With each passing week Leicester Stories is growing and finding its feet, and the positive feedback about these updates has helped enormously. This week I hosted the community media café drop-in session at the Bishop Street Chapel Cafe, and the weekly community reporters club at the Documentary Media Centre. I also managed to capture a conversation with Helen at the Evington Community Garden project, which I’ll be sharing as a podcast and a programme on Leicester Community Radio (1449AM).
This coming Tuesday the community media café is being hosted by John Coster, who has many years’ experience supporting community communications projects, and is the inspiration behind the community media café approach. John will also be hosting the community reporter’s club on Thursday, and will be sharing his insight and experience developing engaging community-communications events and activities. John is always inspirational and has a wealth of community-media knowledge and experience to tap into.
Community Media Café: 10am – 12pm Tuesday, Bishop Street Chapel Café, Leicester.
Community Media Café Conversations
This week we were joined by some new faces at the community media cafe, as we met to discuss how we can inspire people to create and share our DIY media in a way that is relevant to our communities. Andreas joined us from the University of Leicester, where he teaches journalism, and Mahomed joined us from Ramadan Radio, where he is responsible for keeping the station on air and training volunteers. It was good to be engaged in a conversation that was founded on practical knowledge, sharing our experiences of what it takes to get things done. The feeling was that we can talk a lot about improving our community engagement, but at some point we have to roll-up our sleeves and put something in place to make it happen.
It was lovely to see Helen and Ali engaged in conversation as they undertook some impromptu training on how to get the best out of Instagram. Ali is studying social media at De Montfort University, and Helen runs the Evington Echo, which she wanted some help with to improve their social media presence. Sometimes we just need to sit with someone who has the patience to show the way we can use social media apps, so we can learn at our own pace, and not get put off by feeling that we must do things in a certain way or at a certain level. The fun comes from doing what we enjoy, and not having to follow professional rules that don’t relate to how we want to use our DIY media.
Community Reporters Club Conversations
At the reporter’s club we spent some time discussing the role of community media, thinking about why we must adopt different approaches depending on the context related to communication that is community driven. The community media model I promote is based on the ‘de-professionalisation’ idea that Raymond Williams talked about. If we want to improve access and engagement through our media, in a way that is done ‘by’ and not ‘for’ members of our communities, then our approach to our media must also change. It was great to look at an example of a recoding that Roy brought with him, where he had used his phone to capture his search for coffee grinds around the city. We shared some tips and techniques about editing audio, and how to post it to the Leicester Stories website, and share it via social media.
Leicester Stories Programmes and Podcasts
Wednesday afternoon was a glorious day for me to cycle to Evington Park and meet with Helen and Geoff to talk about the Evington Park environmental volunteers project. I spent an hour chatting about the role of the environmental volunteers at Evington House, and how they have brought the gardens to life as a place of increasing biodiversity. It was lovely hearing about how they plan the garden so that it supports a wider range of wildlife. I’ve shared our discussion as a podcast, and you can catch it at 2pm on Tuesday on Leicester Community Radio 1149AM.
Community Reporter Opportunities
If you want to try your hand at being a community reporter, Helen is looking for a volunteer to cover the judging of the Evington in Bloom competition on Thursday 8th July. Helen can be contacted via the Evington Echo website.
I’m always on the look-out for stories that we can capture and share via the Leicester Stories website. If you are a not-for-profit community group, a charity or civic society organisation, or a public organisation that has stories of positive social change that you want to share, do get in contact. If you drop-in to the community media café we can have a chat over a coffee or tea.