COVID-19 UPDATE FROM PEOPLE’S VOICE MEDIA

Well, it’s certainly been an eventful few weeks. As is the case for most organisations, COVID-19 has had a big impact for us so we wanted to update you on the steps we are taking to protect ourselves, our loved ones, our partners, our Community Reporters and everyone else we would normally come into contact with.

  • We have been practicing social distancing measures since early on in this outbreak. The PVM team works flexibly and largely works from home anyway, but in line with Government advice our office is currently closed, so if you need to reach any of us, email is the best way.
  • All face-to-face work on projects has ceased. Where possible, training is being delivered (and meetings are being attended) remotely. Where this isn’t possible, work has been postponed temporarily. If you are unsure how this affects something you were due to take part in, please get in touch with us.
  • We are keeping a close eye on our schedule and reviewing upcoming events to decide whether they need to be postponed, cancelled or held remotely.
  • As you can imagine, some of our team have been affected by school and nursery closures, as well as other household members now working from home so we’re taking flexible working to the extreme. This may mean you get emails from us early in the morning or late at night. Please remember that we respect your own work schedule and don’t expect a response until you are working yourself. Let’s not pile more stress on ourselves at such a difficult time.

Please bear with us during this time as we get to grips with this new reality along with everyone else.

In the meantime, we’re sending our thanks to the amazing health and social care workers, retail workers, delivery drivers and all of the other essential workers who are getting us through this. You have our gratitude.

We’re also sending our best wishes to you and your loved ones, that you all get through this safely and healthily. And, of course, that we can all see each other very soon.

THE MEN’S ROOM – WHAT STOPS US FROM BEING WELL?

This month, after a jam-packed end to 2019 and start to 2020, we’ve been reflecting on our partnership with The Men’s Room in Manchester having worked with them over the last few months to complete Phase 1 of their ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ project.

People’s Voice Media delivered a series of training days between October and January including a 2-day Community Reporting for Insight programme held at the LGBT Foundation in Manchester, a set of follow-up story gathering support sessions on site at The Men’s Room itself, a celebratory event just before Christmas and a day of story review and curation training in January. 

The celebratory Christmas event in December, was held at the lovely co-working Zeiferblat venue in Manchester, and was a wonderful chance to bring current and potential participants, staff and partners together. People’s Voice Media gave a short presentation and screened an edited video which they had created from the stories that had been gathered.

The learning from the stories which were gathered as part of the Community Reporting training during Phase 1 are now forming the basis of ideas informing and feeding into Phases 2 and 3 of the ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ project.

Phase 2 will culminate in an exhibition of artworks produced by participants with an accompanying soundscape of the gathered stories to be produced by People’s Voice Media. 

The learning and ideas from the exhibition and the growing archive of gathered stories will continue on into Phase 3, informing the script and performance of a piece of legislative theatre later in 2020. People’s Voice Media will also be delivering some additional training later this year, so stay tuned for updates as the project continues!

You can watch and listen to the stories from the project by searching for ‘What Stops Us From Being Well?’ on the www.communityreporter.net website.

RAISING THE STUDENT VOICE

Last month People’s Voice Media hot-footed it down to the Midlands to work alongside some of the brightest young talents from schools in the area and the Aimhigher team, delivering an introduction to video production techniques to a group of 30+ high school students as part of the Student Voice project.

The workshop which took place at Aston University, covered pre-production research, filming tips and techniques, editing using open source software and finished with an introduction to blog writing and lots of lovely pizza! 

In just 3 hours, the group of teenagers were able to form production teams, capture footage, refine their interview techniques, pull together a series of final edits using mobile technology, critique blog writing styles and start to write their own.

The main aim of the workshop was to help the students expand their media production techniques, so that they would have the skills and confidence to cover the wide range of events and activities as part of the Aimhigher / Student Voice programme in 2020 and beyond. 

We can’t wait to see how they use their skills in the future!

OUR VISION & VALUES

At People’s Voice Media, we have a specific vision and specific values – all of which we take seriously. However, we also appreciate that we should not stand still and that our vision and values need to evolve as we grow and change as an organisation.

That’s why, at our recent AGM, we had attendees (including board members, team members and Community Reporters) take part in an activity to look at our existing organisational values and identify ways in which we are currently embodying them and how they could be embedded our future work in more concrete ways. We used the collaborative tool Flinga to allow everyone to collaborate on this and come up with some fascinating ideas.

Our current values

So what are PVM’s current values?

  • Collaboration & Equity: these values represent our way of working
  • Authenticity & Integrity: these values represent our behaviour
  • Learning & Evolving: these values represent our approach
  • Optimism & Joy: these values represent out mindset

We asked attendees two questions about each of the values:

  1. How have you embodied this value?
  2. How can we better incorporate this value in future?

The answers, given via Flinga live during the meeting provide a fascinating insight of where PVM is now in terms of its values and where it will be heading in the future. We’ve listed some of them below.

Collaboration & Equity

How have you embodied this value?

  • “We worked to give people who are seldom heard a voice to make change and influence.”
  • “Changed perceptions of academic staff who were sceptical of how this work adds value to research.”
  • “Trying to make the organisation’s structure and working practices more horizontal.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Promote autonomy in all people involved in the organisation.”
  • “Become more outward facing esp. in UK.”
  • “Audit my stakeholder base to identify people and other orgs and their platforms.”
  • “Keep doing what you have been doing.”

Authenticity & Integrity

How have you embodied this value?

  • “By giving my time, by being able to show my vulnerability to others, by feeling able to fight against the offerings of the system/ the people that hold the power, becoming the expert.”
  • “Calling out the elephant in the room / standing up for what we believe is integrity and the right way of treating people and partners.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Keep to core principles – do not get blown off course [funding].”
  • “Model kindness and ‘being human’.”
  • “Update our policies and procedures and make them actual working documents not just box ticking.”

Learning & Evolving

How have you embodied this value?

  • “Evaluation is at the heart of the tasks I’ve completed whilst working with PVM.”
  • “Always listening and learning.”
  • “Never having set rules – learning and continuous improvement.”
  • “Developed our practice from digital skills to a method.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Creating a working culture that without a fear of failure.”
  • “Stay up to date with technology.”
  • “Extending our practice into new sectors.”
  • “Supporting to team to generate the innovations – not always leading from the front.”
  • “Be more pirate.” (Not as odd as it sounds, this one’s all about professional rule-breaking and being a rebel with a cause.)

Optimism & Joy

How have you embodied this value?

  • “It’s been a pleasure working in such a positive team at PVM.”
  • “Always positive yet realistic.”
  • “Bringing a smile and looking for the solutions.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Celebrating the small wins more – not always an end goal.”
  • “Be optimistic about the future of the organisation.”
  • Optimism and Joy are incredibly important values to have especially currently in this world of so much uncertainty and barriers. Optimism and joy will help to navigate the rocky roads of the future.”

So what’s next for our values?

As you can see, while we do currently embody our values, there is more to be done on making them a more concrete part of the work that we do. Our policies and procedures are going to be worked on so they become actual working documents, as mentioned above, and we’re looking into partnerships with other organisations that will help us in bringing our core values to life.

Watch this space as we continue to grow, develop and evolve.