Young people were interviewed as part of the Stories of Becontree project too. On the last day of the film production, we asked from the young participants to share on camera their experience in taking part in the project. Facilitated by Catch’22 volunteers Thalia Gigerenzer and Hannah Rowland and filmed by our film-maker Patricia Gomes, the short interviews also supported their arts award qualification providing an opportunity to review their skills.
There are two particular things that came up through the interviews and mentioned almost by all young people. Firstly, they saw their everyday place in very different ways (historically, socially, culturally) positioning themselves in the bigger picture of the area and the project managed to take their perspectives beyond their wards or their neighborhoods. Secondly, this three-month experience highlighted a negative fact about life of today in Barking and Dagenham: young people seem to find the estate a difficult area to socialise, live safely and feel accepted. Their reflections grouped on five main categories:
They enjoyed the artistic elements of the project as a great opportunity to explore arts and media and develop further existing skills.
Surprisingly, archives research and access to historical resources had been appraised more positively than the film-making process.
Learning about the local history made them create new meanings and feel better about living in this area.
Young people realised values of community life and safety
And finally, they gained social and communication skills to take forward in their lives
As Ellen mentioned in the last video, the project gave a great chance to the participants no matter of the age, background or ethnicity to know more about life from those who know: the older people who has the capacity and wisdom to pass their stories to next generations. A final evaluation report soon will capture the wider picture of the impact of this interdisciplinary journey.