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Toolkit

Awareness raising

Presentation
Communication
Awareness raising
Identifying and recognising

Filming/documenting to raise awareness on the heritage practice

AWARENESS RAISING

Presenting and communicating cultural heritage has a huge role in its safeguarding. 

Through presentation, communication and outreach, a wider public - often unfamiliar with the practice or craft - is informed about cultural heritage and made accessible to a wider audience.

The toolbox 'Filming Living Heritage Toolbox' includes two types of presentation and communication activities, which, as safeguarding measures* under the UNESCO 2003 Convention, are very important for wide implementation:

 

This toolkit deals with the function 'Awareness raising'.

It can entail many things: making people (and/or the general public) aware of the importance of a certain craft and the function(s) it fullfils in society, or, for example, to make people aware why an inherited practice is at risk and what is threatening the survival of its characteristic knowledge and skills.

Informing people about these matters does not only contribute to its safeguarding, but also enhances mutual understanding and respect, and peaceful coexistence along with affirming cultural diversity. 

HOW TO: CREATIVE & EXPERIMENTAL FILMMAKING

Awareness raising as a documenting purpose is probably the one that offers the most creative ways of film expression.

There are lots of options! You can choose from all kinds of film types, think of a one-minute promo film with dynamic music and rapidly changing scenes, or an artistic sensory experience of half an hour with little sound that focuses on evoking emotions. Or you can focus on a specific viewpoint, person, material or perspective to portray heritage or craftership.

In unleashing your creativity, you might want to work with ‘experimental filmmaking’. This method can include:

  •  a non-linear narrative (meaning that the story is not presented in a chronological order) 
  • different filming (out-of-focus and asynchronous sound, for example) 
  • diverse editing techniques (rapid or slow-motion)
  • ...


The most important thing is that, at the end, it sends the right message: this being the message that the community or group of tradition bearers wishes to send to the public.

 

TIP! New to filming? Take a look at our ‘Step by step guide for filming’ to get started!

The different stages in designing a Japanese woodcut.
The different stages in designing a Japanese woodcut. - © Bokrijk

VIDEOGRAPHER’S RECOMMENDATIONS

The following recommendations are based on the Focus Craftership experience where a professional videographer closely collaborated with heritage professionals and practitioners.

Such an intensive, collaborative filming process implies many working hours and a solid budget.

But of course, if you are not in such an ideal situation, considering the time and/or budget available, you can adjust the recommendations to your own context and possibilities.

01 PREPRODUCTION

Contact the practitioners and discuss the approach

  • Start by contacting the practitioners you want to work with for a first sharing of ideas on how to approach the video.
  • Try to get a clear view of the message they want to communicate.
  • Map what opportunities there are to film within a specific time frame.
  • Consult the different approaches with the practitioners and come to an agreement on one of them.

 

Plan the filming

  • Translate the chosen approach into a rough script and a shot list.
  • Reorder the shot list to a practical rough time schedule.
  • Communicate the shot list and rough time schedule with the practitioners for validation.

02 PRODUCTION

Before filming

  • Make a filming schedule and follow it as strictly as possible, but leave a margin for unexpected situations.
  • Discuss how the practitioners will work exactly and if there are repeated actions, in order to set up the filming material adequately (see further below).
  • Contact everyone involved some days before the actual shooting to confirm if everything can proceed as discussed.
  • Start early enough and leave a margin in your schedule for unexpected situations.

 

During filming

  • Use the shot list and rough time schedule to complete the filming process.
  • Be open to unexpected filming opportunities. These can be helpful in the editing process.
  • Take extra care of the sound recording, try to capture the sounds as isolated as possible by using external directional microphones.

03 POSTPRODUCTION

Editing

  • Build up the edit by making rough cuts of well defined scenes in separate timelines, only leaving the usable shots in each timeline.
  • Copy and paste the scenes from the rough cut into a master timeline.
  • Take time to explore and experiment with different approaches.
  • Be sure to calculate extra time for the editing. Having some distance in time from filming and seeing the edit with fresh eyes can significantly help the process.

