I’m part of the steering group for Connecting Bristol, which is the city’s bid for the ‘Digital Challenge’, which is a national competition to win £4million from government for the iniviative use of digital technology to enhance the services of communities and to enhance social inclusion. Bristol have been selected as one of the 10 finalists.
Today we were visited by the Chair of the government’s judging panel, Bert Provan, and the Digital Challenge programme director Stephen Dodson. I was part of a ’round table’ discussion session with the theme of: “Skills, how will the Digital Challenge help people to help themselves?”
We met at the fantastic Brislington City Learning Centre, hosted by Ayleen Driver (ICT Strategic Coordinator) and Linda Brown (CLC Director). Also present were Stephen Hilton (Lead manager of Connecting Bristol), Jaya Chakrabarti (Nameless) and Stephen Wray (Director Culture & Leisure).
Ayleen gave us a tour of the CLC, and following that had a discussion about how those kinds of spaces enhance the learning capabilities of not only the school but also the wider community. Also discussed how formal learning institutions are working with informal learning providers & community groups to link activity to enhance the experience of the young people, and to greater the potential of longterm impact, (whether regarding career, health, general social engagement, etc). Also acknowledged the need for longitudinal research to track and evidence this impact, and Stephen Dodson suggested a ‘7-Up’ type media survey of participants if the Connecting Bristol bid was successful, to track impact and experience.
I felt the meeting was very fruitful and it was good to be able to share how the Digital Challenge has brought a diverse range of people together from across the city, to link our respective activities towards a common aim, across sector boundaries.
This all links very directly towards my own research looking into the impacts and sustainability of community media educational activity. If the Connecting Bristol bid is successful then I could possibly use a sample section of activity as a case study for mutual use. Fingers crossed……