Collaborative Filmmaking

A Collaborative Filmmaking project for pitt public health students

At Pitt Public Health, we understand that expressing oneself is different for everyone and we want to give students the opportunity to do so in many different ways. This summer, we are introducing a new relationship with Collaborative Filmmaking!

What is collaborative Filmmaking? 

Collaborative Filmmaking is an embodied, participatory, and visual research method in which participants are trained to create, analyze, and screen films to answer a research question. The method is useful for exploring sensitive health topics and providing nuanced insight into practices, relationships, and spaces that are difficult to capture using existing methods. Additionally, the participant-produced films center community voices and can serve as powerful, authentic advocacy tools. Fun fact? The research method was developed at Pitt Public Health by Drs. Sara Baumann and Jessie Burke!

Why is it important for new students? 

We want to give you every opportunity to express yourself, and as new students you are going through a lot. Some of you are beginning graduate school for the first time in your lives, some of you are moving to a new state or even country, and all of this experience brings new feelings. For some of us, embracing art and creativity through filmmaking is a great way to showcase your thoughts in a way that is therapeutic for the creator and inspiring for viewers.

What are we asking of you? 

We are inviting students to create short film projects over the course of their first term of graduate school to illustrate their experiences and showcase their passions at Pitt Public Health. These pieces do not have to be completely refined and can be as creative as you want them to be! At this session, students will learn more about the Collaborative Filmmaking research process, view examples from around the world, and get an opportunity to do some of their own filmmaking! (*Please bring your cell phone for recording)

Two community-created Collaborative Filmmaking films from Burke and Baumann to debut at Nepalese film festivals

As a part of an ongoing research collaboration with Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, with funding from the British Academy, BCHS’s Sara Baumann and Jessie Burke have two new community-created films from applying the Collaborative Filmmaking method in Nepal being aired at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival, and the Pame Film Festival in Nepal this December.  

Baumann and Burke Talk Collaborative Filmmaking in Health Promotion Practice Journal's Podcast

BCHS’s Sara Baumann and Jessica Burke discuss the role of art following the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015 in this episode of the HPP Podcast. They explain the origin of "collaborative filmmaking" and their focus on empowering participants and communities and encourage listeners to view their digital gallery and to learn more about collaborative filmmaking.  

Meet our Faculty: A Conversation with Sara Baumann

Sara Baumann is a graduate of BCHS from 2019 and the newest member of the BCHS faculty. Her research focuses on harnessing visual, arts-based, and mixed methods for global health research. She shares a bit about what she's working on, her favorite BCHS memory, and the restaurant she has on speed dial.   

Baumann and Burke launch project using film in community health

A team at Pitt Public Health that is pioneering the use of film in community health research and practice recently received funding to launch a new project with deep emotional implications. Drs. Jessica and Sara Baumann will be working with the Pediatric Palliative Care Coalition and clinicians from Pitt's School of Medicine on teh "End-of-Life and Grief Experiences Among Families: Harnessing the Power of Participatory and Visual Research" proje... 

Baumann blogs about Health Policy and Planning article, asking Is criminalization the answer for ending a harmful practice in Nepal?

HPP DEBATED - BCHS' Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) talks about a recent article in the journal Health Policy and Planning, Is criminalization the answer? Perspectives of community members and police on menstrual seclusion policy in Far-West Nepal. The study was completed by an interdisiplinary Pitt team including Baumann, BCHS's Jessie Burke, and BCHS students Monica Merante, Chris Wiltrout, and Trevor Cutlip.   

Baumann's Research Project Explores Mental Health of Teenagers

KDKA - The mental health of kids and teenagers has been a big concern, especially during the pandemic. Work from BCHS' Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) led eight local teenagers to create short films focusing on the stressors and supports for their mental health. The research project used Collaborative Filmmaking, giving teenagers equipment to create, film, and edit on their own.   

Burke and Baumann take filmmaking to the health sciences

Jessica Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) have created a new form of public health research called Collaborative Filmmaking. The six-step process engages its participants to create a detailed, multimedia form of study rarely seen in the field. Baumann said she knew Pitt was the right fit for her studies when she came across the work of  Jessica Burke , professor and associate chair in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Scienc... 

Burke and Baumann start University-wide Creating Community art project

BCHS's Jessie Burke and Sara Baumann (BCHS '19) created this virtual community art project as an opportunity for our Pitt students, faculty, and staff members to nurture a sense of community by creating, connecting, and sharing experiences navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis that is significantly affecting our lives. While the past several weeks have been incredibly challenging, through flexibility, ... 

Baumann's latest documentary examines transgender identities and reproductive health

WESA-FM -- A documentary about a local transgender musician’s reproductive health offers a new way to think about public health research: through the visual medium of film. Produced by Pitt Public Health postdoctoral associate Sara Baumann  (BCHS '19), the film focuses on Jude Benedict, who identifies as trans-masculine genderqueer (someone whose gender was assigned female at birth, and often expresses themselves in a masculine way, but does not... 

Baumann Investigates Illegal Practice Against Women in Nepal

INSIDE UPMC - Sarah Baumann (BCHS '19) spent the past nine months in Nepal, in part conducting qualitative research and data collection on  chhaupadi , an illegal cultural tradition that isolates menstruating women – who are considered “unclean” – to huts, basements or livestock sheds. Baumann has long researched the practice, most recently with a study published in the journal Global Public Health that assessed the role of caste (a cultural and... 


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