Over a series of three conversations, A Germ’s Journey brings together a group of practitioners and advocates of community-focussed health and community media are coming together to talk about the challenge of public health messages and information in Leicester. These discussions will explore how Leicester-based community health and communication practitioners have been making use of different media platforms, so that they can assist our often overlooked and under-represented communities.
Our question is:
- How can we give the best care, guidance and information to all the residents of our city?
Our third conversation explores the role of community-focussed stories to overcome the challenges of public health education. We discuss how the use of community stories and personal testimony can be an effective way to support community trust and understanding on issues of public health.
The sharing of stories and testimony, associated with community media, is well-used around the world to raise awareness about public wellbeing and healthcare behaviours. Community stories are founded on shared community knowledge, and when they work well, they also become platforms for empowerment and inclusion.
Our conversation considered how local and tacit social experience can be adapted to better support healthcare information that addresses practical wellbeing needs. It also asked: how can we use positive and locally relevant stories to counter misinformation, build trust, and thereby facilitate better access to healthcare and social wellbeing services?
Can community-focussed and community-led storytelling and testimony make a difference? What do we need to do to facilitate these stories, and how do we do this accountably, and in a mutually supportive manner? If our aim is to enhance trust and awareness between all residents of Leicester, what is it that we need to do to make this work?
Joining Rob Watson are:
Sharmeen Suleman, who has worked in Research Governance and Public Health and has worked extensively in Community Radio and facilitates online communities.
John Coster is the Director of the Documentary Media Centre, and previously ran Citizen’s Eye, a community news agency based in Leicester.
Dr Indrani Lahiri, is Senior Lecturer in Media & Communication at De Montfort University. Indrani’s research focuses on digital media, society and politics.
These discussions are produced as part of the A Germ’s Journey project, led by Professor Sarah Younie and Dr Katie Laird of De Montfort University, and are supported by a grant from the Higher Education Innovations Fund (HEIF) and DMU Local. Germ’s Journey links people across three continents to promote the message that handwashing is an essential part of our personal and public health responsibilities. A Germ’s Journey supports people in developing communities to make and share their own trusted and engaging media content about public health and hygiene. Underpinning A Germ’s Journey is the idea that public health information is more effective if co-produced by people who share an affinity and common life-experiences. This means making media that reflects what it is like to live in a specific place and community. Germ’s Journey aims to support public health focussed communications that fits with local social and cultural priorities, that meets the expectations and priorities of people acting for themselves to make home grown improvements in their health and wellbeing.