Shetland on YouTube: Youth Film in the Northern Isles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Film critic Mark Kermode’s comments in The Observer online refer to the Shetland film group Maddrim Media, a group of teenagers that came together in 2006 through a mutual interest in filmmaking, with the support of Shetland Arts and Shetland Islands Council Youth Services, and who continue to produce a number of short films each year. The comments provide a useful entry point to this chapter, as they suggest that there is a notable body of film produced in Shetland: a ‘stream’ of video ‘has flourished’. Kermode’s last sentence also implies that much of this video is being made by young amateurs, often in their teens. What Kermode does not highlight is that while these films are produced in the physical space of Shetland, most of them are broadcast on the Internet video platform YouTube: this amateur film network encompasses locally specific offline and globally connected online elements. YouTube does not provide the locational or demographic data to assert that young people in Shetland produce more video than other similarly sized communities. However, it does work on the logic of the (hyper)link and social network. By mapping these links within this online library of film it becomes apparent that since the launch of YouTube, there has been a boom in video-based creativity in Shetland, which is notably fecund for a community of c. 23,000 people. Following comparative links from other youth filmmaking online networks also suggests that Shetland filmmaking culture does differ in aesthetics, content and approach from (and is more prolific than) groups such as the Friday Film Club provided by Edinburgh’s Media Education, or the local video magazine group Carrbridge Films in the Highlands.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationVisual Culture in the Northern British Archipelago
EditorsYsanne Holt, David Martin-Jones, Owain Jones
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781351187701
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2018


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