Media and Sexualisation.
This website is the result of a collaboration between Journalism students at the University of East London (UEL) and The Samosa – an arts and media charity. Samosa Media connects film, spoken word and multi media artists with young people, and uses film, theatre and journalism to provide creative spaces for young people to explore cultural and social issues. Samosa Media works to embed diversity in the arts and humanities curriculum. Samosa Media is grateful for the support of The Sir John Cass’s Foundation, The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, The John Lyon’s Foundation and Sir Harvey McGrath.
Over two terms in 2018/2019 twelve female students from the UEL collaborated with arts organisation The Samosa to investigate the effects of sexualisation within the media on young women particularly.
Following a series of sessions in which Anwar Akhtar of The Samosa led a range of discussions around the theme, the students were split into four groups who had to devise and produce their first ever short documentary. This part of the process was led by filmmaker Rishabh Shrivastav who, having shown how to develop an idea and produce it, required the groups to work autonomously. As part of the process students were trained to use cameras and sound equipment, and to edit using Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere. The films were then screened to an audience of students and guests who debated the following proposition:
“Sexualisation and other pressures from social media, music, and other parts of popular culture is leading to mental health and other problems in particularly young girls – and while the corporations behind this content rake in the cash, the establishment is doing nothing to help.”
Each group then wrote a report on the experience and one of them constructed this website on which you can find: an essay exploring the subject; the four films together with a report on that group’s output; and the debate.
What the students said
The point of this collaboration was to give us an opportunity to work with an external client. Having The Samosa to answer to, rather than just a tutor, meant that we approached the work more responsibly than we might have otherwise. Working with The Samosa has given us skills that mean we are now more confident about working professionally in future. This project was very hard but also very rewarding. Rishabh not only taught us technical sills, but the importance of careful planning, and his and Anwar’s extensive experience gave us insights that will help us progress in our careers. We have nothing but gratitude for the way our teachers and professional
"We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man." Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Samosa and UEL
The Samosa Media project has now successfully partnered with the UEL Journalism School BA students for three successive years.
The present project is part of a wider programme of work that aims to diversify the curriculum and to broaden the learning experience of all students, but with an additional focus on those from black and ethnic minority (BAME) backgrounds. Each project has generated resources that will help teachers and youth and community workers developing their curricula. Through its work with UEL, The Samosa has helped working class and often BAME university students to gain confidence in communication and critical thinking, and to gather knowledge about social issues that affect them.
The work is currently being curated and scaled up for online distribution across schools, colleges and universities in the UK, and will help students from all backgrounds engage with the arts and humanities in a way that helps foster integration and understanding.
Samosa/UEL Collaborations in year one and year two
Year One - The Partition Project
In the first collaboration between UEL and The Samosa, students investigated ideas of ‘Partition' through two different films - one that addressed the 70th anniversary of the partition of India, and the other looking at Britain’s future ‘partition’ from the European Union through Brexit.
Brexit: A Country Divided? took the form of a political debate at UEL that was streamed live and then published in edited form on the University’s online magazine, Rising East.
Partition Stories was a film of interviews and reflections on the Indian Partition of 1947 and its legacy today for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Britain.
Year Two - The Prevent Project
Journalism students from UEL worked with Samosa Media to produce a ground-breaking documentary examining the hazards inherent in the Government’s anti-radicalisation strategy.
The Prevent Strategy - A Conversation: this film highlights a range of views on the ‘Prevent’ anti-terrorism strategy.
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