If you're interested in media engagement, the Public Engagement Unit is excited to offer an opportunity in partnership with community radio practitioners Stellaria Media, community programme-makers at Devon-based community radio station SoundArt and cultural event producers Agile Rabbit.
What is community radio?
As a broad definition, community radio is a space for people to make radio in their own way, talk about meaningful issues in their lives, and connect with others through respectful discussion, listening and collaboration. Programme making is in the hands of the community and audiences. Unlike in traditional broadcast media, community radio content aims to civic deliberation, creative engagement and social participation within a community setting on a chosen topic. Community radio is characterised by having community ownership, control and participation and being almost exclusively volunteer-run.
Morning Connections is a brand new short broadcast magazine show that will be broadcast on Soundart Radio each morning and cover a range of broad themes from multiple perspectives. Community programme-makers will meet researchers, fellow experts by experience and others to discuss topics important to their lives. By blending research and citizen journalism, Morning Connections aims to widen discussions on issues in society. Themes include:
- Health and Society - covering health information and social policy to address people's everyday concerns and the effects of inequalities. Research topics might include health inequalities, effects of housing, social policy and environment on health and wellbeing, birth and death, the pharmaceutical industry, health policy and funding, anatomy, reproductive and sexual health, health misinformation, and disability rights.
- Heritage - covering a broad and long view of human experience, from local heritage stories to debates on how history is made and whose voices are heard. Research topics might include industrial heritage, folklore and cultural traditions, personal heritage, museum curation, and heritage decolonisation.
- International Perspectives /Stories from further afield - stories from outside the UK, and the voices of those who have travelled here as refugees and asylum seekers. Research topics might include climate change effects, stories from fieldwork, on the ground experiences of international issues and events, experiences of migration and travel.
- Land, farming, environment and water - an examination of our relationship with the land and water around us, our food systems, and who has access to the land, and why. Research topics might include food production, conservation, ecology, water systems, history of land ownership, land and water policy, and the effects of climate change.
What does it involve?
No media training is required to participate. Forget what you know about engagement with traditional media; participating in Morning Connections is about having conversations. The format for Morning Connections will vary but your time commitment we anticipate to be no more than an hour.
In these broad themes, community programme-makers will decide on a topic and, working with the Public Engagement Unit, identify a researcher who might be relevant to their interest. Skilled community radio practitioners Stellaria Media will then pair you (and be on hand to support you through the project) with a community radio producer- this might be an individual or group - and work together to create audio content that explores the topic, which will then be broadcast on Soundart Radio.
Why take part?
As part of the FUTURES on Air (2020) pilot project, researchers who participated told us that taking part offered a meaningful opportunity to gain insights into the experiences of people who are or could be affected by their research, helping improve their research. They also highlighted how working directly with communities was a positive experience as they could see how their expertise was being directly drawn on by communities to help understand issues.
Check out our FUTURES on Air case study for more information about using community radio to engage public groups with research.
Get in touch
If you're interested in taking part, the Public Engagement Unit is currently compiling an ALT-Ask-the-Expert database of researchers which we can draw on as we match programme-makers with researchers. If you want to take part, head to our ALT-Ask-the-Expert directory and fill in your details, and we'll be in touch. Alternatively, if you want to find out more, then drop us a line, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean Veall is Deputy Head of Public Engagement at the University of Bath.