RELAYS at Watershed is a Watershed programme funded by Regional Educational Legacy for Arts & Youth Sport
“Now that almost everyone has a mobile phone, nearly all of which can take pictures and many of which have internet access, anyone can be a citizen reporter.”
Citizen journalism is an accessible activity and a democratic means of reporting on a range of topics. Watershed is training young people as citizen reporters and taking them out to sporting and cultural events where they put theory into practice, posting photographs, video, audio and text created on the smartphones direct to a blog that’s set up for each event.
Since the start of the project in March 2011 the young people have reported on a football match, Bristol’s Cultural Quarter Stokes Croft, the 2011 Olympic Open weekend in Weymouth, a mountain bike festival, and an event at Bath University exploring disability sport and the build up to Paralympics 2012. There are outline reports on all these activities below but for more detailed information about the project please visit the blog.
Watershed’s citizen journalism project led to a link with #media 2012 and the development of media camps in the summer of 2012 in Weymouth where the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing took place from July to September alongside a rich mix of Cultural Olympiad activity.
The video below gives a flavour of the success of the Weymouth Citizen Journalism reporting.
This quote from the show about the citizen journalism workshop by Ricardo, one of our participants is just the sort of thing we like to hear! He represents SH&NK (Street Harmony & No Knives – a Bristol based anti-knife project for young people:
“Its given me skills in terms of … media coverage for the youth of Bristol… getting involved is one of the greatest things I’ve been ever been into, it’s been fantastic so far. The campaign’s been excellent and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
There’s another post on the Watershed Citizen Journalism Blog reflecting on this project and now that the RELAYS project is coming to an end, some thoughts about where we’ll go next with ‘News from Elsewhere’ – the citizen journalism strand at Watershed.
We’ve now completed five of the seven planned sessions with our current citizen journalism project ‘News from Elsewhere’ which aims to cover Bristol’s Mayoral Election from a number of perspective. The project is running in conjunction with Ujima Radio and with support from the University of Bristol – both organisations that we’ve visited with the team to learn about making a radio programme and discover some background to the new role of the elected Mayor in the City.
The participants also attended a workshop on using social media to promote the work they’re making and reported on the Mayoral hustings at the Trinity Centre in Bristol on 8 November where they interviewed members of the audience and some of the candidates. The blog they’ve been posting to is called Bristol Mayor Watch and they can be found on Twitter as @BSMayorwatch.
The enthusiasm for the project has led to the participants developing their own programme for Ujima for broadcast towards the end of November that will extend the project for a further week – details to follow, and more information about the project is over on our Citizen Journalism blog
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve been awarded some funding by Bristol University to run ‘News from Elsewhere’ – a citizen journalism project to cover the forthcoming Mayoral election. We’re working with long-term RELAYS /Watershed associate, David Goldblatt, but also teaming up with Ujima Radio which will add another dimension to the reporting process. So in addition to using smartphones for posting content to a blog as we’ve done in previous projects, the participants will also be contributing to Ujima’s live outside broadcast on the election process on 8th November. The participants, 18 – 25 year olds who are being recruited through Ujima, will be introduced to the idea of citizen journalism, receive training in the use of the smartphones (that we provide), blogging, and radio production and learn about the effective use of social media in this context.
They’ll also have conversations with a range of people, including academics, about the democratic process and brush up on research techniques with the of support of University of Bristol staff and students. The citizen journalists will apply these new skills to interviewing members of the public and representatives of organisations who are following the Mayoral election in other ways, such as Knowle West Media Centre’s campaign Mayor for a Day and the Bristol Democracy Project.
There will be the opportunity for the participants to attend some of the hustings and public question-time events that are taking place across the city over the next few weeks – Mayoral candidates will be in Hengrove Park, South Bristol on Tuesday 16 October; at Watershed a Fair, Sustainable Future for Bristol is the topic under debate with five of the Mayoral candidates on October 24 and Bristol Culture and Colston Hall have a similar event in the city on 1st November with a discussion between the candidates that will have an emphasis on the arts in Bristol.
Keri Facer, Professor of Educational and Social Futures said “The University of Bristol is delighted to be supporting the Citizen Journalism Project, which we see as a very important way of engaging young people in democratic debate. We’re excited to be encouraging greater conversation between our academics and the young people of Bristol about the issues that matter.”
RELAYS at Watershed has teamed up with our friends at Encounters to run a Film Journalism Workshop over the Festival with a group of nine young people at various stages of their training or careers in the film industry. They’ve called their blog Inside Encounters and aim to cover as many aspects of the Festival as they can through video diaries, interviews, reviews, reports and photographs.
The photo above shows the Film Journalist team plus guest speakers at our first session, Zoltan and Zsuzsanna from Daazo (a webiste and magazine for ‘sharing and celebrating short films in high quality’), and Rachel Segal Hamilton from Ideas Tap who helped with promoting and recruiting for the workshop. Head over to our Citizen Journalism blog for more details about the project.
It’s over two weeks since the Bristol citizen journalism crew left Weymouth but their blog is still being added to (see below) and right now it’s been viewed 5555 times! Eleven young people have provided some great perspectives on Weymouth’s temporary Olympic life (being continued until the end of the Paralympics) with observations and reviews on cultural events and interviews with visitors, residents and businesses, and even a rival Olympic Sailing team from Denmark!
