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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Champions of change - 20 years of media co-op


The ongoing success of the award winning voluntary sector film makers: over 1,000 films over two decades, reaching millions

When Alex Baguma was an 11-year-old asylum-seeker back in 2006, he and his pals made 90-second film with media co-op and Oxfam Scotland.

‌“It’s definitely up there as one of my coolest days ever - one of my life’s dreams ticked off. At the time, I didn't realise how powerful it was. Now I look back and think, Oh my gosh! That’s what 11-year-old me did!” said Alex, now aged 30, speaking at media co-op’s 20th anniversary celebration." width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Oxfam - Primary</a> from <a href="">media co-op</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

‌“Being given that avenue to tell your story, it’s rare” continues Alex. “I’m from a community where our voices aren’t really heard. To have our little voices on YouTube, to know I had that impact… it’s wild that something like that was possible. Me and my friends did what the grown-ups should have done. It makes me think of someone like Greta Thurnberg. And I’ve carried it into my adulthood. I work with a charity called Legs For Africa, about prosthetic limbs. After making that film back then, I want to be a champion of change in the sphere that I’m in.”

‌Alex’s film Primary is one of 200 films media co-op is donating to the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive, to preserve for posterity an exceptional record of stories and campaigns from Scotland’s Third Sector, since media co-op started in 2004.

‌Keynote speaker at the anniversary celebrations is Paul Laverty, Cannes Film Festival award-winning screenwriter for Ken Loach. Paul said: “Two decades of film-making, bloody hell! Not only to have told stories that help us understand our lives, but to have done them with such skill and imagination over such a length of time is a remarkable achievement. Maybe the secret lies in how the stories are nourished.

‌“Media co-op is a workers co-operative: a democratic place, both economically and culturally. No bosses. No sell out. No doubt lots of arguments too! What an island of inspiration in this top-down dog-eat-dog corporate world. Happy birthday to this remarkable group of film-makers. Much respect.”

‌Joan Turner, who stars in a short film on about disability rights, made by media co-op for Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living in 2017, said: “We made our film to show when you have a disability, you can do the same as anybody else. It 100% shows to people that you can have a really happy life, and control your own life.”" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">GCIL - Self Directed Support - Joan's Story</a> from <a href="">media co-op</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

‌“The filming was a great day” added Joan. “The media co-op film-makers put me very much at ease. We had a laugh. I love their ideas. They've got an eye. They followed me for the day, going to work, going out, doing things about the house. The film’s a great inspiration for people considering living on their own. It can be quite nerve-wracking and daunting. But when you see the nitty gritty of it on screen… it means so much to me, to know my film can really spur somebody on to live independently, and see what they can achieve.”

‌Karin Goodwin, multi-award-winning journalist from The Ferret workers co-operative, made the two-minute film Courage with media co-op in 2011 when she worked at the Scottish Refugee Council, said at the 20th anniversary celebration event: “Our film got over 1,300,000 views on Facebook. Its message is haunting now, as we see the dismantling of the Refugee Convention in the UK, the threat of deportations to Rwanda, and the horrors unfolding in Gaza.”" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">SRC - 'Courage'</a> from <a href="">media co-op</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

‌“I can hardly believe it’s been 13 years since we made Courage to celebrate the Refugee Convention” added Karin. “Media co-op prove you can do things differently. Their commitment to participatory ways of working are fundamental to the authenticity that is always at the heart of their films I learned so much from the process of working on that tiny film with a group of inspiring refugees and asylum seekers from across the world, and it still informs my work today. Thank-you media coop, you’ve achieved so much in the last two decades, happy birthday!”

‌Many SCVO members can testify that media co-op is unique in Scotland: a not-for-profit workers co-operative and social enterprise, with a deep first-hand understanding of our sector and social justice issues.

‌A proudly women-led company, media co-op’s first ever film was commissioned by Scottish Women’s Aid in 2004. Over the next 20 years they have worked since with feminist campaigns in Scotland, the rest of the UK and abroad. Starting with film, media co-op has broadened out to offer animation, graphic design, photography, digital media, and training.

I Just Froze, an animation made for Rape Crisis Scotland in 2017 sums up the trauma response to sexual violence in just 60 seconds." width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="">Fight or Freeze #IJUSTFROZE</a> from <a href="">Rape Crisis Scotland</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>
I Just Froze

‌Refugee rights, disability rights, climate justice, LGBTQ+ rights and anti-poverty activism are other recurring themes.

‌The members of media co-op are motivated by their commitment to equality, so they voted to pay themselves all the same wage, regardless of job or grade - to express that all workers are equally valuable, and to demonstrate that more equitable ways of doing business are possible.

‌Co-production and participatory media is another key principle: many media co-op films are made side-by-side with citizens who have never made a film before, like Alex and Joan. Media co-op worked with SCVO’s #EssentialSector campaign, training SCVO members to create their own films on their mobile phones.

‌Media co-op’s films combine meaningful content with visual originality and wit. Their exceptional creativity has earned them a slew of awards, from Royal Television Society Award for Best Animation, Gold Plaque at Chicago International Film Festival, Celtic Media Festival Torc for Best Educational Film, UK Charity Film Peoples’ Choice Award, to UK Third Sector Excellence Award for Best Charity Film. “Media co-op punches above their weight” comments the Royal Television Society.

‌Their work has appeared repeatedly on the mainstream news media, including BBC and STV – gaining wider audiences for third sector campaigns, while reaching millions on social media.

More Myself is the most recent film among the 200 donations to the National Archive. A 90-second stop-motion animation, hand-made by activists from LGBT Youth Scotland’s youth group in Perth in 2024." width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
More Myself

‌A specially curated 20th anniversary selection of media co-op’s films is on display, free, for anyone to enjoy, at the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive interactive screens at Kevin Hall in Glasgow.

‌TFN has followed the fortunes of media co-op since we met them as a start-up at the very first SCVO Gathering back in 2004. Over their first 20 years they have made over 1,000 films that have reached millions of people - helping the third sector to get our messages across in powerful, memorable, compelling ways.

‌Their door is open, get in touch.



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