In my conversations over the last couple of weeks about what Building Back Better means here in Leicester, a couple of things have struck me. The debates and discussions that we see in the media, or on social media, aren’t as commonplace and widespread as I had assumed. Perhaps I need to get out of my echo chamber? A couple of people told me that they had not heard of the term Building Back Better before, and that they weren’t sure what it is supposed to mean? Perhaps this is not surprising, given the stress and difficulties of the lockdown, and the fact that not everyone is an issue expert who looks at these things in detail.
It does suggests, however, that we have a difficult task ahead of us if we are to kick-start these discussions here in Leicester, and get people talking about what it means in practice to Build Back Together. How can we foster a sense of deliberation and interaction using different forms of media? How can we learn from one another’s experience if we don’t have opportunities to sit and listen to one another?
There is definitely a strong interest in having these conversations, because we managed to record some audio at today’s Community Reporters Club. It wasn’t getting people started that was the problem, it was getting people to stop. Have a listen here.
The motivation for Leicester Stories is to collect many more conversations and discussions like this, and turn them into podcasts and radio programmes. What I hope to do is create a platform where we can foster conversations about our different experiences and perspectives of daily life in Leicester. It’s through dialogue that we will find the solutions to the problems we face.
For me, community media is a way to develop and share ideas and insight in a way that ‘gifts’ something to our communities, rather than always offering something at a price or in a business transaction, or as an outcome in an administrative a process. Our stories are about people, and the challenges and joys we experience living together. The point I made in last week’s update is still valid:
Leicester Stories is based on a community media approach that supports deliberation and discussion using media, and is a way of learning what Building Back Better here in Leicester means in practice? What we can learn from our recent experience here in Leicester, and what we can learn from the many challenges that have affected us? How inclusive will the changes be that many organisations and public authorities are implementing as we begin to open again? Will we see any practical benefit in our neighbourhoods?
If you are interested in discussing and thinking about how we can use media for positive social change as we Build Back Better, we’ve got two sessions next week:
Community Media Café 10am – 12pm Tuesday, Bishop Street Chapel Café, Leicester. This is our weekly drop-in café session, and a chance to chat with other people who are interested in using DIY media to support positive change in their communities. You don’t need any special skills, just come for a chat and share your experience of supporting positive social change. We’ll provide a tea or coffee to get the conversation started.
Community Reporters Club 10am – 12pm Thursday, Documentary Media Centre: next week we’ll be recording video messages about what Building Back Better Means here in Leicester. Have you been working to bring about positive social change during the pandemic? Have you been keeping essential community services going? What’s worked well when it comes to telling people about them? The discussion will examine where we need to go next to make better use of community-driven media to bring about positive social change? There are a limited number of places, so please Register Here.
Community Stories: We are 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 or mutual aid organisation, or a public organisation that has stories of positive social change that you want to share, please do get in contact. Catch up with the episode of Distraction Therapy that I recorded with John Coster of the Documentary Media Centre, about the launch of the Parallel Lives project, an international take on documentary and community media. It goes out as a podcast or on Leicester Community Radio Tuesdays 2pm 1449AM.
Leicester Stories is supported by funding from the Audio Content Fund, and is being developed with assistance from De Montfort University, the Documentary Media Centre and Zinthiya Trust. If you need more information about the project and it’s aims, please do get in contact.