Co-Creative Communities – forum archive

Finally. The archive of the Co-creative Communities forum is now online here:

Co-Creative Communities took place at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square, Melbourne, on 8 November 2012.

The public forum brought together storytellers, broadcasters, filmmakers, artists, activists, cultural workers and researchers to discuss the challenges and opportunities that digital convergence and participatory media present for communities.

It was a cornerstone event in a research collaboration involving the Australia Council for the Arts, ACMI, Goolarri Media Enterprises, 31 Digital, the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, and researchers from Creative Industries QUT, Curtin University and Swinburne University.

The online archive includes full recordings and transcripts from the day. Happy digging!

Uralla Story Sound Walk

As part of the Co-Creative Communities forum last November, we also ran a project development lab. One of the highlights of the day was Uralla Story Sound Walk, a hybrid media project bringing together folk from oral history initiative The Story Project, and Uralla Arts, the local arts collective.

The Sound Walk represents the next stage of The Uralla Story Project, bringing the audio pieces already recorded out into the community in the form of a creative audio-tour you can access on your smart phone. It will let locals and visitors discover more about the tiny New South Wales town, its history and its community.

This is how the team describe the project:

Imagine you are walking around the centre of town with your mobile, and suddenly you hear music, then a voice starts telling you stories from the past. This idea is to bring Uralla stories alive in the street by creating a sound walk that you can listen to on your smart phone. The stories are told by Uralla locals, woven in with music, myths, poetry and sounds from local artists and writers. It’s a first in regional Australia.

The team behind Uralla Story Sound Walk have had a very busy time since we last saw them in November.

After wrangling additional Council and community support, and securing most of the funding, the last stage of the project looks ready for lift off.

If you like the, erm, sound of Uralla Story Sound Walk, then make sure you vote for their project at:

Andrew Parker from Uralla Arts says “Each vote gets us a $ amount and gets us closer to the project happening. I met yesterday with a regional tourism rep who is now interested in looking at a regional application of this project after Uralla gets up. This would really put the arts and artists in this region on the map. So it is all very exciting.”

Interview with Sam Gregory from WITNESS

Sam Gregory, the Program Director from leading human rights agency WITNESS will be talking on Melbourne’s RRR next week.

Sam is one of our guests at next week’s CoCreative Communities forum, and he’ll be speaking to Jacinta Parsons on RRR’s Detour program at 10.15 am (day light saving time), Wednesday 7 November.

You can tune in through their website:

Find out what WITNESS have been up to lately, including their ambitious partnership with YouTube on the Human Rights Channel that launched mid 2012.


Storytelling 3.0

Well it’s been coming for a little while now, but storytelling is definitely having a full blown renaissance.

I’m thinking here of live storytelling projects like The Moth: True Stories Told Live, which is also a popular podcast. Or This American Life, and the many imitators of the show’s intimate, story-centred approach to radio journalism. Closer to home, FBi Radio’s All The Best has been exploring audio storytelling, on the airwaves and onstage. As have Paper Radio. ABC have too – with project’s like ABC Open. And there are countless other examples I could mention, not least being the decade-long trend towards more vernacular, first-person prose in non-fiction writing.

The revival of the raconteur is interesting for media researchers because it gets at the heart of a couple of really big questions, a) why is storytelling important for social communication and b) what does that mean now, in an era of digital convergence, social media, big data, etc?

The questions are especially complex when it comes to community and public media,  radio in particular, where so many of these new storytelling projects are being generated. How do you translate the intimate, live, ‘blind’ aesthetics of radio storytelling into multi-platform digital content (beyond a token web site and a couple of images)?  How do you make the most of new platforms, not just for marketing, but to really progress the core values of community access, representation and engagement?

These are some of the issues Sue Schardt has covered in a recent article for Media Shift, “Public Media Reinvents Itself With ‘Full-Spectrum’ Storytelling”.

For Schardt, executive director of the Association of Independents in Radio, “public media is arguably in a life-or-death situation”. The revival of storytelling and experimentation with the form, she says, is an important way for community broadcasters to innovate.

 “Storytelling” has emerged as a safe zone that allows media practitioners to circumvent, or at least loosen up, some of the traditional boundaries that may be confining the industry during a time of great change. It is, in part, a way for us to flex and experiment on the edges of the often strict parameters of journalistic practice and the fixed broadcast medium that defines much of what we do….

