Caroline Mitchell, University of Sunderland, UK:
“Re-sounding feminist radio: using radio archives as transnational connectors”
Joost van Beek & Kate Coyer, Central European University Budapest, Hungary:
“Bold strides or tentative steps? How community media share and archive content online”
Re-sounding feminist radio: using radio archives as transnational connectors
Caroline Mitchell, University of Sunderland, UK
Community radio programmes have created spaces for feminist/women’s organizations and acted as connectors (Thompson et al, 2005) between and amongst social and political movements – including women´s movements – and the audience. Archives of women´s community radio stations provide us with access to programmes, documents and accounts of feminist radio activities around the world. Digitalization has contributed to open access, online and collaborative archives and the ability to communicate the women´s movement and everyday acts of feminist rebellion within and beyond country borders.
Caroline Mitchell will present and discuss how Fem FM and other feminist radio archives (e.g. The Pacifica network) allow us to both study cultures of women´s radio production at different points in history and also hear creative activism afforded by women´s radio stations within and beyond national borders.
Drawing on research carried out as part of the Transnational Radio Encounters Project I will look at how archives can help re circulate programmes and thereby re-sound women back into history.
Lit.: THOMPSON, M. E., Anfossi Gomez, K. and Suarez Toro, M. 2005. “Women’s alternative internet radio and feminist interactive communications.” Feminist Media Studies, 5 (2), 215-236.
Caroline Mitchell has been active in production, teaching and research about community media and women and radio since 1988. In 1992 she was co-founder of Fem FM the first women´s station in the UK. She combines work as a Senior Lecturer in Radio at the University of Sunderland with work in community media evaluation and training. She is currently PI on the HERA Transnational Radio Encounters project carrying out participatory action research with community radio stations.
Bold strides or tentative steps? How community media share and archive content online
Joost van Beek & Kate Coyer, Central European University Budapest, Hungary
Joost van Beek and Kate Coyer present the research they conducted for the European project CAPTCHA – Creative Approaches to Living Cultural Archives on the online archiving and sharing practices of community media. Through a combination of case studies and interviews, they have explored efforts by community media in different countries, with different histories, and starkly varying resources, to facilitate greater access to their valuable audiovisual content online.
Shifting media use patterns mean that even smaller community broadcasters are likely to see an increasing share of their listeners prefer to tune in to their content when, where and how they like. Online platforms for sharing content also provide ways for communities to explore, search and interact with content which linear broadcasting lacks. With their broad networks of volunteers and long tradition of civic participation and innovation, community broadcasters are in some ways especially well-positioned to experiment with these. However, their frequently scarce financial resources and reliance on volunteers also pose constraints.
The researchers conducted close to twenty case study reviews of individual community media websites, as well as some shorter reviews and a national overview of practices among German community media, to analyze the scope of content and features offered and issues of structure, design, navigation and interactivity. In parallel, they conducted over fifteen in-depth interviews with people who have been involved with building or managing online archives or work with them on a day-to-day basis. They gathered further input from a range of community media practitioners at conferences and workshops.
While the research will result in customized recommendations for media at different stages of creating, expanding or re-evaluating their online archives and sharing practices, the researchers will use this presentation to present preliminary findings and invite public feedback.
The study’s interest in best practices extends to the technical and design solutions different stations have arrived at, but is at least as focused on the organizational and conceptual strategies broadcasters are deploying. Conceptually, do they prioritize providing regular radio listeners with the means to catch up with their favourite programs and broadcasts they missed? Pulling in a diverse online audience to explore content by theme or subject? Optimizing the exchange of content between stations? How do they juggle the different accompanying requirements? Internally, how do they establish effective work flow processes and ensure content and archiving standards, while encouraging optimal engagement by volunteer program makers? What training and guidance is provided, and how is user feedback gathered?
Joost van Beek has been a researcher with the Center for Media, Data and Society (CMDS) of the Central European University in Budapest since 2009, and previously worked at the Open Society Institute. Kate Coyer is Director of the Civil Society and Technology Project for the CMDS and co-organizes the Center’s flagship summer institute on internet policy advocacy. They previously co-authored a book chapter on Community Radio in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Opportunities and Challenges, and they are co-authors of A Safe Space No More? Looming Threats to Internet Freedoms, the Hungary country report of the Internet Freedom Report 2014. Joost was a contributing researcher and editor of Hungarian Media Laws in Europe, and Kate served as project advisor for that study.
Kate has engaged extensively with community media going back to when she helped build community radio stations with the Prometheus Radio Project. In addition to her research on media policy, communication rights, social media and digital advocacy, reflected in publications including chapters in The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy and Media Freedom and Pluralism, she co-authored the Alternative Media Handbook, contributed to the Community Media Sustainability Guide, served frequently as public speaker and trainer on community media-related issues, and co-organised several workshops on community media in Europe.