TOFTS (2001)


Fergal Keane made a BBC documentary in Lincoln Green as part of his 'Forgotten Britain' series; the premise being that the shocking state of the estate was a damning indictment of government policy.

Indictment maybe, but not a good experience for those living in Lincoln Green. We wanted to work alongside local people to make a film that might tell a somewhat different story, and we wanted the audience to be local people themselves.


After three months working, we screened the film in four different outdoor locations including Lincoln Green shopping centre. Hundreds of people came to each screening; the verdict was overwhelmingly positive...the film didn't gloss over the problems of the area, but it also looked at the positive role that local people had been taking.


We worked closely with Learning Partnerships, a local organisation dedicated to developing learning opportunities for all ages in the communities. Through them we were able to make our first contacts with local people, important particularly because of the mistrust felt following the experience with the Forgotten Britain series (lots of people liked Fergal Keane but felt really let down by the final film).

We were often asked whether people could feel as let down as with their previous experience. All we could do was point out that the film would be screened here in Burmantofts, and if they didn't rate it, then they could tell us directly!


Funding came from Leeds City Council, the Baring Foundation, Lloyds/TSB Foundation and Yorkshire Arts.

Absolutely perfect. I looked round at the hundreds of people sat out of an evening, enjoying a film about themselves... in Lincoln Green shopping centre of all places! I can tell you I had a tear in my eye. Thank you.

Chris Miller (Burmantofts resident)

pictured on following page: if you look carefully!

What We Learned

  • The difference between our film work and that of a regular documentary film-maker: for us the prime audience were the participants themselves. Our motives: to reflect; to inspire debate; to embed learning; to celebrate achievement.
  • Film was our latest artform. Andy Edwards, the designer who had created 2000 Lines with us, called Heads Together 'media-agnostic'. The important thing for us was to choose the art-form that would achieve the defined purpose of the project. And then frame it in ways that made sense. A film is one thing. Community-based outdoor screenings make it into something really interesting!
  • We managed to creatively reclaim the streets...
Chris Miller with pipe and tower block