Jul 152018

A few weeks ago I attended a conference on Digital Inclusion that was organised by Simeon Yates of the University of Liverpool. The theme of the conference was how social policies of digital inclusion can be better aligned with communities in order to develop resources that achieve greater levels of social impact.

I had a chance to speak with Bob Gann, who has undertaken consultancy work with the NHS in England and Wales to look at how digital health resources can be better developed and planned for by engaging more directly with trusted communities and community groups.

CiviCRM Bootcamp

 Community Media, Research  Comments Off on CiviCRM Bootcamp
Jun 202018

A few weeks ago I went to the CiviCRM Bootcamp in London, which was an opportunity for me to find out more about the use and development of the CiviCRM system.

CiviCRM is an open source Contact Relationship Managment application that has been built by a community of contributors and supporters. CiviCRM is web-based software used by not-for-profit organizations to support the activities and data-managment needs of charities, community groups and not-for-profit businesses. The CiviCRM vision is that “all organisations – regardless of their size, budget, or focus – have access to an amazing CRM to engage their contacts and achieve their missions.”

I spoke with Rose Lanigan and Eric Hommel, who are active developers and users of CiviCRM.

There are a couple of CiviCRM events coming up, one in Hartford and one in Manchester if you want to find out more, and talk with people who are using or are looking at using CiviCRM to support their community activities.

British Library – Save Our Sounds

 Out & About  Comments Off on British Library – Save Our Sounds
Jun 202018

I recently attended an advisory meeting for the British Library Save Our Sounds project on behalf of the Community Media Association. The British Library has a collection of over six million sound recordings in its archive. These are on many different formats and include recordings of “music, drama and literature, oral history, wildlife and environmental sounds.”

The purpose of the archive is to make available for posterity a national sound collection, so that scholars and researchers in the future can access a complete range of sound-based artefacts which help to tell the story of our lives and the world that we live in.

More recently the British Library has been working on a programme of digitisation that will allow visitors to the British Library collection to be able to listen to accessible versions of the recordings from the archives, with many of these recordings also being made available to listen to via the British Library website.

The British Library was awarded funding by the Heritage Lottery Fund to “digitise up to 500,000 rare, unique and at-risk sound recordings from our Sound Archive and other key collections around the country, and make as many available as possible.”

The Save Our Sounds project involves establishing a directory of the sound archives that are held in other libraries and collections around the UK, and will also see the setting up of regional hubs to help coordinate and develop support for sound collections that will inform future generations of our audio heritage.

The Community Media Association is keen to support these initiatives, as there is a focus on inclusivity and diversity in the type of sounds and materials that will be collected and added to the archive. The process hasn’t been finalised yet, but a sample of community radio stations will be recorded off-air and added to the archive.

The sound archive also gives independent community media organisations an opportunity to be included in the development of the story of sound in the United Kingdom, by submitting independent content through an automated cataloguing system that will automatically manage the collection of content to the archive.

What might be of interest in the future for community media projects, is to have significant content that is being recorded and shared within our communities to also be included in the sound archive, thus preserving a representative and diverse body of sound recordings for the future.

Dr Pat Kotchapakdee Discusses Documentary with John Coster

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Jun 052018

Today, John Coster and I were very fourtunate to spend the day with Dr Pat Kotchapakdee from Khon Kaen University in Thailand. John and Pat were able to sit down and discuss how Pat approaches his documentary work, and what he thinks is the use of telling stories through photography, film and social media platforms.

John and Pat discussing the potential for restoration of film projection equipment.

Khon Kaen Podcast

 Community Media, Out & About  Comments Off on Khon Kaen Podcast
Jun 042018

John Coster and I have been travelling in South East Asia visiting universities in Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Khon Kaen. In this podcast we talk about some of the challenges of understanding life in Thailand and Cambodia, and how we can use community and documentary media to enhance civic engagement and sustainable development.

DIY-DMU Podcast 017 International Community Media Expo

 Audio, Community Media, DIY-DMU, DMU, EMCMN  Comments Off on DIY-DMU Podcast 017 International Community Media Expo
May 092018

Today’s podcast was recorded as part of the first DMU International Community Media Expo. Sitting around the table was Julian, Kiaran, Ineke, Gerhart and myself. We chatted about the role and the importance of community media and what we need to learn to make our own media.

