The Berkshire local honoured by the Queen
PUBLISHED: 06:53 28 January 2020
Local social enterprise Resource Productions CIC in Slough are celebrating a double-win and we chat to founder Dominique Unsworth
Where do you live?
I live with my husband Andrew in Slough. We moved to Berkshire 16 years ago and the community made us feel so welcome.
Best bits about Berkshire? I love the diversity; it has brilliant urban centres like Reading and Slough, where you can get anything you'd see in a major city, and then it has amazing heritage and beautiful open spaces and historic buildings, which for a former Londoner, feel extremely remote and rural, whilst still being so close to London.
Talk us through your career...
I worked for a lot of TV companies whilst I was at University doing work experience and freelance work as a runner, researcher and digital director and camera operator. After getting frustrated at the lack of progression and the elitism of the Media, I got a job as Museum Assistant at Slough Museum and began attending the youth centre nearby.
How did Resource Productions come about?
I went on Slough Borough Council's Community Arts Training Scheme and ran my first intergenerational video oral history project. I brought together young people at the youth centre with older volunteers at the Museum and enabled them to create, shoot and edit a film of community memories. This emerged into Resource Productions and by 2004 I had moved into a University Enterprise Incubation space, hired my first member of staff and began running workshops and training for schools and councils, whilst also producing corporate videos and art projects.
What do you offer?
Resource Productions was born out of my own frustrations with the entry barriers I faced in film and TV, and runs with the objective of 'enabling social change through film and art, whilst diversifying the creative industries'. We provide free and low-cost training for artists and film-makers though our 'Creative Collective' for those aged 19 and over. We are supported by Arts Council England and Slough Borough Council to support emerging artists from across the south-east to develop, promote and showcase their work. Screen Skills and Film Hub South East support us to offer crew and film-makers to gain mentoring support, training bursaries and networking opportunities. We also continue to work closely with our youth partners, Aik Saath - Together as One and SWIPE - Slough West Indian Peoples Enterprise, to deliver free weekly 'Into Film' Film Club and monthly Script Saturday for those aged 11-18. Our BFI Film Academy is for those aged 16-19 who want a chance to make their own film.
What was the response to it? 2019 marked our 20th anniversary and it has taken almost two decades to begin to reap the rewards of our investment in Berkshire talent. This past year we've seen our alumni secure work on Star Wars, Black Widow, White House Farm, Killing Eve, 1917, Bond and so many more feature films and TV series. We've supported artists to put on their first solo exhibitions, travel to perform overseas, secure commissions from clients and sustain themselves as full-time creatives. In the last year alone we worked with almost 1,000 young people and over 350 adults.
Tell us about your recent wins... Resource Productions was listed as one of Creative England's Top 50 Creative companies in the country in 2019, and we were listed in ConnectTVT's Top 50 'Game Changers'. We then went on to secure support from all six Berkshire councils to establish the already successful Berkshire Film Office. I won the Regional, then National Apprenticeship Champion of the Year awards at the National Apprenticeship Awards and then it was announced in the New Year Honours that I had been given an MBE for my services to Apprenticeships.
How did that feel? I'm still in shock! There are so many people who do amazing work in the community and I feel guilty that I am taking the credit for the people I sit on the shoulders of, especially my team and my community partners at YES Slough.
Who inspires you? My Head of Production Amanda Dorsett inspires me. She started as an apprentice when she was 18 and now she pretty much runs the company aged just 25. She's a talented graphic designer and is about to complete a part-time degree, whilst managing to juggle an extremely demanding job. She just got her first BBC credit as a Producer and she is the living embodiment of why I set up Resource Productions.
Goals for the future? Our next big challenge is to raise funding to produce our first ever feature length film. I get to work with so many talented writers, directors and craftspeople, we are biting the bullet and trying to raise £1m to shoot our first Berkshire feature film by the end of 2020! If you know anyone interested in supporting what will be an amazing project developing the skills of more than 300 local people, then please get in touch.