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 094 – Community Organising and Leadership
How we respond to the pandemic in a way that is inclusive, participative and empowering? This is the question that I discussed with Shim Gooch – Leadership Project Manager at Reaching People here in Leicester, and Nick Gardham, CEO of Community Organisers, whose national role is to ignite social action in communities, embed community organising locally and in different sectors, and develop a strong network and sustainable future for neighbourhood community organising.
We discussed how important it is to manage change in our communities by calling on people’s values, their sense of belonging, and using the trust that is built-up between people who are working on different kinds of projects, but who have similar stories of empowerment and mutual support to tell.
Decentered Media Podcast 093 – What’s the Future of Progressive Community Media?
Does community media have a positive and progressive role to play in helping to Build Back Better after the Covid-19 pandemic? What is the progressive agenda for community media? How can community media activists and reformers promote the message of community media as a vehicle for positive social change? How can the political discussions and policy debates about repurposing public services, the economy and our social expectations so that they are able to respond to the health crisis, the economic crisis and the climate crisis, going to include our media?
Taking part in this discussion was Iwan Doherty, editor of Mutual Interest Media, Josef Davies-Coates co-founder of United Diversity and Better Media UK, and Lucinda Guy, creative director of Soundart Radio and the founder of Skylark Radio. We discussed how we can join-up the dots between participative and inclusive forms of media, and the broad social, political and economic challenges that frame debates about change.
Decentered Media Podcast 092 – Community Radio Perspectives of the Pandemic
How have community radio stations dealt with the pressure of the lockdown and responded to the pandemic? How has community radio continued to support local communities with companionship and information during the pandemic? In this latest episode of the Decentered Media Podcast, I’m joined by Dr Jo Coleman of Brunel University, Leona Fensome of Radio Verulam in St Albans, and Anne Howie of Lionheart Radio in Alnwick, Northumberland. We had an in depth online discussion, in which Jo, Anne and Leona shared their experience of supporting community radio volunteers to continue making meaningful and valued radio during the lockdown.
Jo’s recent research into the response of community radio in the UK to the Covid-19 pandemic was able to identify that community radio is well “placed to provide locally specific health and welfare updates” for different communities, and is able to act as an effective bridge within and between communities when responding to the crisis, because community radio is flexible in “incorporating new content alongside their usual entertainment and information outputs.”
We discussed how our different experiences of community radio has the common thread of providing an anchor point for local action, events and companionship, and how important it is to remember that volunteers are the backbone of this alternative network of social gain based media.
Decentered Media Podcast 091 – Parallel Lives with Gail Brown
As part of the Documentary Media Centre Parallel Lives Newsday, John and I chatted with Gail Brown from Leicester Coffee House about her trips to South America, and the stories that are associated with coffee from around the world. Gail explained how she has been trading through the pandemic lockdown, providing takeaway coffee, acting as a point of contact for people, and increasingly a location for stories to be exchanged by customers from around the world. We discussed how there is a growing intersection between coffee suppliers and growers in South America, who are building relationships with coffee shops and cafés here in the UK. We talked about how we would never have expected this to have been possible even a few years ago, and that Leicester Coffee House, in a way, has gone full circle as a globally connected business.
Decentered Media Podcast 090 – Participative Arts with Jojo Spinks and Xenia Horne
What’s the value of participative arts, and how do different creative practitioners engage with people through direct, action-based activities? Joining me to discussing how participative arts is becoming more relevant to social cohesion and well-being are JoJo Spinks, from InterWoven Productions, and Xenia Horne from AndAction. Both JoJo and Xenia are members of the ArtWorks alliance, and are committed to using art and creative practice to bring about positive social change
Decentered Media Podcast 089 – Media Reform with Natalie Fenton and Des Freedman
Do we get the media we deserve or the media we are given? This was one of the topics discussed by Professor Natalie Fenton and Professor Des Freedman from Goldsmith’s college, part of the University of London.
Des Freedman is interested in the relationship between media and power, as these are understood in the context of political and economic media policymaking, regulation and media reform. Des is one of the founders of the Media Reform Coalition, and was the project lead for the inquiry into the Future of Public Service Television, which was chaired by Lord Puttnam.
Natalie Fenton’s research is concerned with the role the media plays in the formation of identities and democracies, with a focus on why and how people seek to change the world for socially progressive ends. Natalie’s starting point recognises that we live in a deeply unequal society, which is driven by profit and competition on a global scale. As a result, we have to understand what it means to live in a media dominated world, especially one with so many different ideas and identities in circulation at any one time.
They are the joint authors of the recently published Media Manifesto, along with Justin Schlosberg and Lina Dencik, in which they argue that the media system in the UK are in need of extensive reform to make them a viable and accountable part of our civic infrastructure once more. So, if the pandemic is an acceleration of change, or indeed a revolution in the way that we work, live and communicate, what’s on the top of your list of priorities for changing our media?