From the TUC

Using online video for organising & campaigning

31 Oct 2008, By

I was interested to read in the paper this week that Obama owns the internet when it comes to winning the election campaign. It seems that the use of this medium was due to the hostility of the US media to the centre left and hence the use of the internet in the US as an effective alternative  for campaigning; leading to the prolific use of blogs and online sites such as youtube.

In the UK trade unions and the centre left have under- utilised these mediums for expressing views and campaigning on issues. This poses a couple of questions, firstly, is this because the media is less hostile in the UK than in the US?(I doubt it) and that is why we don’t need to use it as much as we should  Or, secondly, because we are unsure about how to go about using it effectively?

…. I think that the answer is a mixture of both but largely the second reason….So, to offer a helping hand TUC education/unionlearn launched an exciting two-day course ‘MAKE YOUR OWN FILM’ ( designed to provide organisers, officers and staff with the knowledge and tools to make (good) short films for use in organising and campaigning work; particularly for use on Youtube.

Youtube has been used in the UK for trade unions campaigns, the FBU were one of the first to utilise the growing youtube phenomena. However it is an under-utilised area by many trade unions.

 Alan Miles from Mad Inertia productions leads the MAKE YOUR OWN FILM course, and it really is a great pleasure to have an experienced trade union filmmaker such as Alan bringing his knowledge and experience to the course in a way that we as trade unionists can readily relate to, he contextualises the course immediately and demonstrates in an inspirational way how we can use film in our organising and campaigning work, evidencing some of his own film work and experience (FBU, War on Want, Justice for Colombia, Love Music Hate Racism, Glastonbury Festival etc)  . The course is very hands-on, and all participants make a film for use on youtube by the end of the 2 days.

I knew that the course would be popular but I never expected to fill courses three times over (I am already planning further dates to fill demand and some unions are requesting bespoke courses) so we definitely appear to have picked up on the current ‘Zeitgeist’.

So when it comes to the question of the under-use of the internet by trade unions and the centre left in the UK for organising and campaigning work, I hope that this course will go some way to changing things…

And fingers crossed for Obama next week xxx

To check out the students films from the first film course, go to and whilst you are there why not check out theatre group Electric Picnic performing their piece dealing with misconceptions of trade unions at the ‘10 years of the organising academy event ‘.