Last year I was consulted for a report commissioned by the Community Media Association (CMA), that they published yesterday. Researched and authored by Tamar Millen, the report explores the relationship between community media initiatives and the arts, to the mutual benefit of both sectors.
In the introduction the Chair of the CMA Phil Shepherd says;
“This strategy shows how much greater an impact the community media sector can generate when it is infused with the power of the creative arts. It shows too how collaboration with community media can bring substantial new audiences to artists as well as providing a potent environment for social engagement and professional development. Communities need spaces to converse with one another, to share information, to co-create ideas and dreams, to learn to honour difference, to build bridges across divides. Community media can and does provide such spaces – via the large number of community radio stations enabled through the 2002 Communications Act (for which the CMA vigorously lobbied) and via the emerging networks of community producers and web based projects. In 2010 the sector can be characterised increasingly around shared cross media platforms, collaborative production and the building of wide partnerships.
By making the case for greater collaboration this strategy draws us all closer to realising a collective aim; to ensure that every citizen in the country has a guaranteed minimum level of access to the means of participating and enjoying the creative arts on platforms which they own and control. At an individual as well as a community level, this is nothing less than the stuff of transformational change.”
As a council member of the CMA I am proud that they have published this. Much of the work happening in community media is cutting edge in both its’ artistic approach as well as its’ social commentary. For an example see the film ‘Women’s Voices’, previously posted on this blog – click here.
By the very nature of its experimental participatory ethos, much of the productions coming from community video projects particularly could be considered avant-garde without even deliberately trying to be. I have often found that parts of the brain primary aged children use to spark their imaginations without too much effort, adult artists hardly even realise exists.
I think there is a huge potential in community radio stations producing soap opera style drama with local actors. Obviously (and unfortunately) it does come back to funding. This report was co-funded by the Arts Council of England, so if you live in England and have an idea for how community media and the arts can combine, well worth knocking on their door!