Yesterday morning LIVED was granted registered charity status as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) by OSCR (the Office of Scottish Charities Regulator). A lot of acronyms, but this means that LIVED is now its own NGO. Incorporating the organisation as a SCIO is seen as beneficial for the following immediate reasons: (i) to create a separate legal vehicle to carry on the charitable activities which will survive beyond the involvement of each individual (and so ensure the longevity of the organisation); (ii) to access funding and other opportunities which may not otherwise be available; (iii) to protect the distribution, fundraising and educational dimensions of activities involving its ‘creative product’ (the Documentary), as well as to ensure liability coverage and protections for the team members; (iv) to enable activities for collaboration and balanced partnerships with organizations in the UK, Jordan and beyond; and to formalise (bank account/credit cards) fundraising activities, which will be stepped up with the release of the Documentary. The principal activities of LIVED as a SCIO will be as follows:
(1) Produce documentaries addressing identified displacement crises;
(2) Use the completed products to host educational events with discussions and documentary film screenings
a. These events will address different audiences: apart from academic recipients, film festivals, and events for the general public, we will pay particular attention to school events where we will discuss the documentary, provide background information and foster contact and exchange of ideas between Scottish and different communities of displaced school children.
(3) Fundraise to allow for continued engagement with displaced communities
(4) Facilitate innovative and sustainable educational projects in communities of displaced people
a. For the time being, this will take the form of the delivery of filmmaking workshops to displaced adolescents/young adults, instructing and supporting them to produce their own documentaries about topics that are particularly important to them. Refugee youths aged between 16 and 22 will be invited to a six-session film-making workshop, working together to produce short films on topics of their choosing. Film-making has proved to be a powerful tool in the context of displacement, fostering a team environment where people collaborate to realise a common film project and at the same time providing people with sought-after technical, organisational and team working skills. Furthermore, self-expression through making films can help participants and indirectly also their friendship/and family circles to deal with recent trauma / stress.
b. These workshops aim at providing a variety of transferable skills such as teamwork and collaboration; self-direction; project management and planning; communicational, creative and technical skills. The initial workshops will be carried out by LIVED trustees themselves, in collaboration with possibly two other registered NGOs in Jordan and/or other identified contexts of displacement before, in the long run, involving local participants in their continuation. As with the educational events in Scotland, an internal body within LIVED will evaluate the success of these workshops to assess the learning impact and possible ways of improvement. We are currently discussing the official accreditation of the participation in those workshops with the University of Edinburgh, and are optimistic to make this possible. A request to the Board of Study will indeed be submitted in the next few weeks in order to include these workshops into a certified course from the University of Edinburgh (starting in September 2015). Participants will thus receive a certification from the University of Edinburgh after completion of the filmmaking workshops.
c. This activity will foster social activities between displaced communities and host communities, allowing residents to raise and document issues important to them, and to disseminate this knowledge to a wider audience. The initiative thus empowers the target group by giving them a voice/providing a channel that is not dependent upon simplifying/essentialising labels, and provides a powerful tool (documentaries/media) to counteract dominant narratives of victim/statistic. By connecting agency and creativity, the film initiative offers a means for self-expression and reflection that could be rejuvenating for people who have suffered trauma, particularly when combined with ability to substantively change circumstances.
d. The overarching idea is to establish a base of local filmmaking knowledge in different contexts of displacement upon which later initiatives can be built. By locating and supporting know how in the local community, LIVED seeks to foster the creation of a sustainable and self-perpetuating project.
And finally, as the entire Project expands its activities, takes on new members and moves forward into its next phases, an internal restructuring is underway and will soon be reflected on the project’s website. This is intended to facilitate communication channels, to assist with deliverables accountability, to better capture growing expertise within the group and to allow flexibility and scope for the appropriate inclusion of a growing number of students and members or the public interested in contributing and participating in the purposes of this SCIO.
The primary purpose of LIVED is (b): the advancement of education: by contributing to the promotion of sustainable forms of education in the context of displacement, and facilitating knowledge exchange and dissemination among the wider public in order to raise awareness and understanding of the lived experiences of refugees with the wider intention to foster the creation of empathy.
Through the previously outlined activities, the following purposes may also be realised:
(a) The prevention or relief of poverty
(j) The advancement of human rights
(l) The promotion of equality and diversity