Background to our story and methods used in Changing the Narrative
Change The Narrative emerged out of an academic research project led by Farzana Shain and funded by the Leverhulme Trust to explore ‘British Muslim girls’ narratives of their past, present and future lives’. This project drew on life story interviewing and group discussions in schools, colleges and universities with more than 70 young women from a range of ethnic backgrounds including Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghani, Turkish, Somali, Moroccan and Lebanese. All the young women self-identified as Muslim although not all were practising Muslims. The research explored their narratives of growing up and being educated in contemporary England in the shadow of 9/11 and war on terror. Read one of the academic outputs here
Building on this research Shain teamed up with Creative Producer, Parvez Qadir and Filmmaker, Kirstie Henderson to found Change the Narrative. Also funded by the Leverhulme Trust, our short documentary film, Changing The Narrative, explores how young Muslim women feel about the ways in which are they are currently framed by news and media outlets and within education, policy and political discourses. The girls explore these framings versus their reality within the film. The film is designed to be a resource for schools and colleges and a tool to initiate critical dialogue and discussion with policy makers about what needs to be done to change the narrative in relation to the (mis)representations of Muslim girls and women.
We worked with the young women and their teachers in themed workshops over several months. These workshops were designed to place the young women and their narratives at the centre of the production process and drew on a range of creative digital and arts-based methods to support the filmmaking process. This approach enabled the girls to explore and develop their narratives as well as gaining valuable digital mixed-media skills along the way.
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