Transform TV – a channel for young people’s potential

Transform TV – a channel for young people’s potential
New Start
June, 09

Transform TV was created in an attempt to tackle the stigmatisation and alienation of young people across some of Glasgow’s poorest communities. Run by cultural regeneration organisation Fablevision, the scheme targets people aged 16-19 who are not in education or training, and offers them an insight into the world of television – from lighting, sound, editing and interview techniques to camera skills. The initiative also helps participants to improve their literacy and numeracy and learn how to work in a team and conduct research.

Through Transform TV, teenagers make short video clips about what’s happening in their communities and services that are available. They are encouraged to explore what action is needed to improve the local area and to consider why young people are so often viewed as a problem.

They work with professionals at Fablevision’s studio in Govan, west of the city centre, to make the clips before loading them onto the Transform TV website. Organisers hope the site will become like a Scottish community version of YouTube, where people can upload their own videos on events in their area.

Around 90 people took part in the project in Govan, Possil, Blackhill, and Provanmill before 12 went on to an intensive six ¬month course with Fablevision.

The scheme encourages young people to continue in education, as their work at the project contributes towards modules for courses at North Glasgow College. Several of the teenagers later enrolled in media courses and found jobs, while others have picked up work at Fablevision Studios, the multimedia trading arm of the charity which produces websites, promotional films, 3D animation and graphic design services. One teenager even had his short film screened at a local cinema.

Liz Gardiner, Fablevision’s executive director, believes the project has what it takes to tap into young people\s imagination.

‘TV is sexy, entaging, exciting. People gettosee themselves and they love it. Their family and friends love it. It’s a powerful medium because it reaches everyone. The style of the videos is funny, quirky and provocative.’

She adds that a lot of aggression from young people stems from the fact that they are alienated from decision ¬making in their neighbourhoods and often turn to antisocial behaviour as a way of rebelling against communities that don’t listen. Transform TV allows young people to lobby for their own changes, show they care about the community and hit back at those who brand them delinquents.

While the project received £20,000 in European funding and £15,000 from grant-making organisation Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the money was expected to run out last month. One way Fablevision is hoping to generate revenue is to get organisations to hire the Transform TV team to produce video clips for their websites. One body, community sector coalition Local People Leading, has taken advantage of this opportunity by commissioning a monthly video from Fablevision. Later this year organisers are aiming to extend the programme to other areas of Glasgow.

Louisa Taylor, Fablevision projects manager, sums up the transformation of the participants thanks to the scheme: ‘When they first came in they would not look you in the eye. Now their heads are up and they are doing things on their own. For many of them their work experience has been at places like Somerfield or McDonald’s – they have only seen jobs, not careers. Now they know there are jobs available that are exciting and varied!

Ryan Williamson, 19, is a participant who has benefited hugely from the scheme. ‘I’ve loved it. I’ve met new people and made new friends. I’ve learned about team work and communication skills and thanks to my experience interviewing people I am no longer as shy.’