As we celebrate midsummer, and experience the joy of the longest days of the year, its good to be able to report another week of engaging conversations and discussions for Leicester Stories. It’s been great to be able to hear from people who are inspired to share their experiences of what living in Leicester is like at the moment. It’s a mix of challenging and joyful, and hearing how people overcome their challenges to bring about positive change, for themselves and their communities, is something I look forward to listening to.
Leicester Stories is running two sessions again this week:
Community Media Café Drop-In: Tuesday 10am -12pm Bishop Street Chapel Café.
Pop in for a chat and to meet other people who want to improve the support they give to their community by using DIY media in a positive way. Even if you just want to chat over a free tea or coffee, we’ll have a good conversation for sure.
Community Media Reporters Club: Thursday 10am -12pm Documentary Media Centre.
If you want to improve your community-focussed communications, the reporters club is a weekly meet-up to share experience, skills and ideas about how to use DIY and community media to tell positive and accountable stories about our experiences here in Leicester. Over the summer months we be looking at how we can use media to support positive social change? Sign-up for this free session, though places are limited. Register Here
Where Does Our Sense of Belonging Come From?
At Tuesday’s café drop-in we had an interesting conversation about belonging, and what it means to be part of a community? Leicester is such a diverse place, so what is it that inspires people to say that they belong here? How do we go from being strangers to being a citizen? Is it the football team we support? Is it the faith groups we are part of? Is it the community activities we support? It was nice to hear the different perspectives of what it means to belong, and what builds a sense of community. The café drop-in sessions are a safe space to support dialogue and listening. We all have a story to tell about our experiences, and we don’t have to be an expert in making or sharing media to tell our stories, just people to chat with over a brew.
Turning Personal Stories into Community Stories.
At the first community reporters club we chatted about our experience creating and sharing different types of media, and how we have used DIY and social media to support community awareness and interaction. From editing a magazine, to using social media to develop a digital persona, from hosting blogs and websites, to using photography to tell stories that resonate and are relevant to the people we want to support. We chatted about how important it is to ground our stories in personal experiences, because too often what matters to us, our families and the community we are part of, gets misrepresented in the mainstream media, which pulls in all directions for our attention. Over the coming weeks we are going to figure out how trust is built up by using community-focussed communications techniques, which enable a safe space for expression and dialogue, and which inspire others to share their experiences of what it means to build back better after the immediate crisis of the pandemic is behind us. DIY and community media is part of the solution to supporting inclusive and positive social change, so what can we do to ensure that we use our media in ways that are inclusive, responsible, creative and challenging?
Stories of Men’s Support
On Saturday I got to record some stories at the Hope CIC Men’s Drop-In session. This takes place every two weeks at the Bishop Street Chappel Café. I chatted with Tina Barton about her experience running support and development groups for women in Leicester, and how the need for similar support networks for men is increasing. Next, I chatted with Jed, who told me about his efforts at school to be able to wear shorts in the hot weather, and what it means to have your point of view heard. Then I spoke with John Coster, and he explained why the Café drop-in sessions have been set up and what it is hoped can be achieved. As way men express themselves changes, we need spaces where men feel comfortable talking about what is worrying them. These stories are available to listen to as a Leicester Stories podcast, and they will be broadcast on Leicester Community Radio 1449AM on Tuesday’s at 2pm.
If you have a community event or engagement session coming up, and you would like to share a message about it, then it’s as simple as recording a WhatsApp voice memo and sending it to me at one of the numbers below. This is a free service for community groups, charities, mutual aid groups and public organisations. Keep the message to thirty-to-forty seconds. If you need any tips on recording your message, I’d be happy to chat with you.
I’m always looking for people to chat with about their work or their experiences for the Leicester Stories podcast and the Distraction Therapy radio programme. We can go for a walk and a chat, or sit and have a coffee and you can tell me about the community projects you are working on and how people can benefit from engaging with them.
Leicester Stories is supported by funding from the Audio Content Fund, and is being developed in collaboration with De Montfort University and the Documentary Media Centre. If you need more information about the project and it’s aims, please do get in contact.
Until next week, and best wishes