Eye-opening climate change documentary wins prestigious award
A documentary based on a Manchester academic’s research about disadvantaged people in Bangladesh dealing with climate change has won a highly-respected Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research in Film Award.
The Lived Experience of Climate Change: A Story of One Piece of Land in Dhaka is based on research by Dr Joanne Jordan, an Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Manchester’s Global Development Institute.
Jordan is an environmental social scientist who specialises in researching peoples’ adaptation to climate change. Through the documentary, she aimed to examine the everyday impact of environmental issues on the lives of slum dwellers in Dhaka.
More than 600 people living in the slums were interviewed as part of her research. She then teamed up with the University of Dhaka to create a theatre performance with scripts based on direct testimony of the slum dwellers, in order to communicate her findings to a diverse audience in an accessible, engaging and innovative manner.
These performances were filmed and turned into the documentary, with the aim of bringing the stories from the slum dwellers to a larger audience. Since going online, this has been viewed over 100,000 times. Versions produced with Bengali subtitles have received as many views as those in English.
The project was a winner of The University of Manchester’s Making a Difference Awards, and has also been recognised in a national public engagement competition.
Winning an AHRC award recognises the important role of film and performance theatre in challenging audiences to actively engage with people’s personal experiences. Our project uses traditional performance theatre and film to raise some of the voices and stories from the communities living on the frontline of climate change.
“I am deeply honoured that we won an AHRC award, and I dedicate this to the incredible strength and creativity of the people of the slum that this documentary is based on,” said Ehsan Kabir, the film director. “It highlights their struggle to cope with the ever-increasing effects of climate change, and I hope that it gives a voice to the unheard and helps us to better understand the scale of the climate change crisis we are facing.”
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