Connecting young people with Courtaulds in Coventry

A tv screen shows the film made by young volunteers in the Radical Drawing exhibition space

Guest Blog by Thanh Sinden – Inclusion and Engagement Specialist

Over the summer of 2019 I brought together 10 young people to produce a short film about former employees and their working memories at Courtaulds factories in Coventry. The film project focussed on supporting the young people to gain media and interviewing skills and knowledge such as optimum environment settings, lights, sounds and camera settings as well as how to approach and draw out the best interviews from interviewees. Making people feel comfortable and the type of questions that would get a good story, being sensitive and ethical about recording people’s oral history. The project had to take place on a short and tight timescale due to filming schedules and availabilities of the volunteers. ‘I particularly enjoyed the social element to this project, from getting to know the team members and working together, to meeting the interviewees and know their varied and interesting stories.’

The young people felt proud and a great sense of achievement having no prior experience of doing this type of projects before. ‘I definitely feel more connected to the local population and their history and learned more about the community than I would’ve from merely reading.’

Looking ahead at future projects I would like to support the further engagement, development of skills and interest of the young people and widen participation to more young people in Coventry. It would be great for future projects to enable more people to connect with a creative and heritage project like the Courtaulds film project. Creating more opportunities to work with a great team of people at the Herbert to support the building of skills, knowledge and develop confidence and enjoyment of Coventry’s history with young people.

‘Last but not least, helping on a project that contributes to the local social and historic heritage was very satisfying and sparked my interest in joining similar projects in the future.’

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