Welcome to this site.  I hope you find it of interest.  Please leave a comment.

You can email me at; shawn [dot] sobers [at] uwe [dot] ac [dot] uk

or connect with me on Twitter –

My website of photography, films, artwork and writing is at: www.shawnsobers.com

A bit about me…..

I’m senior lecturer of Photography & Media at the University of the West of England and an active practitioner in the Community Media sector.  My recently completed PhD explored the motivations, impacts and cultural sustainability of stakeholder’s involvement in community media education.  I regularly write about my research interests of community media, education and society on this blog.

External to academia I co-run Firstborn Creatives media production company with Rob Mitchell and Nzingha Bowen.  We have been running since 1999 and specialise in social interest media production, community media, tv documentary and educational projects.

My television credits include:

‘Unfinished Business’, 2007, BBC, 30 mins, (Director) – Following the debates surrounding Bristol’s recognition of Abolition 2007 , the acknowledgment of the 200th anniversary of “abolition” of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

‘Under the Bridge’, 2000, ITV, 30 mins, (Director) – Exploring the feelings surrounding Bristol and its history of the slave trade. Presented by Rob Mitchell.

‘Footsteps of the Emperor’, 1999, 60 mins, ITV (Producer/Director) – Documentary about Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I and the time He spent living in the city of Bath, England.  Presented by Benjamin Zephaniah.

‘No Change’, 1997, 30 mins, ITV (Director) – Documentary about youth homelessness. Presented by Eleni Kyriacou.

Community Media clients include the National Trust, Bristol City Council, St Pauls Unlimited, Channel 4, BBC Bristol, Real Ideas Organisation, Creative Partnerships, Primary Care Trust, and many other agencies with interests in education, social regeneration and civil society.

I have spoken at various conferences and synposia on the theme of community media, and am increasingly writing papers for journals and publications.  These include;


September 2010
Gave two presentations at the ‘Demanding Conversations’ conference at Knowle West Media Centre, Bristol.  Themes: “What are the conflicting demands on artists and agencies in relation to quality outcomes when producing socially engaged work?” and “What’s at stake in the current political climate for Socially Engaged Practice & young people – are there new opportunities on the horizon?”

November 2009
Gave paper with Rob Mitchell at the ‘British Country House and Slavery’ conference at LSE, London.  The paper was titled ‘The representation of perspectives on slave trade history using creative digital platforms’.

Autumn 2009
Chapter published in ‘Understanding Community Media’.  Chapter title, ‘Positioning Education within Community Media’. Edited by Kevin Howley. Sage Publications

August 2008
Gave paper at OurMedia7 Conference in Accra, Ghana.  ‘Positioning Education within Community Media’.

January 2008
Co-published and co-wrote: ‘Blueboard: Story of a creative media residency project: 4 companies / 11 schools’.  Publication offers an introduction to some ways in which partnership work, between creative media practitioners and schools, can enhance the learning opportunities of children and young people.

January 2008
Paper published in Journal of Media Practice, titled, ‘Consequences and Coincidences: A Case Study of Experimental Play in Media Literacy’.  Intellect Books. Vol. 9.1.  Click here to download full paper as pdf.

January 2007
Co-edited ‘Making it Work: An Enquiry into how companies in the Community Media Sector recruit and retain skilled freelancers’ with Steve Gear.  Research by Ella Bissett Johnson.  Funded by University of the West of England, ABI Associates and South West Screen.  Supported by Calling the Shots and Firstborn Creatives.  Click here to download report pdf.

November 2006
Paper given at the Narrative/Non-Narrative conference, Arnolfini, Bristol.  Paper titled, ‘Consequences and Coincidences: A Case Study of Experimental Play in Media Literacy’.

July 2006
Key Note Speaker at the Diverse 2006 conference in Glasgow, paper titled ‘Community Media in Bristol: Learning from history and joining up the future’. Co-presenters; Hugh Thomas – Bristol LEA, Sandra Mason – KWMC, Junior Saunders – Firstborn/Channel Zer0, Marla Reid – Firstborn/Channel Zer0, Kerry Frome and Davina Frome – KWMC.

July 2006
Paper given at the Diverse 2006 conference in Glasgow, paper titled, ‘Re-Representing rural racism through the use of Community Media’.

April 2006
Paper given at the “What is a university for?” conference run by UWE, on the subject of citizenship in education.

January 2006
Gave a paper at the Politics, Race & Ethnicity Conference, Bristol, titled, ‘Re-Representing rural racism through the use of Community Media’.

December 2005
Response published in, Implementing Media Literacy: Empowerment, Participation and Responsibility, Westminster Media Forum Seminar Series.

September 2005
Gave a paper at the Euricom Colloquium in Slovenia, on ‘Cultural Sustainability of the Community Media sector’, for the MacBride Report 25th anniversary.

July 2005
Gave a paper at the ICT Education West of England Conference in Bristol, titled, ‘Using Digital Media to enhance Creative Writing’.

Many thanks,

Hope you enjoy the blog!

Dr Shawn Sobers


4 thoughts on “About this blog

  1. Shawn – here’s the weirdest thing… for a piece of work I’m doing (which I’ll tell you about some other time) I wanted to see if there were any quotes I could take from Augusto Boal – so I googled ‘Augusto Boal quotes’… hit a link and started reading the quotes, and only then thought to look at what web site it was… imagine my suprise when I saw it was your blog… do you have time to eat?????

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