DIY-DMU Podcast 016 ART-AI Festival

 DMU, EMCMN, Out & About, Social Media  Comments Off on DIY-DMU Podcast 016 ART-AI Festival
May 022018

This week’s DIY-DMU Podcast was recorded at the Highcross Centre in Leicester, where young people were learning about the ART-AI Festival, and how Artificial Intelligence can be used creatively and artistically. John Coster and I chatted with Proffessor Tracy Harwood, from De Montfort University’s Institute of Creative Technology, and with some of her colleagues who are supporting the festival. We also had a chance to talk with some of the students and their teacher about how creative AI applications are able to help us learn and understand the world and technology in different ways.

Democratic Media Institutions

 Community Media, Debate, DIY-DMU, DMU, EMCMN  Comments Off on Democratic Media Institutions
May 022018

BBC Media Action is the charitable arm of the BBC that seeks to support communication development in developing nations around the world. James Deane is the Director of Policy and Research, and in his latest blog he asks if we need to rethink how we build media organsations and institutions that support democratic accountability around the world. Deane suggests that:

Access to information that people can trust, find relevant, that underpins informed democratic debate, and can hold power to account, will depend on the existence of media institutions, not just information networks. That remains the major challenge of media support. It is a challenge that we need fresh thinking to achieve.

I agree with Deane that this isn’t just about rolling-out large media corporations, or throwing open the communication floodgates to the market, and that we do need to undertake some careful thinking about what we build and put in place for the future. As Deane argues:

Media freedom and media sustainability indicators focus on whether media is free and sustainable and less on on whether they are valued, trusted or relevant to the populations of their societies, especially those outside an educated middle class. This is especially important at a time of digital and demographic transformation.

The challenge, from my perspective, is how do we harness the independent and distrubuted technologies in which we aggregate news and media content, in which ‘brands’ are no longer as importnat, but the need for trusted informants, guides and advocates is?

Trusting Community Reporting?

 Community Media, Debate, DIY-DMU, DMU, EMCMN  Comments Off on Trusting Community Reporting?
May 012018

John Naughton writing in The Guardian makes a very powerful point about the need for trusted sources of information in developing communities. With the use of Facebook as a tool for promoting fake news, which has led to violence in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, Naughton suggests that:

We have woken up to Facebook’s pernicious role in western democratic politics and are beginning to think about ways of addressing that problem in our bailiwicks. To date, the ideas about regulation that have surfaced seem ineffectual and so the damage continues. But at least liberal democracies have some degree of immunity to the untruths disseminated by bad actors who exploit Facebook’s automated targeting systems – provided by a free press, parliamentary inquiries, independent judiciaries, public-service broadcasters, universities, professional bodies and so on.

However, as Naughton goes on to point out:

Other societies, particularly the developing countries now most assiduously targeted by Facebook, have few such institutions and it is there that the company has the capacity to wreak the most havoc.

The importance of trust in our civic and community media is crucial to promoting peace and reconciliation, but do we have the right tools to do this as independent media producers and communities? Large media organisations spend a lot of time promoting their ‘brand’ identity so that it can be trusted and relied upon, but this appraoch isn’t available to small, independent, volunteer-led community media groups.

Is there a way, then, perhaps with something like the Mozilla Open Badges project, which independently verified people’s learning, to independently verify the output of reporters across different media platforms, networks and communities?

Trust is the currency that holds society togehter, and when trust dies, our social order suffers. How can we build a new infrastructure that enables trust to be implicity validated in our media use, and what would the criteria be that would demonstrate that a reporter or a media producer is a trusted source? If Uber and Tripadvisor can do this, why can’t news organisations and social media corporations put some funding and development time into producing trust tokens for community reporters?

DIY-DMU Podcast 015

 Audio, DIY-DMU  Comments Off on DIY-DMU Podcast 015
Apr 242018

Tonight John and I chatted about media literacies and the impact of fakenews, the need for values-based journalism and the potential impact on the media studies curriculum.