The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Online dialogues on visual narrative construction launch DPU Pilot Project “ReFRAMED”

5 July 2021

The project seeks to advance collective narrative construction and aims to develop an ethical and practical framework for working remotely on visual outputs produced by urban dwellers in low-income neighbourhoods in collaboration with partners in Solo (Indonesia) and Lima (Peru).


ReFRAMED was launched in June through a series of dialogues with experts and practitioners based in London, Lagos, Johannesburg, Toronto, Lima, Surakarta and Yogyakarta.

The first dialogue on ‘Visual ethics for video narratives’, explored the main principles that can contribute to an ethical framework for visual research and practice.
Pertinent questions that came up in the discussion included: Who has power in the filming process and how can it be subverted through feminist film making practices? How to avoid unintentionally reproducing harmful stereotypes in visual representation? How do you represent unrepresentable suffering while being sensitive to concerns over exploiting pain?  

Image source: Sonya de Laat:

The session drew together expert academics and practitioners working in the field of visual representations and filmmaking. We welcomed Dr Sonya de Laat (scholar of visual culture related to humanitarian healthcare and international development), Dr Isaac Marrero-Guillamón (convenor of the MA in Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths), Lorena Cervera (feminist filmmaker, researcher and teacher), and James Tayler (filmmaker youth mentor in media production for Know Your City TV.

feminist cinema
Image source: Cine Mujer

The focus of the second dialogue was ‘Participation in visual methodologies and narrative construction’, which aimed to consider how narratives can be devised as collective and inclusive representations. The session involved collective discussion on the changes that participatory video can bring about, its potentials and limitation for inclusivity in the context of the global South, how visual narrative skills are acquired and how inhabitants can take ownership beyond the initial engagement.

The second dialogue included reflections from social movements and media practitioners. We were delighted to welcome Andrew Maki (co-director of Justice & Empowerment Initiatives), Mustapha Emmanuel (member of the Nigerian Federation Media Team), Rachma Safitri and Dian Herdiany (Kampung Halaman Foundation) and Michele de Laurentiis (anthropologist, independent filmmaker from Spectacle).

our lagos our story
Image source: Our Lagos, Our Story (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR_KsZD7OPk&t=11s)

In parallel to these various dialogues, inhabitants from Lima (Peru) and Solo (Indonesia), participating in ReFRAMED, have been collectively reflecting on the kind of untold stories that need to come to light to shift injustices. These will inform their own video project over the coming months.

The team, led by Dr Rita Lambert with co-investigators, Dr Ignacia Ossul-Vermehren and Alexander Macfarlane from the DPU; Arq. Carlos Escalante Estrada from Peruvian NGO CENCA and Ahmad Rifai from Indonesian NGO Kota Kita, will reflect on the learnings generated to help shape a series of training workshops on narrative construction and ethical film making with participants in Lima and Solo.

The project is funded by DPU Internal post-COVID research call.

Main image source: Rita Lambert