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Wednesday 30 April 2014

Media students' community video draws on city history

A community video project headed up by the Rt Hon John Denham MP for Southampton Itchen has benefited from Southampton Solent University’s student expertise.

The multimedia project celebrating Englishness was premiered at Southampton’s first St George’s Day Festival held at The Hub, Southampton City College on Wednesday 23 April.

Students from the BA (Hons) Media Culture and Production course produced and edited eight short films to investigate what England means to Southampton. Centred around the key theme of ‘What does being English mean to you?’ the films recount cultural differences as part of living in this country and supporting a growing interest in celebrating multicultural Englishness.

The videos have drawn on the city’s history and local people to help shape Southampton and England for the future. Rt Hon John Denham MP said: “The films created by Solent students showcase Southampton community members who are proud of their Englishness. It has been a fascinating insight into the different cultures and groups that are the foundations of this great city.”

Kieron Butler, Lecturer in Film and TV Production, comments: “The students responded to the brief with huge enthusiasm and we hope it will result in further opportunities to highlight the fantastic work done by voluntary groups in our community.”

Farhad Zarin, BA (Hons) Media Culture and Production student whose film was about Awaaz Community Radio adds, “It was an honour to be commissioned to make the films for St George’s Day. I’ve made great contacts at the radio station and become more engaged with Southampton’s Asian community through it.”

The videos are available to view here:

Students filmed the following community groups:

  • Holyrood Estate Residents and Tenants Association – Lynda Walton tells us how collective action has brightened up the council estate, bringing in art murals to commemorate the city’s history
  • Southampton Business Growth Network is a cluster of independent business owners who have come together to help develop start-up businesses and other smaller businesses across the region
  • Swaythling Over 50’s Club – members share stories of how attending the community centre has helped them find friends, learn new skills and create busy lives
  • Southampton Scouts – Colin Floyd and his team of volunteers give young people the chance to get off the streets and discover new skills and talents that will stay with them for life
  • The Avenue Multicultural Centre – Reverend Sarah Hall organises a weekly drop-in centre for refugees and local people to make friends and share fun activities
  • Thornhill Health and Wellbeing Network (THAWN) is an umbrella organisation for health related community groups, delivering weekly sessions including Tai Chi and chair exercises
  • Awaaz Community Radio broadcasts shows to the Southampton region specifically targeted to members of the Asian community, including music from North India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Southampton Street Pastors have trained volunteers who run regular patrols at night-time in the city centre and in schools and parks during the day, offering reassurance, safety and support

The University’s in-house production company, Solent Productions volunteered expertise time and services to support the project. The subjects covered in their videos included:

  • Solent Credit Union, a co-operative alternative to big banks staffed by volunteers for the wider community.
  • EU Welcome, a support service providing help to migrants from European countries to Southampton.
  • Mayfield Nurseries, a place for people with mental health problems to develop skills and confidence through the sales of plants and shrubs.
  • Southampton Muslim Youth Campaign, a newly-founded group for members of a local Mosque to give back to the community that has supported them.
  • Sholing Valley Nature Reserve, the oldest nature reserve in Southampton which hosts regular educational and recreational days for the local community.
  • Oaklands Community Pool Group, a community swimming pool collective supporting the facility’s reopening in 2015 with backing from the local council.
  • Southampton Rape Crisis, a specialist service provider for those who have or might be affected by an unwanted sexual experience.
  • SCRATCH, a social action charity that operates in Southampton, started over 13 years ago by the founding charity Southampton City Mission.

There’s still chance to apply for the BA (Hons) Media Culture and Production degree and other creative industries courses at Solent University, to find out more