Voicing ordinary people and everyday narratives through participatory cinema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This practice-led participatory study seeks to probe the extent to which ordinary people, in their everyday spaces, and whose voices are absent or co-opted in ‘traditional’ cinema, can actively participate in narrating their stories through short films. The project, titled Utaifa, entailed working with a focus group of eleven members of the Abakuria community in Kenya, over eight days, to prod-use three shorts. It relies of Homi Bhabha’s cultural difference ideas, Nico Carpentier’s maximalist media participation theory and conceptual discourses on self-representations. The article has three broad sections. The first offers insight into the Utaifa participants discussing their three shorts. The second unpacks the study’s rationale discussing opportunities presented by access to digital platforms, gender dynamics in marginalized communities, dominance by media elites in representations, ubiquity of grand narratives at the expense of self-representations and the language question. The third section delves into the study’s important insights and lessons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-133
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of African Cinemas
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • co-creators
  • digital storytelling
  • participatory practice
  • prod-users
  • prosumers
  • self-representation
  • short films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


Dive into the research topics of 'Voicing ordinary people and everyday narratives through participatory cinema'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this