust. I really can’t think about many consent forms I’ve signed where they explained why “this” had to be so or why “that” had to be so. I think I would have liked that.

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