At the second meeting of progress school I am delighted to say that we will be screening a 45 minute documentary filmed in Leeds, exploring the challenges of progress. ‘Ripples Out’ – explores regeneration, poverty and connectedness amongst different communities in south Leeds, and questions the impact – or not – that economic regeneration has had on poorer communities. It raises questions about the potency of partnerships between statutory agencies and property developers in making progress for local people.
Whilst areas like the waterfront Holbeck Urban Village have boomed in the last decade, neighbouring communities like Holbeck and Beeston continue to face age-old challenges of poverty, deprivation and social cohesion.
The film brought together a wide range of people from these areas – including residents, developers, business owners and local politicians – to explore these big issues, share stories, visit one another’s neighbourhoods, and better understand one another.
We will have plenty of opportunity to discuss the issues raised for us by the film and to explore how we might react to it.
- Do the benefits of large-scale regeneration really ‘ripple out’ into poorer communities?
- Could they?
- Can different economic groups really be connected through regeneration initiatives?
- And can different communities overcome barriers and work together for mutual benefit?
The film was produced in a collaborative manner that directly involved contributors in editing and shaping it. Filmmaker Dave Tomalin explains: ‘There are constantly media spotlights focused on marginalised communities, and it is rarely the case that those people in the spotlight are able to inform the way they are represented. There are no heroes or villains in this challenging film and this is largely due to the editorial involvement of those who are sharing their experiences on screen.’
The ‘Ripples Out’ film and screenings were commissioned and funded by regional development agency Yorkshire Forward. As Thea Stein, their Executive Director of Economic Inclusion explains: ‘We commissioned ‘Ripples Out’ as part of our work engaging with communities affected by those key regeneration schemes we are actively involved in, across the region. We fervently believe that true success is success that everyone can be a part of and benefit from. It is through the open approach, demonstrated through this film, with which we will discover the needs of our communities and those businesses which are embedded within them; working to create a place where they will want to continue to live and work.’
‘Ripples Out’ was produced by local film company Lippy Films with Together for Peace, as part of their ‘In One City’ series of films that aim to generate challenging conversations on topical social themes amongst different people across Leeds. Their next ‘In One City’ film is likely to be working with diverse young people around east Leeds in early 2010, in partnership with the Leeds Migration Partnership.
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