GLADE Film Club

GLADE (The Centre for Global Learning and Development Education) in Ilminster, Somerset, teamed up with a local youth centre to show issue-based films as a way to reach out to new young people and explore global issues.

Whilst this project was undertaken by a youth group, it could be replicated within schools or after-school clubs.

What did GLADE want to achieve?

Nancy showing map of Zambia
Nancy showing map of Zambia

As well as providing fun, informal sessions, GLADE’s aim was to develop young people’s skills to critically review global issues and to provide an opportunity for accreditation. Film was seen as a good starting point for young people who may not otherwise be involved with global issues, who may then progress to participating in other global learning opportunities.

How did they set about doing this?

To make the monthly film club inclusive and easily accessible, GLADE worked in partnership with Street Young People’s Centre, whose premises are near several secondary schools. The club was promoted through local youth workers and posters. A range of films were shown, addressing topics ranging from Maori culture and gender issues in New Zealand, to gangs and drugs trade in Brazil, to refugee issues in England.

GLADE developed workshop activities to explore issues raised in each film and to encourage participants to find local/ global connections. For example, learning about Maori culture through the film Whale Rider was a new experience for the group but the inter-generational relationships shown were seen as similar to those in UK. This film also generated discussion about gender and equal rights in relation to traditional culture.

Louis looking at Zambian cooking stove
Louis looking at Zambian cooking stove

Everyone attending the film club took on an accredited Youth Achievement Award. Completing a ‘Take up the Challenge’ booklet each week helped them to identify skills and responsibilities they would like to take on and to reflect on their progress.

The group evolved during the project and began to take leadership over which issues they wanted to explore, with some members assisting with preparing workshop activities. Other club members took on responsibilities such as promoting the group, preparing refreshments, handing out paperwork and helping set up IT equipment.

How well did they achieve their aims?

A few quotes…

I think that this project has demonstrated that film can be a good medium for youth workers to engage young people with global issues” says Jessica Witchell, Global Youth Work Coordinator. “We tried various formats but found that it works really well if there is a starter activity, followed by a film, followed by discussion and review to encourage critical thinking.”

Have you learnt something new?

(From the young people’s film review sheets after watching Freedom Writers):

“I have learned about the violence children endure… it deals with real issues within communities and the differences people can make.” Alice

“Gang culture is a lot deeper than just two groups hating each other.” Nancy

After watching China Blue:

“The working rights of young people who make the clothes I wear and what their lives are like because of it…that workers are taught to lie about their working conditions and lack the freedom of speech.” Lissie

Megan and Alice looking at artefacts
Megan and Alice looking at artefacts

The partnership with Street Young People’s Centre was successful in opening the opportunity to young people from different backgrounds and interests, contributing to community cohesion. The Film Club recruited six new people as well as existing Global Collective members. All the new members have expressed interest in attending other events at GLADE and some attend Global Collective sessions.

Nancy Jessiman, participant, says: “The community that I live in Somerset tends to be quite closed, with not much input from other cultures, so being a member of the Film Club and Global Collective has allowed me to expand my knowledge and improved my overall global citizenship. Running the Zambia workshop helped to develop my leadership and planning skills. The project looks good on my CV as it shows volunteering, working with others, and global citizenship. I will gain a qualification from the project which will improve my prospects too.”

What do they plan to do next?

The film club was originally funded for three months but proved so popular that GLADE has continued to run it and is looking for additional funding.

A Youth Opportunities Grant enabled the group to buy film equipment which is now available on loan to other youth groups in Somerset along with the DVDs which the club purchased and accompanying session plans.

Having recognised the value of film in communicating messages, film club members have successfully applied for Heritage Lottery Funding for a new project in which they will use film to document the lives of people who have moved to Somerset from another country and their contribution to Somerset’s cultural heritage.

Find out more

Download this case study as a PDF GLADE Film Club Case Study

Teaching ideas:

If you’d like to run a film club, the following documents might help

GLADE: Visit the GLADE website

With thanks to Jessica Witchell. Case study © Think Global. Pictures © GLADE. Researcher: Gillian Symons

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