Untold Stories and The Future of Public Service Broadcasting

Blog by Dr Becky Parry.

Chol Arts is leading one of three new projects, funded by XR Stories to explore what the future of public service broadcasting could be for young people. Each of the projects involves running public engagement activities with young people living in Yorkshire, linking to exhibitions at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and the Centenary of the BBC.

Dr Becky Parry, who is an expert in children and young people’s film and media cultures, is leading this work and focusing on untold stories, that is, the stories young women think public services broadcasters have a responsibility to tell in the future. Becky has designed a programme of creative activity for young women to enable them to express their ideas about broadcasting and think about the value of the concept of public service in the future. The resulting work will be shared in two pop up exhibitions hosted in the Cholavan in February 2023.

Becky described the planning at the start of the project:

We were very aware at the start of the project that we were asking young women to have an opinion about some quite unfamiliar and abstract ideas, so it was important to provide some history and context as well as access to content made using new immersive technologies.

Chol are now working with neurodiverse young women from Pinc College (Bradford, Halifax and Leeds) and a group of young women from King Edwards VII school. Informed by Chol’s participatory approach, where artists work with groups and communities to create new work, the activities included:

 Meeting the curators and creators of existing exhibitions such as ‘Broadcast 100’ at the National Science and Media Museum and ‘Bussing Out’ at Theatre in the Mill.
 Trying out XR Stories and Pilot Theatre’s VR experience, Monoliths.
 Creating ‘untold’ interactive stories using Twine and stop motion animation.
 Hearing from academics, such as Dr Yinka Olusoga, who research children’s play and media.
 Creating a collaborative 360 sound scape about childhood experiences of broadcasting.
 Trying out object ethnography, using creative photography to explore meaning.
 Contributing to and co-creating a pop up exhibition.

Dr Becky Parry highlighted the importance of ensuring young women’s perspectives were given time and space to develop and be taken seriously:

We know young women watch the least amount of television and that the industry continues to employ fewer young women from BAME or LGBT+ backgrounds. However, we also know that early media experiences are important to a sense of identity and inclusion. It is therefore critical that we find ways to enable young women to engage with key issues and begin to develop and share their own perspectives.

Chol’s, Carly Clarke, highlighted the need to find the right medium for the young women we worked with:

We have used a cross art form approach, bringing a group of artists and young women together to explore some really challenging ideas. Some young women feel unseen and unheard, while others feel gender stereotypes are still the biggest issue they have to deal with.

Stephen Carley, Artist and Teacher at King Edward VII school, in Sheffield believes involving young people in research can be highly valuable:

There’s been a real buzz about this project and the group have been really engaged. It’s important for them have extended time to think about the big questions and express their ideas creatively.

Kirsty Denman of Pinc College reflected on the introduction to a free interactive storytelling tool:

“The staff and the young people at Pinc College have really been excited to make stories for a real audience and purpose and they love the ‘choose your own adventure’ style of Twine.

Nikki Stearman, Creative Producer at XR Stories expressed her excitement at hearing directly from young people about their experiences of virtual reality content such as Monoliths, by Pilot Theatre:

Through R&D Funding and expertise, XR Stories is helping to propel the innovative and dynamic digital storytelling community of our region. We are excited to hear about the experiences of new users of immersive technologies and how these experiences inform what they see as the future of broadcasting.

The ‘Untold Stories’ pop up exhibitions will be taking place in February 2023 and shared at XR Stories The Future is Northern conference on the 27 March 2023.

Artists / Collaborators

Lauren O’Donoghue is a short fiction writer, game designer and community worker based in South Yorkshire. She is passionate about interactive fiction, platforming new voices, and making the arts engaging and accessible for all.

Jon Harrison is a filmmaker and digital artist working in the arts, education and heritage sector.

Jake Parry is a sound artist with expertise in spatial audio composition. He also releases electronic music under the alias unperson.

Megan Wellington is an artist, educator and writer. She works mainly with photography and print based media. Megan is currently studying towards a doctorate in education at the University of Sheffield, with a specific focus on photography education in
schools and further education. She is council member of NSEAD (National Society for the Education in Art and Design).

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