Tag: upyerbrum

Very Local Media blossoming in Lozells – but who should keep watering it?

I was really pleased to find the first bulletins from Lozells News – a new child led digital service, appear in my feed stream last week:

Lozells News Highlights from can uk on Vimeo.

This is a project from CAN-UK, who’ve been working from Ladywood for more than a decade. Lozells already has the very fine www.lozells.info and the South Lozells Housing Regeneration area is beginning to use the web to tell the story of how it is progressing, see vision-lozells.org.

A couple of things.

The first is the question of how to integrate these a little better and so seed more local story telling? Perhaps a local social media surgery might help? It is a certainly somehting I’d be interested in.

The other is that our own experience of creating local news with young people  in Frankley or Castle Vale (and others) tells us there remains a problem of how we keep things going once the project ends. There’s no lack of enthusiasm from the young people:  Comments like

this was the best week ive had at Frankley, and making this podcast was a great experiance!


can’t wait to see if we do anything else

show there is an appetite for more.  It’s rarely an issue of equipment or websites etc, these are now cheap enough and simple enought to leave behind.  I think the problem is often who will take the lead/ownership in your absence.

So thoughts?  How could we ensure that when the project dosh dries up the storytelling keeps flowing?

4th Social Media Surgery for Birmingham charities, community groups and Volantary Orgs

The new venue for the social media surgeries.

Sorry it is such short notice. The next social media surgery for voluntary groups is this Wednesday March 25th 2009, as a drop in from 5.30 to 7pm.  We have a plush new venue, which is a few minutes walk from BVSC. For all the details and how to sign up please visit the link below:


The surgeries are run by a group of volunteers, mostly from the Birmingham bloggers groups. They are willing to show people from the cities charities and voluntary organisation how they can make best use of social media.   If you want to see what people have made of the first three surgeries you might like to watch this video on youtube:


Make a film for the big city plan.

Dominc Campbel phot of Big City Plan poster Birmingham

I’ve just received an e-mail from Richard Rees at the city council encouraging me to mention the digital challenge which the council is throwing out for anyone who wants to contribute more to the big city plan process. Thanks for prompting me to do this, I meant to write something when the competition launched last month.

The council want you to use video or still photography to express your opinions about the plan.  You can win a flip camera. It’s a great idea and I would encourage you to use any combination of video, still and or audio to show what you want changing in the city centre.  How about a two minute world wind tour of your neighbourhood?

Sadly I can’t enter because the rules appear to prohibit people who are professional image makers from doing so.

If you want to take photos or make a short film then the closing date is April 20th and the rules are here.  If you want to read the big city plan (work in progress)  as the council expresses it please go here, if you would also like to look at a plainer English version please go here.

Some of you may know I took part in creating a plain English translation of the plan for the bigcitytalk site. It was mentioned as an example of the future of consultation (link to mentions of Birmingham) in the Cabinet Office sponsored Power of Information Report:

The original Power of Information report was one of the first to be re-worked and presented on CommentOnThis as an experiment.  CommentOnThis was an early innovator in reworking government consultation documents online so that they can be used more easily.   More recently a team of civic bloggers in Birmingham has translated and re-purposed Birmingham’s ‘Big City Plan’ on the web in Big City Plan Talk.

These technical developments could improve the effectiveness of policy development in consultation, but will require new skills amongst policy makers and communicators.  A plan for supporting the change needed in policy development skills should be developed by Government Skills by end 2009, with a concomitant training plan from the National School for Government.

The big city talk site saw a conversation emerge involving 274 comments.  Not sure how those comments have accounted for in the consultation report itself. The council tells us:

All attributable comments submitted to date have now been processed on our consultation database and are visible to all. As of 4 March, a total of 1,864 comments from a total of 273 contributors have been logged as follows:

Directly into the consultation portal:  719

Via e-mail:  679

Post 409

Other 57

I’m imagining big city talk would best be covered by other? What do you think?

What do bloggers look like?


This video was a quick one shot at the Social Media Surgery for voluntary groups in Birmingham this evening (should say 2009 – my bad). Despite the leading questions, I hope it gives you a sense of how people from community groups feel about the help they get from volunteer bloggers and social media folk. About 25 “recipients” (real people) plus  the social media surgeons who were in no particular order:

Jon Bounds, Pete Ashton, Jon Hickman, Joanna Geary, Gavin Wray, Benjamin Brum, Simon Whitehouse (see here), Abby Corfan, Phil Oakley, Watfordgap, Danny Smith, Katie Spragg, Mark Steadman.

For a more general view please have a look here. Pete shot this and uploaded it there and then to demonstrate embedding. Bless him!