The academic impact of the research-based film RUFUS STONE, is certainly rewarding.
In addition to a long list of publications produced by the project team (Jones, Fenge, Read & Cash), the film is now highlighted in several academic publications by esteemed authors, including Patricia Leavy, Marilyn Lichtman and Mary and Ken Gergen. Invitations to screen for large academic audiences, typically followed by stimulating exchanges in Q&A sessions, continue to roll in. Recent viewings at Keele University and the University of Alberta are just two examples of the growing list of national and international universities who have invited screenings of the film. Testing the waters with screenings for undergraduate students (such as HSC’s Evidence for Practice Unit and Sociology courses, for example) has also been rewarding. Again, intelligent questions and discussions from students follow on from each of these viewings. Enthusiasm and praise greets the film on all of these occasions.
The screenings currently bubbling up in community and service provider venues are personally particularly heart-warming, however. The purpose of making the film—from the very early days before funding was even secured—was to hopefully have opportunities to change hearts and minds in the community. Older gay and lesbian citizens too often remain isolated in their communities, often by geography as well as fear and ignorance. By getting our message out to the very communities in which the film is set through film, a substantial goal of our original intention is achieved.
Much of this community activity is generated by our decisions to hold two events at Bournemouth University. A two-day ‘Train the Trainers’ Masterclass: Interfacing with older LGBT citizens and challenging discrimination’ was held at Bournemouth in April, 3013. The event launched the Method Deck, Methods to Diversity and the film RUFUS STONE– a learning tool to inspire agencies, practitioners and communities to think about diversity within their ageing population. Participants received a complimentary copy of the Method Deck and a DVD of the award-winning film, Rufus Stone, upon completion of the two-day training.The Masterclass was based upon our success with the earlier ESRC Festival of Social Science one-day event entitled, “Pathways to Impact: ageing, diversity, connectivity and community” November, 2012. The day included the Method Deck and a screening of RUFUS STONE. Both of these occasions have resulted in community and service-provider activity using the film and Method Deck around the country.
Impact continues very much on its own steam
A few examples:
- Dorset County Council LGBT group will be showing Rufus Stone to Dorset County Council care home managers on 15th April
- A member of the Dorset County Council LGBT Group also showed it recently to a group of young people at Beaminster School.
- RUFUS STONE RUFUS STONE was shown to an audience at Winchester Discovery Centre, as part of a three event celebration of LGBT History Month.
- Alzheimers Society UK continues to use the film in its training on dementia nationally, a direct result of the BU Masterclass.
In commenting on the film’s key message to any audience, Kip Jones, Project Lead, Author and Executive Producer of RUFUS STONE, often singles out one key piece of dialogue:“We all knew. We didn’t like to say, but we all knew”. The film’s message is clearly about beginning a dialogue and changing that response. This is a discussion that needs to take place in communities. In this way, the impact of the film continues to roll out and highlights the longevity and sustainability of the original research project and its outputs.