Setting Up an Online Community Media Club

After working over the summer to develop the Leicester Stories project, one of the suggestions that was mooted was to look at how we can keep the community media drop-in sessions going. These were informal café drop-in sessions that we held in a couple of different cafés in Leicester. Attendance was good, however the time of the sessions, i.e. in the mornings, wasn’t always convenient for people who wanted to come along, but had work commitments that prevented them attending.

So, discussing some ideas with John Coster, who is much better at connecting people than I am, has spurred me on to try to see if we can find a way to connect with people who have a progressive motivation to support and develop community media.

The aim is to be as open and pragmatic as possible about what constitutes community media. Any form of media that people use to commune is a great starting point. We can look at how people develop and support their own independent platforms to generate a stronger sense of ownership and accountability, but that can come later in the development process.

My hope is that we can put on some regular events and online sessions, run podcasts and video discussions, and maybe throw in the odd social event, as a way of facilitating and supporting people who want to use media to support positive social change.

The driving ethos is how do we use media to support the ‘total systems change at all levels of society’ that the International Panel on Climate change called for? There are many issues that are tied into the challenge of meeting the climate crisis, and how we use media must be part of the discussions, the planning and the actions.

The idea is to run some regular online and in-person events:

  • Weekly Zoom discussion where we can share ideas, experience, frustrations, insight and encouragement.
  • Regular podcasts where we discuss examples and experiences of supporting and nurturing community media in all its different forms, but with an eye on the future.
  • Monthly social sessions that combine in-person events and discussions, and a change to get together and relax.

These aren’t going to be open-access events. Access and updates will only be available to people who support Decentered Media community media club by signing up to Pateron and making a donation to cover costs. The lowest contribution is set at £1 each month, though anyone who wants to can add more.

The funds that are accumulated will go exclusively to supporting the cost of running the community media club sessions only. So that’s a contribution to hosting costs, to zoom subscription costs, room hire, refreshments, and any help for travel costs for visiting speakers.

The first batch of sessions will run on a pattern:

Weekly: Tuesday 6pm – 7pm Zoom Call for club members.

Every Other Week: Wednesday, 6pm- 8pm podcast recording session (mix of in-person and online access).

Monthly: Thursday 6pm – 9pm Social Event (with support for online access).

Members also get access to the Decentered Media Forum, with private channels that aren’t available to general users, so we can share links, updates and information about what’s happening across the spectrum of community media.

If we start with this and see how we get along, we can add more or adapt and change this based on feedback and discussion.

Let me know what you think.

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