Media School runs citizen journalism workshops for disability charity


Staff and students from Bournemouth University’s Media School have been helping people with disabilities develop the skills needed to become citizen journalists.

Journalism academics and students have run a number of workshops with volunteers from charity Access Dorset, which is establishing a citizen journalism project.

The charity – which supports older people, people with learning disabilities and their carers – wants to enable volunteers to create films for their website and share the stories of their members through their Access Dorset TV project.

Dave Thompson, Development Manager for Access Dorset, said: “In order to have it very much led by disabled people and carers themselves, we wanted to be able to skill up people to do it themselves. So not only are they sharing the stories and issues affecting disabled people, but they are also telling the stories themselves.

“We are on a huge learning curve at the moment and we are really grateful for the support that we are getting from the Media School to help us to develop that skill base, enabling us to move forward quickly.”

Dr Ann Luce, Lecturer in Journalism and Communication, has been running weekly workshops in the Media School with the volunteer citizen journalists – covering everything from how to use the cameras, to interview techniques and how to create sequences of different shots.

She said: “The purpose of this project is to empower disabled people to use their voices and become a part of the media and tell their stories, but also, more importantly, give them the skills to go on and empower other disabled people.

“My hope is that we can stop marginalisation, stigmatisation and sensationalism of disabled voices and stories in the media – this is just the first step.”

Third year BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism student Nicolas Williams has been assisting in the workshops.

He said: “I’m helping out with the technical skills, like how to use the camera and editing equipment. I’ve also been showing them some of my work as well as going through it with them.

“It’s not easy, but it’s nice to see them going through it and trying their hardest, learning and doing really well.”

The workshops have been funded by BU’s Fusion Investment Fund and the BU team will continue to work with the citizen journalists throughout the first year of the project, before helping to produce a report of its progress.

Kelvin Trevett, of Poole, was one of the volunteer citizen journalists taking part in the workshop.

He said: “I was looking for some voluntary work and this looked really interesting and exciting.

“It’s been really good and very informative, and I think I will be more confident to actually go out there and do it now.

“I’m looking forward to putting everything we’ve learnt so far into practice.”

BU students learn how to make mobile apps in free workshops


Students at Bournemouth University have been learning how to create their own mobile phone applications in workshops run by a local company.

Bournemouth-based web and app development company 3 Sided Cube has been running the evening workshops at BU’s Media School for the past six weeks.

In the sessions, students from across the university have all been working on creating a BBC News app, learning the basics of iOS development so that they can hopefully go away and work on their own ideas.

Phil Caudell, senior iOS developer at 3 Sided Cube, has been leading the weekly workshops.

He said: “People come in here not knowing anything about it and by the end of it, they can have an app that they could sell and make money on.

“The iPhone market is so new and changing so quickly that I think that having companies come in can give real world experience that hopefully rubs off on students so they can get an idea of what is happening out there.”

He added that the workshops were mutually beneficial, as the company were looking to potentially take on the new student developers as interns and staff.

“We were looking to expand and take on new people and finding developers is hard as it is new market, so there are not many people out there,” he said.

“We thought, if we can’t find people, let’s train people up and see what comes out of it.

“They have done really well with it, and we are hoping to take some of them on as interns.

“We ran the workshops last year as well – we were so impressed by one of the students that we actually hired him as a result.”

Patrick Guffui, a final year Bsc (Hons) Computing student, was one of around 25 students who chose to attend the free workshops.

He said: “It’s great that we are learning something very focused and technical.

“I have learnt a lot, and have a better understanding of how the mobile development process works. It’s definitely something I am interested in pursuing as a career.”