Discussions about the role of media in sustainable and participative communities, providing an alternative to mass media. We look at how we build our capabilities to tell our own stories and think about the importance of what we become in producing and sharing our own media content. As we face the challenges of a rapidly decentralising society, in which the creation of social value is spread more widely, we need to prepare for a time when institutions will be less central to public discussion because trust will be circulated and distributed using blockchain technologies and systems. What will this new decentered media environment feel like, and how should we prepare for it?
Decentered Media Podcast 131 - Pragmatic Models of Evaluation
At this evening’s community media meetup, we chatted about the development and use of pragmatic models of evaluation and conceptualisation that are different from critical thinking models of analysis. This is the audio from the presentation. The notes can be downloaded here.
A pragmatic approach to social deliberation involves seeking ‘reflective acceptance’ on the part of all participants in a collective decision. This approach emphasises the importance of social intelligence in democracy, as well as the need for empirical learning in communities that produces real knowledge.
According to a pragmatist proposal for evaluation criteria and collaborative research, deliberation features three critical moments:
* the opening of the discussion,
* the development of the discussion,
* and the closing of the discussion.
The quality of deliberation can be evaluated based on how well it meets certain criteria, such as the inclusion of diverse perspectives, the use of evidence and reasoning, and the ability to reach a shared understanding. In the context of deliberative democracy, there is a dilemma between two models of pragmatism: Deweyan pragmatism and Rortyan pragmatism. Deweyan pragmatism emphasises the importance of inquiry and experimentation in democratic decision-making, while Rortyan pragmatism emphasises the importance of contingency and irony in democratic discourse. Both models have their strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between them depends on the specific context of the deliberation.
Decentered Media Podcast 130 - Will We Regret the Cuts to BBC Local Radio
Welcome to a special episode of the Decentered Media podcast, where we focus on the potential of community-based media in a rapidly decentralising world. In this episode, we’re delving into a topic that’s been stirring conversations across the country: the proposed changes to BBC Local Radio in England.
These controversial changes are reported to be aimed at restructuring and amalgamating local radio services in England, to get BBC Local Radio ready for the future world of digital media. However, they raise important questions about the role of local media in our civic and community life.
In this episode, I’m joined by two experts with extensive experience of local media, who will help us navigate these waters: Dr Liam McCarthy, is an honorary fellow of the University of Leicester, and Professor Barnie Choudhury, a scholar focused on journalism and social responsibility at the University of East Anglia.
Our discussion will explore the BBC’s plans and their potential impact on local communities. We’ll touch on how the shift from local content to a more digital focus might change the ways we connect with our local stations and the stories they tell. We’ll also dive into the implications for diversity and representation in local media, and how these changes could influence who gets to share their voice and perspective.
Not only that, but we’ll unpack what these changes might mean for local civic life: How might they change the way we engage with local news and events? How might they impact our sense of community and local identity? And, crucially, what could it mean for the public’s ability to access a diverse range of voices and stories in their local media?
Liam has expressed concerns about the failure of the BBC to listen to its regional members, the reduction of opportunities for underrepresented groups due to the cuts, and the lack of appreciation for the digital reach of BBC Local Radio. He also criticized the idea of halving local output for 10 daily local online items and the assumption that the audience does not want local radio any more.
Barnie’s concerns are more focused on the need for free legal training for impoverished BBC Local Radio staff, the importance of local papers and BBC Local Radio for local reporting, and the lack of diversity in the media industry. He also questioned the effectiveness of Ofcom, the regulator for the UK communications industries.
The consensus is that these cuts could significantly impact local journalism, the diversity of voices in the media, and the reach of BBC Local Radio’s digital platforms. The BBC’s proposed changes to local radio in England have raised concerns among the government, MPs, and viewers. Here are some of the concerns being expressed:
* Loss of local content: The government has said it is “concerned” that the move to merge some programs could mean local content is not being delivered. MPs have also raised concerns that the proposed cuts will result in a loss of local content and a reduction in the quality of local news.
* Impact on rural areas: Local radio is seen as a “lifeline” for older residents living in rural areas, and there are concerns that the proposed cuts will disproportionately affect these communities.
* Job losses: The proposed changes would result in 48 job cuts, which has raised concerns about the impact on staff and the quality of programming.
* Incoherent programming: Some have criticized the proposed changes as “savage” and “incoherent,” arguing that merging existing broadcast areas will result in a loss of localness and coherence.
* Need for localness: MPs have emphasized the importance of localness...
