Royal Television Awards 2018 - Innovation Award
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The Bully Book

Raising awareness of bullying and racism and dealing with those all important issues.

Working with Digital Voice for Communities was a fabulous experience from start to finish. Olwyn and Julie have a real passion for what they do and this is evident in their participatory approach and the quality of the work they produce. I am certain that

Who Took Part

Nearly 30 children from Byker School, Newcastle, including children of refugees and asylum seekers.


This media project was part of a wider 18 month initiative by Save the Children working with young people in a low income area which had undergone rapid change due to the dispersal policy for refugees and asylum seekers.

The charity worked with a class of about 26 8-year-olds in Byker – a mix of the indigenous community and newer arrivals – to raise awareness of bullying and racism and help them have the skills to deal with these when they arose. Through the young people, they intended to spread this awareness to the wider families and community.

They brought in Digital Voice for the last few months to develop a media project to express what the young people had learnt in the earlier part of the initiative.

Project Outline

Digital Voice suggested that animation would be a creative way to allow the young people to express their views, and have the benefit of learning about how to produce animation along the way.

We also recommended that this production would be more powerful in communicating with the intended audience if we also shot a video alongside the animation, so that the young people would be seen on camera explaining their views and how the animation was made.

To increase the effectiveness of the planned cinema screening, we recommended a “community ads” project which would give the young people the chance to shoot content on digital stills cameras and raise the profile of the project in local shops and organisations.

What Happened

  • Brainstorms held with young people to get their ideas on sequences they’d like to include.
  • They decided to make a Guide for other people, which they called The Bully Book.
  • The children storyboarded all the ideas, made the characters from plasticine, created props to make a playground and living room, and recorded the voiceovers.
  • A short drama sequence was added, starring one of the pupils, to round off the storyboard.
  • To ensure that the pupils expressed their views about bullying and racism as openly as possible, without the self-consciousness of on-camera interviews, we created a sound studio and encouraged them to talk freely so that they had the best possible chance to say their own sincere views.
  • The young people created graphics for titles and captions, to maintain the clear message that this was their own production.
  • For their community adverts, they shot digital photos, recorded scripts and drew a recreation of Shields Road shops in Byker. The work was all carried out in the school with four-hour sessions once a week for eight weeks.


The 12 minute DVD was well-received by the young people and Save the Children. It was launched at The Gate cinema in Newcastle in Refugee Week at an event attended by pupils, teachers, members of families and the local community. DVDs were supplied to the young people to take home. More than 150 people attended the special screening. They saw a powerful film about the causes of bullying and what we can do about it, as well as community ads photographed and presented by the Byker School pupils.

The Evening Chronicle in Newcastle carried a full page of coverage in its young people’s section, the Kron, using words and pictures provided by the young people.

It has been regarded as an effective way to deliver these messages to young people and has gone on to have wider use than originally planned.

Sharing The Results With Others

Coverage in local paper (Evening Chronicle) and excerpt streamed on National Refugee Week website. The Bully Book is now available as a national Save the Children resource pack for schools to address these issues.

Benefits For Participants

The children worked effectively in teams, developed media skills and the media work consolidating the citizenship learning on racism and bullying.

Clients and/or Funding

The project was the culmination of 18 months of work by the Positive Press project, funded by Save the Children and Comic Relief.

Who Else Would Benefit From This Sort of Project

This multimedia project approach is especially effective to address issues for children and young people, and is also a useful and enjoyable experience for adults.

How To Find Out More

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Other media from this project