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People We Know is an ongoing collaborative project that was initiated in 2016, as a two-part classroom project. Through this project, students work with members of the local community to create animated documentaries. The project began as an attempt to get student engaged with people around them, to create character designs in the first instance.

As part of the second part of the project, student were given broad topics, such as Work, Home and London as starting points to create animated documentary films. In 2016, twenty one films were produced as part of this project, of which eight films have been presented here. Learning and Teaching on this project was documented through a paper presented at the Animafest Scanner conference in Zagreb. Five students accompanied the tutor to the conference and festival, and their films were screened as part of the conference.



In 2017, with the success of the broad brief established, students were asked to create films on the subject Home. 25 students participated in the project, of which five films have been presented here. The potential to engage communities became more evident, and the subject Home worked especially well in this respect. An active effort was made to connect with external partners.



In 2018, eleven students created films on the same brief as the previous year, of which seven films are presented on this website.



The films produced in 2019 will be uploaded on to the website shortly.


In 2020, students will be working with a group of ladies who used to work at the Tate and Lyle factory in North Woolwich, through the Royal Docks Learning and Activity Centre, to create podcasts, which students can go onto create Animated documentaries from.

In 2020, expanding on audience and participants for the People We Know project, the animation programme at the University of East London created UELAA! (the University of East London Animation Awards). This is an international animation competition for 16-19 year olds. At the local level, the emphasis of the project is to engage the immediate community in Newham and North Woolwich in higher education, while also encouraging students who are already at UEL in playing a role in widening access. Students will be organising a series of four workshops to support the production of films produced by school children in East London.
Find out more about UELAA! here:





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Project organisation

This project is co-ordinated and lead by Pooja Pottenkulam, Senior Lecturer, Animation, University of East London

If you are interested in finding out more about this project, whether it is to

           •    screen a selection of the People We Know films

           •    to find out how you could collaborate with us

           •    or create a People We Know project, please email


Partners include:

UEL Outreach and Access, UEL International Office, UEL Civic Engagement

Royal Docks Learning and Activity Centre, Blink Ink and Passion Pictures (as sponsors of UELAA!),

London Animation Club and the London International Animation Film Festival



Films from the People We Know project have been screened at Animafest Zagreb, London International Film Festival, East End Festival, Chitrakatha India and the London Animation Club.

Project organisation
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