Decentered Media Podcast 129 - Community Sensemaking with Carl Quinn
In a world that is often averse to change and over-standardised, it’s important that we keep pushing for social spaces that enable connection and creativity. Carl Quinn founded Solvers in 2018, a design-led company that facilitates creative, critical and imaginative thinking about problems that challenge businesses and people, such as climate change, AI, urban redevelopment and many more. We chatted over a coffee about what Carl thinks is inherently problematic in our consumer-driven culture, and what we need to do to inspire future generations to face these challenges with equanimity and imagination.
Decentered Media Podcast 128 - Kamla Pattni Community Sensemaker
As community media makers, we are called on to make sense of the world we live in. How can we figure out what a meaningful and purposeful life should be like, and how do we help others to benefit from having an inclusive, positive and peaceful attitude towards others in our communities at a time of change and reorientation that faces up to the significant challenges that we face?
Kamla Pattni is the director of Celebrate our Similarities, a CIC based in Leicester that is dedicated to community cohesion, peaceful interaction and unlocking the potential of everyone, regardless of their background, identity and journey. Kamla and I chatted about her experience as a community sensemaker, and what she sees as the priorities for the next generation who are moving forward and making their mark on the world.
Leicester Peace and Love Festival
Decentered Media - 127 Ted Cantle and Community Cohesion
One of the principal aims of community radio in the United Kingdom is to improve and enhance community cohesion, but what do we mean by this term, and how do the social circumstances compare from when community cohesion policy was first adopted, with leveling-up policy and practice today? I got the chance to chat with Professor Ted Cantle, who established the Institute of Community Cohesion and the BElong Network, with the purpose of developing and promoting new techniques and practical guidance for local authorities, education institutions, businesses and national governments, to use intercultural understanding for community cohesion.
In a report to the Local Government Association, Ted specifies that:
“A cohesive community is one where:
* There is common vision and a sense of belonging for all communities;
* The diversity of people’s different backgrounds and circumstances are appreciated and positively valued;
* Those from different backgrounds have similar life opportunities; and
* Strong and positive relationships are being developed between people from different backgrounds in the workplace, in schools and within neighbourhoods.” — Local Government Association et al, 2002”
The concept of community cohesion was established in the UK in 2001 and offers a framework for understanding and responding to the changing management of diversity in many parts of the world. Ted points out on his website that
“Prior to community cohesion, various forms of multicultural practice attempted to mediate relationships between different community interests – generally based upon ‘racial’ differences. And the ‘mediation’ largely depended upon policies of separation and separate development, with little or no attempt to build acceptance of the ‘other’, nor manage integration. Community cohesion policy and practice demands contact and interaction to break down barriers, undermine prejudices and stereotypes and pro-actively tackle the grievances, injustices, divisions and segregation of ‘parallel lives’ – a term that was also first used to describe the deep divisions that undermine cohesion. This fundamentally new approach – under the banner of ‘community cohesion’ – became a mainstay of race and community relations policy and practice after 2001 and has now been extended to many other societal divisions, including faith, sexual orientation, disability, age and health.”
Decentered Media Podcast 126 - Leona Fensome Community Media and Creative Audio Production
It was lovely to chat with Leona Fensome earlier. Leona is a community media maker who aims to reimagine community engagement by combining local and national history with community media in an impactful way. As an independent audio producer, Leona has plenty of experience developing and producing audio projects, and creating radio programmes that combine oral histories and community stories.
Working through Inkslingers Media, Leona has co-produced programmes supported by the Audio Content Fund, with community station, Erewash Sound and the charity Friends of Bennerley Viaduct. ‘Iron to Iron Bike Ride’ was a six-part radio documentary series, journeying the cycle route from Meldon Viaduct in Devon to Bennerley, and the community heritage of the UK’s iron bridges. Leona was also a producer on the Modus Arts oral history project ‘Tape Letters’, a six-part radio documentary series created through the Audio Content Fund: https://soundcloud.com/tapeletters and shortlisted for the Grassroots Production Award APAs 2022. Leona is presently working as a Heritage Projects and Partnerships Officer with the University of Bedfordshire.
We chatted about Leon’s perception of community media here in the UK and in Australia, and discussed how collaboration using community arts and community development techniques can enhance a sense of belonging, empowerment and visibility.
Leona can be contacted on Linked-In and mentioned the work of Lucia Scazzocchio, the evaluation report on the Audio Content Fund, RTRFM in Perth, Australia, and the Creative Health Report on The Arts for Health and Wellbeing.