Decentered – Services Development Outline

I’m going through the process of sketching out what services and activities I want to develop once I am working independently. I have some thoughts that I don’t mind sharing, though nothing is set in stone and these are just ideas that I’m willing to explore.

Community Media Association Capacity Development
As a council member of the Community Media Association, I am an advocate for the CMA’s professional research capability. Working with national and international partners, and starting with a scoping and outline research bid, before shifting to a funding bid entertaining a major national consortium bid that seeks to assess and evaluate the social role and impact of community media as a civic and community development practice in the United Kingdom, and within the context of associated European and International community development practices. There is scope to partner with colleagues at the University of Leicester, and other academic institutions and research organisations to assess the social role of community media, and to offer recommendations to government, regulators, practitioners, organisation developers, civic and community service providers, and more. This will be developed in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Consultancy and Training Development Services
Using my extensive experience developing content and services for community media practices, and training individuals and groups as they seek to engage with community media practices, I will offer consultancy, training and research services to organisations that seek to innovate and manage social engagement practices in more accountable and responsible ways. I am working with community groups and organisations in Watford, Bedford and Leicestershire, as well as international groups in Cambodia, Thailand and Ghana. The focus of these services and development processes is founded on the sustainable development of community media as an alternative approach to social and personal development.

Sixteen Voices – What Motivates Community Media Leaders and Advocates
As a follow-up from my PhD research I wish to develop an individual research project, perhaps based on a post-doctoral fellowship application. The conclusion of my thesis was that people are goal oriented, and that to understand how people are motivated to react and respond to change, that we must gather empirical evidence of these practices. Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators as a heuristic of different symbolic frameworks for social interaction, I wish to conduct a set of interviews and observations with different community media champions and advocates who have played a prominent role in supporting and building a community media project and organisation. This might be published as a monograph.

CMA East-Midlands Community Media Network
As a trial for a wider scoping exercise, based on an appropriate funding application, and working with colleagues at the University of Leicester, I would like to pilot the development of a regional network for community media leaders, advocates and practitioners. The aim would be to support training and development for community media leadership practitioners, helping them to develop their management and organisational capability, to network and collaborate in sustainable development and social engagement practices that address issues of social need, representation and identity. This will be developed in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Communications Approach
      
Enhanced Website
I will develop a professional website that is separate from my personal interests. This site (https://decentered.co.uk) will be used to disseminate blogs, vlogs and podcasts, and to provide a focal point for the associated social media feeds (@decenteredmedia). The site will incorporate links to published training and research documents, and will serve as a single-point of reference for the development of the consultancy, research and training services that are identified above.

Enhanced Social Media
I am an advanced user of social media. With the separation of my personal from my professional feeds, I will focus on building a network of contacts and collaborators. I will vlog using YouTube on a regular basis, as this is an effective way of engaging audiences with short topics and issues. I will produce a weekly podcast that examines social issues that community media seeks to address and is concerned with. This might be produced in different locations or using skype calls with international contributors. I will use Twitter to engage with stories and reports that are shared online, and to direct potential collaborators and clients to the services and media that I have produced. Linked-In will be used to build a professional network and client-base, based on endorsements and collaborations.

Academic Publications
I am under-published in academic journals. I need to rectify this by identifying and targeting a specific set of journals that are suited to the debates and discussions that I am interested in. This may require a wider view of which journals to target, and to evaluate what I offer in terms of the discussion and debates they prioritise. I’m keen to focus on communication and media for development, media literacies and capabilities, and the social impact of community media.

Self-Published Training Pamphlets
I have an extensive archive of learning material that have been developed for my teaching. I wish to take these notes forward and develop them further as a self-published set of pamphlets that can be used widely by community media groups, activists, learners and educators. I will produce basic editions to begin, with no additional formatting or graphic design other than that which is easily achieved in MS Word. I will publish these via Amazon with a small fee to cover expenses. I have several background research papers that I produced for my thesis which I can easily publish as well. This will be useful as an experiment in alternative academic publishing, using a Creative Commons model, and a shared and collaborative approach to reporting and analysis.

Development Funding Applications
None of this is possible if it is not supported financially. In order to foster a sustainable environment for the production and distribution of these services and publications, I will focus on submitting funding applications, not only to academic funding councils, but also to social and community-based organisations that might be willing to support and develop services in the areas identified above. A collaborative approach to funding is more effective, so working with partner organisations will be a priority. Sharing and disseminating the results of the research achieve will fit within the network approaches that are outlined above.