Manifesta’s core aim is to facilitate creative expression of marginalised voices (young, old, including migrants) using arts and culture and film-making to promote social change.Young people ideas and perspectives are then put them ‘centre stage’ - using traditional exhibition sites as well as more unusual public spaces to reach the widest possible audience mix, and to provoke refreshed discourses on key current social and cultural affairs.
Our activities range across arts and cultural activities to do work in the cultural field; developing learning skills associated with creative film-making; engaging with history/heritage learning; devising and disseminating educational packages for formal as well as informal learning; employing cutting edge/unusual dissemination/communication formats and the latest technology, QR Codes and mobile applications; facilitating cross cultural and inter-generational dialogue; advising others engaged in related projects, and sharing our work achievement and expertise with others via conferences and seminars.
Concentrating on creative video/film narratives (delivered in projects themed around belonging, history and heritage, neighbourhoods) we have workshop-produced more than 100 short films of broadcast quality, which have received international awards, and have been seen in the UK and internationally - in museums and community centres, in the courtyard of an housing estate, on European television (broadcast and online), at festivals, conferences etc. Thus hundreds of new and authentic youth voices have been brought to wider audiences through careful communication, and new talents have emerged.
We work in and from the UK, with projects also extending into other European countries. As part and parcel of our work, we carefully create/broker innovative collaborations with local community-action partners at each of our project sites – so adding to their existing voice expression practice, and enhancing the likelihood of lasting project legacies.
Manifesta was founded by Colin Prescod and Marion Vargaftig, who have been working together for more than 15 years as producers, advisers, supervisers etc. - in the UK and overseas.
Together, they have developed initiatives with the BBC, the International Broadcasting Trust, Save the Children, Separated Children in Europe Network, Runnymede, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, The Museum of London, Musée Carnavalet and other NGOs in the field of youth,arts and culture, cultural diversity and anti-racism.
As consultants, they have worked with Nesta, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Art Council England (London) etc.
A notable example of the international strand of our work was the creation of the European Multicultural Media Agency - EMMA- initiating and delivering a pan-European competition for first time 25 minutes’ documentary TV commissions, with European Commission funding (3 DGs), 5 national public service broadcasters - BBC, France 2, RTP (Portugal), Teleac/NOT (Netherlands) and UR (Sweden) and in association with the International Broadcasting Trust. Production award to 4 young participants (17 - 21 years old), culminating in national TV broadcasts in 5 countries. Hosted by local production companies, each winner was allocated a c. 30K budget attached to a production company and trained/mentored/supported, up to the delivery of their films.
The four films have been widely broadcast on European TVs and screened at a number of prestigious documentary film festivals in Europe and North America. ‘New Europeans', an educational video-pack incorporating the films, received a (UK) Commission for Racial Equality nomination for a Race in the Media Awards in 2000, and was distributed in the UK, France and Belgium in English and French versions.
Following a first job at the French Foreign Office, promoting French art and culture though documentary films and exhibitions, Marion Vargaftig left to focus her work on what interested her most, other people's culture. She then worked as an independent, initiating and leading several European projects.
Marion is a leader/producer of European programmes and media projects, working at the interface of policy and practice. Her expertise is in designing and developing projects associating arts and culture and the media as a catalyst for social change. She has a particular expertise in film and television - and has extensive international experience, initiating and delivering projects ranging from conferences, exhibitions, films, publications in many EU countries and beyond, and involving a variety of partners and funders. She also has experience of working with museums and galleries, in the UK/Europe.
She has a particular interest in putting youth and other marginalised voices (migrants, refugees, cultural and ethnic minorities) centre stage. She speaks fluent English as well as her French mother tongue.
In the nineties, Marion developed a number of initiatives on on Migrants and Minority representations and Cultural Diversity in/on European television, including media research projects with/for UNESCOand the Council of Europe. Her writings are published in the UK, France, Sweden.
Over the last 10 years, her work has focused more particularly on initiative involving young people, in particular those on the margins, using video for youth expression and creativity and providing multiple platforms for these voices to be heard. More recently, she started working with old people and cross cultural / cross generational groups.
She has worked with numerous organisations, ranging from arts and cultural organisations and institutions such as the Pompidou Centre, the Musée de l'Histoire de l'Immigration, Arts Council, ICA, International NGOs - e.g. UNICEF, Save the Children and Separated Children in Europe, IBT, NESTA, JCWI, The Runnymede Trust etc.
Between 2003 and 2009, Marion was an advisor to The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) for theoneminutesjr project - in charge of the strategic development, establishing the broadcast element for this youth digital media project with European public service broadcasters. She set up a network of 14+ public service broadcasters in the UK, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, which became the backbone of the project. The collaboration with broadcasters led to the creation of new TV programmes, a commitment to broadcast films produced in other countries, contribution to the annual festival held in Amsterdam, and promotion of the project with online communities development. More recently, she has contributed to the development of StrangerFestival, and was Strangerfestival media consultant for the second edition which took place in Amsterdam, in late 2009.
Since moving from a twenty-year academic career (lecturing in political economy and sociology) to join the BBC in 1989, where he became Head of the African/Caribbean Programmes Unit (TV) (1991/1992), Colin Prescod has worked mainly in film, TV, theatre and most recently in advisory-curating in the museums and archives heritage sector (advisor to two new major permanent galleries, opened in November, 2007 - London, Sugar and Slavery, Museum in Docklands, London, and Atlantic Worlds, National Maritime Museum, London). He served on the Greater London Authority's Heritage Diversity Task Force (2005 to 2008).
Colin is Chair of the Institute of Race Relations, London, (and is a member of the editorial working committee of the IRR's international journal, Race and Class); Chair of the Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art (ACAVA), London; and former Chair of Carnival Village Ltd, London.
Colin was also founding-Chair, 1993-2001, of the DRUM, Centre for British Black Arts and Culture, Birmingham; was invited to contribute to the GLA Cultural Strategy, Steering Group, 2001; was an appointed member of the Mayor's Notting Hill Carnival Review Group, 2001-2003; and was an appointed member and Vice-Chair of the Mayor's Commission on African and Asian Heritage, 2003-2005. In 2004/5, he served on the Learning Committee of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).