The Community Prophets workshop model has been developed over 10 years to build on capacity and inspire marginalised young people through film and media. Underpinning our philosophy is the partnership we enter into with the youth and communities with which we work.
The film Burn came out of a series of Community Prophets workshops, which represented the first time many of our cast had ever been invited to have control over the way their voices and stories are represented. For this project it meant that despite a prescribed theme, the characters, dialogue and storyline were given a heady mix of gritty street reality and integrity by the participants.
In the early days of the workshops and particularly during the camp, the youth agencies and Legal Aid NSW represented an important bridge in connecting us to the participants - assisting greatly with our efforts to gain the trust of young people from marginalised communities that often have a complex relationship with the outside world.
The workshop process is guided by a cumulative approach of building trust, unity and expression amongst the participants. For Burn, we were working with inner city participants aged between 16 and 25, coming from ethnically diverse communities. In this environment, building a sense of trust between the participants was vital. Once trust is established, participants are then involved in a series of group dynamic and improvisational exercises that become progressively more complex and require more trust. As confidence and unity is built amongst the group, participants with a willingness to be more vulnerable in their performances are given that support. Where possible, participants are placed in situations where they are in control of the pace, content and direction of the exercise. Support or positive intervention from the other participants is encouraged.
The workshop participants in the Burn project were extraordinary. What they offered to this process required a leap of faith, trust and generosity that far exceeded our expectations. As a group they are responsible for the truth and energy that is seen in the final performances and have been critical in the production of a film that will resonate for many years.
COMMUNITY PROPHETS WORKSHOP TRAINERS
Rachel Naninaaq Edwardson
David Selvarajah Vadiveloo
Jamie Alford, Barnardos Belmore
Darren Ryan, South Sydney Youth Service
Dave Kendall, St George YouthZone
Julie Kapsalides, Bankstown Multicultural Youth Centre
Nathan Katchawarra, Glebe Youth Service
August Fale Anelua
John De Satge