I submitted my anti bullying film to the Creative Conscience Awards 2017, who aim to:
inspire designers to apply their talents to socially valuable projects, promoting sustainability, freedom, social health and well-being.
I attended the Creative Conscience awards evening on the 5th July 2017 at the IBM Client Centre. The evening was made up of a number of inspiring talks from IBM and the Creative Conscience team. There was also a great opportunity for networking with other student award winners, members of the design industry and the Creative Conscience team.
Over the evening I spoke to a number of other students and it was great to be able to chat to other designers in other design disciplines about their studies and their projects. There were some really amazing and innovative projects which was really inspiring to see.
I was so delighted to have been invited to the evening and have received a Gold award in the Film and Photography category. Completing this project and attending the awards evening has really shown me the power that design can have in making a change in the world for the better.
Poem written by: Shane Koyczan
Voice over by: Danny Annear
Research & About
More than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016).
64% of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36% reported the bullying (Petrosina, Guckenburg, DeVoe, & Hanson, 2010).
Being a victim of bullying increases the risk of being depressed later in life by more than half. Bullying others increases the risk of becoming depressed by 30%.
There were 4,507 cases of cyberbullying in 2012-13, up from 2,410 in 2011-12.
“The issues facing children today are very different from those that faced us as children.” (BBC News, 2017) Our changing society in terms of the rise of the use of technology is making cyber bullying more accessible allowing bullies to hide behind a screen.
I think it is important to understand how privatised and “invisible” this type of bullying can be and how parents and other people close to the victim could be unaware of what is happening. Being able to encourage people to think about the power of the things they do and say. It has been shown that may people “suffer in silence” and do not open up about what they are doing through which can be even more damaging if they are bottling up this hurt.
“Stranger danger, for example, rarely comes up in contacts to ChildLine but depression, self-harm, online bullying and even suicide contacts are increasing exponentially.”
Students have a unique power to prevent bullying. More than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. (Hawkins, Pepler, & Craig, 2001)
I believe that this is where other people have great power in being able to use positive actions to help other people. I saw great opportunity to be able to focus on how other people can help and to try and help the problem by starting at the root of how people think and interact with others.
Bullying has a detrimental impact on the victim, leaving them with problems with self-esteem and mental health. Anyone has the potential to be bullied and others should consider their actions and words that they say to someone before they do as it can leave a permanent imprint on the victims’ mental image of who they are and their self-esteem.
The film aims to make the teenage audience consider the marks that they leave on others and the lasting impact that their words and actions can have. It makes use of marks left on surfaces using ink spreading to represent the control and power of the bully and the influence they can have. It aims to disconnect the victim as someone belonging to a particular group e.g. age, gender, race etc. in order to relate to a larger group of people. It tries to enable individuals to relate the film and interpret from their own experiences.
Personal Story/ Experience
While growing up, I was and still am a quiet person. Going through secondary school, I think people saw weakness in this and were not always kind. However, I think everyone at some point goes through some kind of mistreatment. Some more severely than others, so some people become more mentally affected by it and the damage from it can last longer and be more permanent.
Talking to other people was able to help me understand how it affected/ affects other people and draw upon more than just one interpretation. One person I had spoken to said “everyone you meet has experienced some form of bullying”. “I think I was able to get through it by having something that I really enjoy doing, a passion. I don’t think I would be in the place I am today without that”.
My research showed that bullying plays a massive part in someones life and how they think about others and themselves. I believed that it was a very worthy issue to address and to try and encourage people to think about how they can make a difference in the world by being kind.
I started by choosing a poem which I had remembered to be really powerful and emotive and I saw a potential to use this to create visuals to form a new perspective. I analysed the words in the poem and started visualising ideas by sketching, listening to the poem multiple times, listening to the pace, intonation and volume change etc.
I began brainstorming themes within the problem of bullying and experimented with the following themes:
- The juxtaposition of Love and Hate
- Acts of Kindness
- Social Media and Video Games
- Power and Control
I chose to continue exploring the imbalance of power between the bully and victim and investigated different ways to visualise and tell the poets story.
I experimented with different types of mark making using art materials and different surfaces as a way to illustrate a mark left on the victim to present the permanent damage caused.
A few examples of my experimentation are shown below:
I decided to film moving ink in order to represent the damage to the victim and to encourage people to think about the impact that they have on others and to leave a positive mark on others.
Presenting my film for University Critique
Final Film: Leaving Your Mark
Why did you enter the Creative Conscience awards?
I began my project looking at a poem and had not specifically planned and based my project around the Creative Conscience Awards. I knew that I wanted to create something that was meaningful, powerful and able to make a change in some way. I believe that it is important to be able to use your design skills to change people’s perceptions, and inspire change for the better.
What did it feel like to win an award and come to the awards night?
I felt so proud to be among some really talented designers who had some really interesting and inspiring projects. It showed me the importance of using design skills for positive change and how powerful design is for making a difference to issues going on in the world. I think each person making even a small amount of difference goes a long way. Taking part in this competition has really made me think about and more aware of problems going on in the world.
Would you recommend it to others?
I would definitely recommend entering the Creative Conscience Awards. It is so rewarding and fulfilling to be able to see how design can help a social, ethical or sustainable cause. If you are really passionate about an issue happening in the world or something you feel needs to be changed then it is a great way to be able to connect with other people who have the same vision and mindset as you who can advise you or help you to develop further. Winning an award gives you great connections to the industry and the Creative Conscience Awards gives you support through your journey trying to make projects real and getting yourself out there into the design world.
It was really motivating to work on a project driven by social change, as something that could make a difference to a problem that affects many people during their lifetime. I believe that designers have a very important and powerful role in creating positive changes, as they have the ability to influence people’s emotions or help to see ideas from a different angle. I feel very proud to have received an award in this area of design.
BBC News. (2017). Cyberbullying ‘on rise’ – ChildLine – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25639839
Bullying Alliance (2017). [online] Available at: http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/media/29570/abw_campaign_pack_2015.pdf
Pacer.org. (2017). Bullying Facts. [online] Available at: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/facts.asp