 

Consulting and finalising

  • Export a preview file of the finished edit and consult with all parties involved to collect feedback before finishing the video.
  • Keep track of comments on the editing in the production planning document.
  • Process the comments and use this version to record the voice-over of the practitioners.
  • Finalise the video by adding the voice-over and finalising the sound and image.

Note

The final result can be very different from the agreed approach due to several reasons or circumstances. This happens frequently.

INSPIRING EXAMPLES

Farmer-producer Peter Bauwens displays his crops at The New Garden.
Farmer-producer Peter Bauwens displays his crops at The New Garden. - © Femke den Hollander (2023)

01 Crop selection

Trajectory

CAG (Centre for Agrarian History), 't Grom (Belgian Vegetable Museum) and Bokrijk | Craftsmanship & Heritage worked together with a number of farmer-producers in the case study to document the craftership of crop selection with a view to raising awareness.

Within that trajectory, they worked with a film on education for the craftsmanship of crop selection, with a case study on Brussels ground chicory (this case study can be found here).

 

Context

Crop selection is about repeatedly sowing and using the trained eye of the farmer-producer to select the plants for seed for the desired traits. It really is a craft in its own right. Today, crop selection is almost entirely in the hands of large companies, but this is leading to a sharp decline in diversity. That is why the aforementioned partners set out to document, secure and give a sustainable future to this knowledge and expertise.

In doing so, the farmer-cultivators each have their own focus: some have a professional target audience while others aim at hobby gardeners and kitchen gardeners.

By visualising the craftership of crop selection together with, by and for the heritage community, they aim to increase the heritage awareness of the growers and of a broader interested public, such as kitchen gardeners.

 

Approach

Preliminary stage

Together with 't GROM, CAG launched an open call to their network of farmer-cultivators to participate in an audiovisual production.

Those interested were invited to an online meeting where more information was shared and goals were agreed upon. Everyone was invited to share their thoughts.

This information was compiled into a document and sent to everyone asking them to confirm further participation. This made it easy to know who was really interested and able to participate.

After selecting the practitioners, a rough production plan could be made that followed the seasonal nature of this intangible heritage practice.
 

Filmmaking process

Filming itself was done according to the seasons and rhythms of the community. This presented several challenges:

  • Practitioners have busy and seasonal schedules. As a result, they cannot agree on a definitive filming schedule in advance.
  • The seasonal factor: in order to document crop selection skills and practices, the seasonal progression of crops had to be tracked. The shooting days are then weeks apart.
  • Weather conditions. Rain or drought, weather affected schedules of the farmer-cultivators (at the last-minute). 
 
Finishing

After filming, a preview showing at a 'seed fair' in 't Grom was screened and well received.

Based on this screening and the comments, it was decided to film additional material to put more focus on what was said by the practitioners.

After finishing the documentation process, a pop-up expo 'Crop selection? A craft in its own right!" and an awareness-raising documentary "Crop selection? A craft in its own right!' was made.

(A second, educational documentary was made up in the context of the case study around the Brussels ground chicory. Read more about it here). 

 

Filmmaker's experience 
 

"Agricultural professionals can usually be found in their fields or at work. This was the factor that made the filming process challenging. Time to film was limited as practitioners were incredibly busy. Planning the shooting days and sticking to this schedule was a challenge for all involved." (Alexander Kerkhof, filmmaker)

 

Filmmaker's advice

  • Have a clear vision of how you want to raise awareness before you start filming.
  • Sometimes there are limits to what you can do yourself in experimental filmmaking. In that case, you can bring in a 'director' to bring the vision to life.  
  • Finding a different kind of visual language is often not easy. Bring examples and discuss well what the possibilities are with different film techniques. 


Conclusion

Working with seasonal practices requires sufficient flexibility from the supervising heritage professionals and the filmmaker involved. Planning will often be subject to last-minute changes.

Experimental filmmaking offers many opportunities but can also seem intimidating. Agree well in advance with the heritage community how they see awareness-raising through film. 

