One step away from independence, eager to test themselves and at the same time looking for points of reference, a group of care leavers involved in the CarINg project took part in a video production workshop. Each participants made a short film with a subject of their choice. The practical workshop, held by directors Francesco Matera and Lorenzo Scoles, aimed to provide the young people with the basic skills for audio-visual production and the necessary tools to express themselves in an alternative way.
What does it mean to be within the alternative care system? What does it mean to participate, and what is autonomy? Community, relationships, family, autonomy, these are just some of the key words and questions from which the training started. These questions and key words which were in focus during the participatory process carried out by SOS Children’s Villages and University of Milan-Bicocca, which since the beginning of the CarINg project has involved a growing number of care leavers in the territories of Florence and Prato.
Starting from the work carried out during consultations, the boys and girls inivolved in the workshop chose their subject or topic by considering their own experience and what was overall most important to them. Through a collective re-elaboration and sharing of their own experiences, the boys and girls were able to transform their emotions, feelings, fears, aspirations, reflections and ideas into a story.
Each storyboard has been built with the support of and discussion with the others and the technical intervention od the two directors. With mutual support their stories came to life.
The story of the journey and the workshop experience is narrated in the following short documentary entitled “CONTROLUCE – the voice of care leavers”.
In the vast set of methods and tools included in the term visual methodologies, the participatory video occupies an important place within an action-research project such as CarINg. The project is in fact structured as a pathway aimed both at improving the protection system and at nurturing an emancipatory pathway for the boys and girls directly involved in the various activities. This meant carrying out individual and collective work in parallel: on the one hand, the boys and girls had to work out their own meaning of participation and autonomy; on the other hand, collective work was necessary to search for shared meanings in order to find a voice and more real possibilities for participation.
Over the two-year project period, CarINg worked together with professionals, foster families, and care leavers to understand what was important to change in order to improve the guardianship system.
One of the activities involving almost all the care leavers on the territory was a questionnaire aimed at investigating their well-being and level of participation, within which they were able to reflect on their own level of independence and empowerment. More in-depth work was then carried out with a smaller group through a series of consultation meetings on the meaning of participation (autumn 2021).