In other words, storytelling facilitates the kind of creative experimentation that the sector needs if it wants to remain relevant.

For Schardt, it’s not just about experimenting with how we distribute and share these stories that’s important, but also how we make them in the first place. To that end, AIR have been working on an initiative called Localore which is trying to “define a new, converged, space where broadcast, digital, and street platforms coexist”:

The latter — “street” — platform is especially key, since it represents public media makers moving beyond the traditional approach of going out into the community with a microphone or camera to capture a story, edit it into shape, and send it into distribution. This is where our producers are providing new, often intimate points of access for public media in the physical space of the community — portable booths, installations, moving onto porches and into backyards and haunts familiar to people living in a neighborhood –

You can hear more from Sue Schardt on these issues and the Loclaore project at the up-coming Co-Creative Communities in Melbourne.

Project development workshop – call for co-creative projects

For those of you interested in the sound of our ‘Co-Creative Media Exchange’, here’s a little bit more information about what we’ve got planned, and how to get involved.

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the Co-Creative Communities program. Tix available now.

Co-Creative Media Exchange: A Call for Project Submissions
Submissions close 11 October 2012

Do you work in community media or community arts and have a great idea for a project?

We want to hear from artists, filmmakers, broadcasters, media producers, cultural workers and organisations who want to develop an interesting co-creative community media project. It can be a brand new project or a new angle on an existing one. What matters most is that you’re exploring how to help communities make and distribute their own media and stories.

What’s happening:
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are hosting a professional and project development opportunity for community arts and media makers as part of a large multi-year research project into community uses of co-creative media.

Taking place on 9 November 2012 at ACMI, Melbourne, this half-day ‘media exchange’ will give selected participants the opportunity to workshop their projects; receive feedback, advice and support from national and international guests; participate in peer-to-peer mentoring and make new connections across community arts and media.

Limited travel assistance is available for interstate and regional participants who need to travel to Melbourne for the ‘media exchange’. Financial assistance from QUT may also be available to projects that are suitable for further research and interested in being involved in the research project in 2013.

Projects might explore:
– New approaches to working with communities to co-create content
– New models of making community tv and radio production more accessible and participatory
– Collaborations between traditional broadcasters and community arts and media makers
– Experiments with using digital media to tell community stories
– Experiments with using social media platforms to creatively collaborate with audiences
– Scroll down for more information about what to include in your submission

How the day will work:
– Successful participants will get 5-10 minutes each to pitch their project idea to the room
– Participants will then get 3 hours to workshop their project in detail with some of the most interesting thinkers, makers and innovators working in community arts and media.

Who will be there:
Participants will get to workshop their ideas with community arts and media figures including:
– Sam Gregory, Program Director of the leading human rights agency WITNESS;
– Sue Schardt, Executive Director of the innovative US-based public media organisation the Association of Independents in Radio;
– Scott Rankin, writer/director and Creative Director of award-winning arts and social change organisation Big hART;
– Mimi Pickering, award-winning documentary filmmaker and community media Director at the celebrated Appalshop in Kentucky, USA;
– Colin Griffith, online media expert and Director of the Australian Centre for Broadband Innovation;
– and many others.

Participation in the ‘media exchange’ is free, but places are strictly limited. For your project to be considered, please respond to the submission questions below.

Send all submissions to by 11 October 2012

What to include in your project submission for the Co-Creative Media Exchange

Please respond with 1-3 sentences for each question. Feel free to include links or a CV but please don’t submit audio/visual material.

1. What is your project?
2. Who is it for and why?
3. How is the project participatory, collaborative, or co-creative?
4. What do you hope to achieve with the project?
5. What resources do you need to make the project a success?
6. What connections do you have, or do you hope to make, with other communities, organisations, networks,
etc, on this project?
7. Do you need travel assistance to come to the ‘media exchange’? If so, how much and for what?

Additional Details
– Names of people who would attend the ‘media exchange’:
– Organisation (if applicable):
– Contact Email and Phone:
– Estimated Project Cost:
– Estimated Project Timeframe:

Submissions or queries to
Closing date: 5pm Thursday 11 October 2012