Evaluating Sistema Scotland: Film by the young people from Big Noise Raploch 

As part of the first substantive output from our evaluation of Sistema Scotland, in 2015 we commissioned a filmmaker to work with six orchestra members from Big Noise Raploch. The young people involved were tasked with directing the film – developing all the content, as well as deciding on the story to be told and the style and feel of the film. The brief was deliberately broad; to communicate what the Big Noise programme meant to them and how it had impacted on their lives. 

Participatory filmmaking such as this is a rich qualitative medium which is increasingly recognised as a valuable tool within social research. This film is able to communicate a range of perspectives, narratives and experiences in an engaging manner, while demonstrating the development of the musicians, touching on their aspirations and culminating in a moving orchestral performance. 

The filmmaking process

While the film rightly stands on its own as an important output, the filmmaking process has enabled some invaluable insights which have contributed to the overall evaluation. The filmmaker met with the young people on six occasions where discussion evolved from basic understanding of filmmaking to a clear vision of what the young people wanted in the film and the approaches required in achieving this. Researchers from the GCPH also attended these meetings. 

The discussions that took place in these meetings were recorded with permission of all participants and constitute important evaluation data. As well as bringing our researchers into contact with the orchestra members involved, the filmmaking process also allowed the researchers to speak with parents and guardians, musicians and teachers; again invaluable opportunities to discuss and observe the wider impacts of the Big Noise programme. 

The methods used in our evaluation of Sistema Scotland are complex and expansive. The filmmaking process described here is just one of a range of qualitative approaches adopted in order to learn about the Big Noise and the impacts of the programme. The challenge for our evaluation team is to try to ensure the presentation of findings from these other approaches and methods are as engaging and appealing as this film. 


Thanks go to filmmaker Simon Parsons from Fire by The River and to everyone who participated in the film including Sistema Scotland Chair Richard Holloway and Chief Executive Officer Nicola Killean. Special thanks go to the primary schools in Raploch, whose staff helped organise a number of filming sessions, as well as Big Noise orchestra members – Coral, Karina, Luke, Nyree, Rory and Symone for giving their time, energy and enthusiasm in the making of this film. 

The first report (in collaboration with Education Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University) on the initial phase of the evaluation was published in May 2015.

Watch the film.