Disadvantaged young people’s lives changed through filmmaking scheme

Care leavers and former young offenders have found confidence, inspiration and a sense of control over their lives, thanks to a filmmaking project co-run by Goldsmiths academic Dr Anna Carlile from the Department of Educational Studies. Dr Carlile has worked with non-profit community group Shootstraight to help deliver a three-month improvisation and film workshop for young people experiencing difficulties in their lives, such as homelessness, leaving care, involvement with the youth justice system and addiction. Following the screening of the group’s final project – a film titled New Cross Gate – at the House of Lords in March, Dr Carlile explained in an article for The Conversation:

“Their lives in deprived, crime-ridden areas of London were appallingly complicated, dangerous and grinding – and yet through the creative process, they showed immense reserves of inventiveness and resilience.”

The project used improvisation workshops to develop young people’s belief that, as workshop leader Lucinda Cary explains, “everything they need is in their imaginations”. Dr Carlile adds: “The creative process helped the group develop self-esteem and enabled participants to tell their stories, voice their troubles, and identify the ‘sticking points’ in their lives.” 

New Cross Gate was screened to an audience which included independent inspector of prisons Lord Ramsbottom and Lord Falkland, who have both agreed to raise the project and its impact in the House of Lords.

Interest, funding or suggestions to commission films from participants, came from representatives of the Metropolitan Police, the Laura Ashley Family Foundation, the Department of Work and Pensions and the Southbank Centre. One of the young actors was also offered the chance to pitch a script to producers at BBC3.

Dr Carlile worked with Shootstraight under the Goldsmiths Open Book scheme – an on-going project working with those from offending and addiction backgrounds to encourage them to take up education, offering them emotional and practical support throughout their course.

Originally posted on Goldsmiths, University of London news page.

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