Joanne Jordan’s climate change documentary wins prestigious award
15 November 2017
The documentary based on a GDI 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 was based on research by Dr Joanne Jordan, an Honorary Research Fellow at the Global Development Institute.
As part of the project she interviewed more than 600 people living in Dhaka’s slums. 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.
The Pot Gan performance was developed as part of a Master’s course unit on ‘Theatre for Development’ at the University of Dhaka, helping Bangladeshi students learn about crucial global issues that have a local impact. In addition, the project materials have been used as teaching resources at the University of Manchester.
Joanne commented: “Being shortlisted for an AHRC award provides crucial support and recognition of the important role of film and performance theatre in challenging audiences to actively engage with the personal experiences of urban poor affected by climate change in Dhaka. The project uses indigenous performance theatre and film to raise some of the voices and stories from the communities living on the frontline of climate change.”
Ehsan Kabir, the film director said “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. 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.”