Sarita Malik, Caroline Chaplain, and Roberta Comunian’s AHRC funded Connected Communities research on Community Filmmaking, has been published in the Sage journal, Organization. It forms part of a 2017 Organization Special Issue: ‘Diversifying the creative: Creative work, creative industries, creative identities.’
In their paper Rethinking cultural diversity in the UK film sector: Practices in community filmmaking, Malik, Chapain and Comunian theorise cultural diversity as itself always a mediated process. Attention to the mediation of diversity is intensified in creative work such as filmmaking, with its focus on representation of diversity on the screen, as well as on the diversity of bodies working off-screen. Drawing on the work of Stuart Hall (1990), they see filmmaking by marginalised communities as a process that can constitute new kinds of cultural subjects and therefore new ‘places from which to speak’ (pp. 236–237). They position community filmmaking as consisting of participatory production practices at the edges of the film economy. Cultural diversity is realised when communities and practices are culturally varied, reshaping the identities of media workers and the business models which emerge from this process. Malik et al. distinguish between the top-down prescriptive models of cultural diversity, which policy-makers attempt to impose on and produce from cultural programmes, and the bottom-up mobilisation of mediated cultural diversity by community filmmakers. Their qualitative study across three regions in England privileges the perspectives of filmmakers as they interpret and engage with cultural diversity in terms of representation onscreen and of their own practices. They argue that participatory community filmmaking supports the creation of new symbolic spaces where meanings of cultural diversity can be generated and where the business practices of filmmaking are repositioned to emphasise civic agency and cultural aspirations. While marginal, community filmmaking practices act as a bridge which connects to wider film communities and provides alternative models of mediated cultural diversity from the bottom up.
(Editorial, Diversifying the creative: Creative work, creative industries, creative identities, Finkel, Jones, Sang and Russell)
Access and download the article here.