Covering this wide range of topics using smartphones could have created something of a car-crash of documentation but through the briefing sessions each morning with mentors, including workshop leader David Goldblatt, we hoped to provide a focus for the reporting (which largely paid off!) and the style of blog we selected helped give coherence to the disparate contents. What’s been created through the blog is a multi-faceted portrait of small English seaside town which, for a few weeks, has experienced an extraordinary and large-scale invasion. We were in a unique position to document the impact of this since we were representing neither official media nor any organising body, although we did adhere to the #media21012 charter. This was a significant factor as people who were approached for interviews then understood they could give their honest views – some local businesses were very disheartened, some downright angry, but the majority of people were thoroughly positive – especially after the spectacular and beautiful ‘torch wade’.
We were based in a great location in centre of town in a building we shared with the Maritime Mix project – which we contributed to through our blog. The young citizen journalists worked incredibly hard and very enthusiastically during the four very full days of the media camp and became a team almost instantly, working together to grab and make opportunities for producing content and devising ingenious solutions to technical or logistical problems. They visibly grew in confidence as they approached all manner of complete strangers with requests for insights into their work, opinions, or a quick portrait. Each team member brought different types and levels of technical and creative experience to the camp so knowledge was shared and skills learnt or developed as they produced and edited content for their posts. You can find out more about the Media Camp over on our citizen journalism blog and photographs of the team at work in the Media Camp gallery.
The Bristol team passed on the upkeep of the blog to students from Weymouth College who in turn handed the task on to James Randell. We first met James in July last year on one of our early citizen journalism pilot projects when we went with Emma Rich from Bath University to the One Year to Go to the Olympics celebrations in Weymouth. We’d been sharing the office space with him at our Weymouth HQ as he’s been an intern with Maritime Mix and involved with the Nowhereisland project for over a year. So, please keep an eye on the Weymouth blog to stay updated with the continuing Maritime Mix programme right up to the closing of the Paralympic Games.
Many thanks for the input, help and support to make the Media Camp happen to colleagues at Watershed; David Goldblatt; Dr Emma Rich at Bath University; Tim Abberley and other Weymouth College colleagues; Sandy Kirkby at b-side; Alan Rogers – Cultural Co-ordinator, Weymouth and Portland 2012 Operations Team, Richard Crowe – London 2012 Creative Programmer; Lisa Worthington and the rest of the Maritime Mix team in Weymouth, and finally the RELAYS project itself – excellent partnership working!
We’ve been so gratified with the outcome of this project in particular but also our overall excursions into citizen journalism that we’re hoping to extend this work to cover some other areas with young people, and maybe older ones too, in the near future – please come back soon to find out where we’re going with this!
Between 28th and 30th July 2012 a group of students from colleges and universities across the south west will be reporting live on the London 2012 Olympic Sailing and Cultural activities from Weymouth Beach through RELAYS at Watershed’s Citizen Journalism Project.
We have now chosen six very enthusiastic young people from the Bristol area to join six Weymouth natives at a four day long media camp in the only location in England outside London to host London 2012 Olympic Games events. From 27th July to 30th July we believe they will be pleasantly overwhelmed by the choice of topics to report on! The media camp is part of the Maritime Mix programme.
We’ve timed the camp to coincide with the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games in Weymouth, and in addition to the competition sailing there’s a rich mix of cultural activity going on too. See our post over on the RELAYS citizen journalism blog for more details.
Media camps for young people, aged 16-24 are taking place in Weymouth & Portland – host borough for the London 2012 Sailing Events – between July and September this summer as part of Maritime Mix – London 2012 Cultural Olympiad by the Sea
#media2012 is a UK-wide collaboration aiming to foster relations between citizen and professional journalists, and encourage unaccredited reporters to explore the stories behind and around the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It also strives to make links with subsequent Olympic host cities (most immediately Sochi, Winter Games 2014, and Rio de Janeiro, Summer Games 2016) to ensure the regular participation of citizen journalists at the Olympic & Paralympic Games.
Continuing from work begun at the W2 Media Centre during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games (dubbed the first “twitter Olympics”), #media2012 will see a variety of citizen journalist projects rolled out across the UK in the summer of 2012, supported by the London 2012 Creative Programmers in Scotland and the North West and South West of England.
As part of this activity, the #media2012 South West of England hub (a partnership between Watershed, Bristol; Weymouth College; the University of Bath; b-side and the London 2012 Creative programmer for the SW) is running a series of four “#media2012 summer camps” for young people/students, aged 16-24, in Weymouth and Portland in collaboration with Weymouth College.
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Our RELAYS colleagues at Bristol University have once again arranged a fantastic opportunty for 1300 or so Bristol Secondary school pupils to sample a whole range of sports at their Combe Dingle Sports Complex. The first day, yesterday Monday 26th, had 300 children from central Brisatol schools trying out Lacrosse, Golf, Basketball, BMX, Street Dance, Ultimate Frisbee, Fencing and Handball amongst many others. You can read more about it, and watch some films of the activities and listen to interviews with participants, teachers and volunteers here.
You can also see photographs from the Festival in the gallery
In anticipation of our increasing involvement with #media2012, we’ve started a flickr account where we’ll post photos of our young citizen journalists going about their business! You can see a slide show of the images we’ve added so far and these all feed into the #media2012 site where other media hubs across the country who are part of the project send their photos too – the intention is to reveal as many aspects of the London 2012 Games as possible via citizen journalism. We’ve followed the progress of our projects form the very beginning and it’s been great to watch the confidence of the participants grow as they learn new skills and become more familiar with the technology.
There’ll be some more citizen journalism training sessions starting soon with students from various locations, building up to our visits to some of the media camps we’re helping to organise in Weymouth during the Games – more details soon!