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Equal-Works ezine - March 2008

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Equal-Works.com is a searchable web site offering easy access to the products, processes and good practice developed under projects funded by the ESF Equal programme in Great Britain.

Although the Equal programme finished on 31st December 2007 Equal-Works continues to track the outcomes, achievements and lessons learnt.

This electronic newsletter highlights some of the thousands of enlightening resources available on the site.

ITM - Inclusion throgh Media beneficiaries

Editorial: Black belt DVDs

A stumble through DVD learning materials on the web led to Michael A. Babin, author of ‘Self-instruction through Instructional Videos and DVDs’. In fact it’s about martial arts DVDs and he has nothing to do with Equal, but his warning that one of the drawbacks of DVD learning is that ‘it is not always possible to identify a bad purchase until you have wasted your money’ rang a loud bell.

That, Michael, is why Equal-Works gives its users the chance to preview the wares before they commit. That’s what this e-zine is all about - the eclectic, exotic range of DVDs already on the site, with more coming in by the day.

DVD production is now a sizeable cottage industry. Another American moving and talking image enthusiast, the humourist Ogden Nash, once labelled himself ‘the village videot’.

Thanks to DVD and Equal-Works, Equal is the first major funding programme to be able to share a high proportion of its activities and products in what you might call ‘real movement’. We can see and hear beneficiaries speaking for and about themselves.

They - young people of all races and both genders, older workers, asylum seekers, community entrepreneurs, ex-offenders, people with disabilities and many others - will still be talking directly about their lives through these DVDs (and Equal-Works) for years to come.

Back to martial-arts-Michael. He loves instructional DVDs, but ‘the biggest problem for self-instruction’, he tells us, ‘is the lack of impartial feedback on your efforts.’

Very true. In learning, and social and economic development, as in martial arts, you can get hurt if you just follow the manual regardless of what anyone else is doing.

Finally, he warns ‘… the downside to the availability of instructional videos has been the proliferation of instructors who teach themselves exclusively from tapes and then misrepresent how they learned the material in question to their students.’

Well, Michael, we’d never condone the deception but in Europe the process itself is called mainstreaming.

In case you missed them… 

There’s no doubt about it – Equal partnerships have been good for the events business. But even so, none of us could possibly have got to all the conferences, festivals and other events that have interested us. Here’s a selection of catch-ups. 

The first is the oldest but well worth reviewing. The i-work partnership was about introducing young people with disabilities to the hotel industry. The link below takes you into a series of three DVDs.

And for something completely different, The Creative Academy in Slough has been part of the The Last Mile. Dance has been at the core of its apprenticeship, Foundation Degree and employment generation work, including an international partnership involving the Ballet Rambert and the New York Hip Hop Collective. Here are DVDs from its 2007 Big Dance Weekend and its Urban Action showcase.

And while we’re on the creative industries, the entire Last Mile partnership’s final creative industries event facilitated by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA and former head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, was put onto DVD in November.

There are debates to be heard, too, one of which brings out the basic skills messages from Move On With Equal. There’s a full 15 minute discussion to download.


And finally, Equal Invest came onto the scene. This was a day where social entrepreneurs drawn from a range of Equal partnerships were using the mentoring they’d received to pitch their business plans to potential investors.



You never know who’ll turn up among the clamour of Equal voices...

One of the stars of the BOWL DVD about Skills for Life advocates and Trade Union Learning Representatives became Prime Minister soon after.

There are no PMs in the Equal Brighton and Hove production, but asylum seekers and people from BME communities talking about the learning they’ve been able to access.

Ex-offenders and the employers who’ve taken them on speak out on the Impact Ascend DVD.


Ayr College’s Starting Point presents people with mental health problems as they take key steps to employment.  

The Swoop debates (sound like part of the US Primaries) feature older workers.

And more older workers show us Tick Tock’s TEA shop (no more information – look for yourselves).



Further voices…

  • Agender (gender stereotyping)
  • Atlas (asylum seekers)
  • VISAGE (blind and partially sighted employment seekers)
  • WINGS (no, not Paul & Co, but role models of women in non-traditional employment sectors) and Women into Work (ditto).

Making learning accessible…

First, some good stuff from the first round of Equal:


The high quality DVD of GERI Dramas is now widely used in schools and wherever careers advice is dispensed. It really gets under the skin of gender and ethnic stereotyping of career choice.  Then, two from the legacy of the TyneWear Employability Development Partnership: a smart little film, Great Xpectations, by and about young ex-offenders that made a real impact on North East employers; and another about the professional Liberdade Physical Theatre Company established by and for people with learning difficulties. 


Now from later partnerships…

The Trading Up partnership toolkit supports business start-ups in disadvantaged areas. Inclusion through Media offers a selection of beneficiary voices. Taken together, these products provide an awareness tool everyone should take a look at: Almost Adult,  Psychosis Awareness and UK Sound TV. Whatever you do, don’t miss the Adjust the Balance social footprint cartoon. Or the somewhat woozy ATLAS take on teenage drinking. 


And just to finish, a couple of examples of DVDs made with and by beneficiaries

A series of short films made by beneficiaries on North West Vision and Media’s media placement scheme and the ATLAS DVD designed to engage young asylum seekers in Scotland.



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This e-zine and the Equal-Works site have been produced for the European Social Fund Division and represents Tribal Education Limited’s interpretation of the Equal programme. Neither this nor the Equal-Works site should be relied upon as a statement of the ESFD's views. In entering the site you as a user are accepting these terms and conditions.