An impression of the pop-up expo 'Crop selection? A craft in its own right!'
An impression of the pop-up expo 'Crop selection? A craft in its own right!' - © Femke den Hollander (2023)
Crop selection by Alexander Kerkhof (Feathers on Wings)

02 Japanese woodcut

Trajectory

The heritage professionals of Bokrijk | Craftsmanship & Heritage developed a case study around the audiovisual documentation of Japanese woodcarving craftsmanship. To this end, they partnered with Vladimir Ivaneanu and Soetkin Everaert. Vladimir went to Japan in 2007 to learn the craftership and Soetkin takes classes with Vladimir at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent. From their shared passion for Japanese woodcutting, they work together in a master apprentice programme, the framework of the Craftership Scholarships they were awarded in 2023.

Japanese woodcut is a form of printmaking. This art form developed from Chinese woodcut and gained its own character in the mid-17th century as we know it today from prints like Hokusai's 'The Wave'.

In 2024, Vladimir and Soetkin will travel to Japan together to explore with Japanese masters how they use craftership, evaluate their own practice and reflect on the future.

 

Context

Vladimir and Soetkin, a master and woodcarving apprentice from the Ghent region were contacted by Bokrijk | Craftsmanship & Heritage to take part in the 'Focus Craftership' project and make a film about their artisan practice.

They were excited to take part and were offered the methodology resulting from the project to choose an approach that would mean the most to them, and that they would feel comfortable with.

They chose to focus on communication, more specifically awareness-raising. The plan was to follow them through a new carving process over a period of time, exploring context, activities and experiences.

 

Approach

At the beginning of the film process, Vladimir and Soetkin expected to show the whole process in two film segments. Thus, they started working on their own woodcuts. After conducting a workshop together, they decided to collaborate to create one woodcut illustration. This encouraged interaction between master and student and accelerated the learning process.

The opportunity was taken to take time to really understand the complexities of craftership.

This also aligned with the vision of both practitioners and provided time to learn about this heritage practice in depth. This would not have been possible if the idea of a documentation process with only two film segments was maintained.

The documentation process shows the different stages in the creation of such a print:

  1. manipulating a woodblock
  2. applying a design to that woodblock
  3. patiently cutting out the design
  4. applying colours layer by layer on the woodblock
  5. printing each layer of colour on special paper

A lot of tools are involved: barens, nori glue and brushes, to name but a few. And, of course, gouges, knives or a chisel during the carving process.
 

To document this craftership, Vladimir and Soetkin are working on a print with blue, pink, black and even a shiny finish. Such a print with an impressive amount of detail requires a lot of preparation work, patience and knowledge.

 

Short film 'Smitten with Japanese woodcut' montage by Alexander Kerkhof (Feathers on Wings)
Behind-the-scenes filming of cooperage.
Behind-the-scenes filming of cooperage. - © Femke den Hollander (2023)

03 Cooperage

Trajectory

The heritage professional from Bokrijk | Craftsmanship & Heritage initiated a trajectory together with Rodenbach (brewery in Roeselare, West Flanders) on the audiovisual documentation of the craftsmanship of cooperage.

Initially, there were also talks with the coopers' museum in Nevele and brewery Boon in Lembeek (Flanders). A decision had just been made to pass on the business, which caused a lot of internal changes. Commercial companies like Boon and Rodenbach constantly face big challenges. Heritage and documenting is just a small part in a bigger picture for them.


Context

At Rodenbach, they employ almost 300 standing barrel makers and permanent coopers. Pol, one of the coopers, was just retiring when we knocked on Rodenbach's door. It was a unique opportunity to still snare Pol for an interview. Jordie, a twenty-something, followed Pol for a year to learn the craftership.

A local intangible heritage professional from heritage cell TERF/BIE Midwest was also involved in the journey. This for interviewing and around actions to highlight the awareness-raising trailer.

 

Approach

Planning the shooting days was done before and after the summer period. In summer, the brewery is very busy because 'Rodenbach' is a summer beer.

Because of the commercial and busy schedules, filming would sometimes be at short notice. Fortunately, the partners and the filmmaker were very flexible.

In the barrel rooms, extra light was also necessary. The rooms are very large but the space between the barrels is narrow and to enter a barrel, you have to go high up.

We worked in the edit towards 'a day in the life of the cooper' where you see most of the operations. Of course, we were not able to film a leaking barrel (thankfully). We did film as many actions as possible of a cooper.
 

Trailer Cooperage by Alexander Kerkhof (Feathers on Wings)
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