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Andy Porter

Andy Porter was a founder member of West London Media Workshop (originally CAC Video) in Notting Hill.  He was a youth worker and community activist with the People’s Association, and had worked for a year at the Notting Hill Press – one of the UK’s first community printshops before he studied Community and Youth Work at Goldsmiths College.  There he discovered the Sony Portapak - portable video- and began to see its potential as a tool for community action and development.  Inspired by John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins report on the National Film Board of Canada Challenge for Change project and George Stoney’s work in the US, he joined up with fellow community activist Ken Lynam and Alfonse Santana who had been one of the young people he had worked with, and then later on Jan Robinson, to develop a community video resource alongside the Community Action Centre’s printshop and darkroom.  They made videos with local tenants, pensioners, artists, young people and activists, sometimes on behalf of the group and sometimes with the participants hands-on.  LCVA archived videos he was involved in were the Powis Square Tape, and Murchison Tenants.  Unfortunately there are no extant videos for the large scale News at West Ten project where WLMW worked with a group of young people to create a local TV news service for the W10 area.   There is a report on the project  in Heinz Nigg’s seminal book, Community Media.

Andy went on to set up the Irish Video Project with Ken Lynam and Don Magee, where they worked with the Irish Community to make the Irish in England programmes – Parts One and Two, which opened Channel Four’s first People to People Series, about the generation of Irish men and women who had emigrated from Ireland in the 50’s, and helped build the UK’s post-war infrastructure.  He also worked with social agencies employing the participatory style of community video and the Sony Portapak, making a Place of My Own for Stopover Lewisham and  the CentrePoint Tape for the agency of the same name.  He was to make Beyond Our Ken with Tony Dowmunt about the abolition of the GLC, and then two programmes, Remote Control and Tactical TV about popular access to and control of TV – all for Channel Four.

For the rest of his working life he has alternated between working on participatory projects, mainly with young people, and more straightforward film and television productions as writer, producer or director.  Throughout, his work has been characterized by a concern with issues of access, and getting new voices and faces onto the screen.