About Real Time

Real Time was founded in 1984 by Dr Jackie Shaw, now Research Fellow at IDS (Institute of Development Studies), University of Sussex and Clive Roberston, Real Time’s current creative director.

Participatory Video - The book

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In 1997 we published a book on Participatory Video, a comprehensive guide to using video in group development work. Used in a participatory way, video can be a powerful tool, which allows clients to examine the world around them, gain awareness of their situation and become more actively involved in decisions which affect their lives.

Based on an innovative approach, the book sets out a complete programme for workers in a range of social work, community, education and health settings. It features over 60 exercises, explaining clearly the procedure to follow, the time needed and the value of each activity. It includes practical advice on:

* workshop planning
* video equipment and how to use it
* teaching technical skills to group members
* running long-term projects

Participatory Video is a practical handbook for a wide range of professionals, including social workers, teachers, extension workers, therapists, community artists and video trainers. It is available

Real Time's Founders

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Clive Robertson

Creative director and Founder
Clive has over 30 years experience using participatory video to deepen community insights and communicate them to decision makers and the wider public using visual methods to build communications between marginalised communities and policy makers. Clive has worked in corporate, educational, statutory and voluntary sectors. Including time as co-director of London Video Arts and has delivered hundreds of video and media projects in the UK and abroad. 
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Dr Jackie Shaw
Jackie is a skilled participatory facilitator, project leader, senior lecturer, international consultant and multi-disciplinary social researcher, with more than 30 years experience using visual methods such as participatory video to mediate and drive participatory action research, social dialogue, collective action and communication processes in a wide range of community, development, and health contexts.
Her work has prioritised collaborations with the most marginalised and disadvantaged communities, such as people living in poverty, women, refugees, people with disabilities and mental-ill-health, elderly people, sexual minorities and homeless people. Jackie has provided tailored practitioner training and accompaniment input for professional groups, NGOs and communities in the UK and internationally since 1990.

Real Time's Team

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Tom Zajac
Tom studied Television and Video Production at Bournemouth University and is an experienced filmmaker, camera operator and editor. He has worked in the independent sector as a freelancer for over 20 years on a wide range of productions and is responsible for overseeing all Real Time's content outputs. He is a flexible producer and editor who sees the value in creating positive working relationships with his clients from the very start, often working alongside people to conceive, research, script and produce their films.
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Patrick Humphreys
Development director
Professor Patrick Humphreys is Emeritus Professor of Social Psychology at LSE (London School of Economics). He has expertise in innovative and creative decision-making, decision support systems, and enhancement of resources for health, culture, development and networking. He is a director of Spritivity Worldwide Ltd, Papertronic Ltd, and The International Creative Industries Alliance, China. As Co-Director of the London Multimedia Lab for Audiovisual Composition and Communication he directed the project,  “Creative Partnerships: Pathways to Value” for the Arts Council England. He is responsible for the LML’s joint initiative with ZenZone Media Lab, Beijing on “Spritivity Workshops”.

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Miroslav Babenko
Software developer and app designer
Miroslav is experienced in working in Livecode on Mac OS, Windows PC, IOS and Android platforms. He has an MSc from the University of Brighton and worked as a software developer and designer for “Images and Sounds” (integrating a Papertronic book, eBook, and online audio-visual catalogue). He is working on a wide range of innovative projects at Real Time using creative technological solutions to help homeless groups as well as working on the design and development of the app "What’sAshore: Who'sAround", which is constructed in association with the Mediterranean Community.

Real Time's mission: Changing realities

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Driving change processes through participatory video and creative storytelling
We know that the only constant is change, but it is the unprecedented pace of transformation, and the real-world complexity, which require innovative approaches to change management.
Professionals in commercial settings and both statutory and non-government agencies face wicked problems – issues are unique, interconnected and may have no established routes forward. Top-down solutions often fail because each context is different. There are unpredicted consequences from interventions because people may not do as expected. This explains the need to understand ground level experiences of what is really going on.

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Participatory video
Real Time’s participatory video is a tried and tested approach to unearthing novel insight. Developed over more than 30 years in a wide range of settings,
it involves group’s in communicating their own stories on video.
In turn, this can build awareness about what prevents change happening, and what needs to be done. However, collaborative storytelling offers further value.

Collaborative and creative storytelling
All cultures use stories to make sense of their lives and forge a common bond. Stories provide shared understanding, which in turns influence how we
think and behave. Organisations and communities can be restricted by external narratives. Real Time uses videoing and playback exercises, as well as other creative storytelling methods to stimulate deeper exploration of reality. This opens space for all views, and enables seeing as well as hearing. Stepping back from experience and discussing the issues together means new stories can emerge that encompass both causes and better solutions. Moreover, in authoring their own pathways forward, people are more likely to act to bring about change than when it seems imposed.

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Opening dialogue between interests
Contemporary issues in business, health, community and government services cannot be solved by any single interest group alone. There is a need to bring all stakeholders together in evolving mutual understanding about the problem and shared commitment to possible action.
Sustainable solutions come through working in partnership towards improvements – a process of small steps with successes and setbacks which require iterative and ongoing action and reflection. Participatory visual (research) processes such as participatory video can be a way of building constructive relationships between a range of interest groups and purposeful collaboration.


Real Time values the contribution of volunteers. We offer a range of opportunities designed specifically to meet each volunteer's skill set and aspirations.

To date we have offered volunteering opportunities in digital archiving, programming, project development, production, editing, administration and management roles.

Volunteering at Real Time offers a creative and positive experience and provides a good fit with private sector corporate responsibility policies.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us:

Some of our clients

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