My colleague, Berkeley, and I spent today down at Bournemouth University, but this time we were not the ones giving the presentations. The University’s media studies course had come up with a great idea for their final year projects. Rather than make up some sort of media campaign as an exercise, the students had to go out, find a charity, and work with them to develop materials to suit that charity’s particular needs.
The projects we saw were very varied. Some of them were straight-up feel-good social media campaigns for people like Woofability. Others were more geared at helping charities recruit volunteers. In some cases the students could get great results simply from teaching a small charity to use WordPress and Hootsuite. In others there was a need for more sophisticated technical skills. I loved the fact that the two students working with Hengistbury Head had hired a drone so they could do state-of-the-art nature documentary work.
The two lads who had been working with Berkeley for Diversity Trust had done a great job, but again their requirements were very different. No way were we going to encourage them to do a Twitter campaign about trans health. They would very quickly have got on the radar of the TERF hate squad and the University’s Vice Chancellor would have received several hundred identikit protest emails demanding that the course be scrapped and the lecturers responsible sacked. What they did for us was make material we can use on our YouTube channel, and as a useful by-product give their classmates, lecturers and friends an amazing grounding in trans issues. It isn’t hard to understand why food banks are a good thing, but those two lads had an incredible learning curve to climb and did a great job. Thanks guys!
Finally I’d like to give a plug for one of the other featured charities. Ododow is, as an elevator pitch, Google Maps for charities. As their founder explained, it is easier to find a coffee shop or pharmacy on the Internet than a local service that can help if you’ve just been diagnosed with a rare disease, or your kid has come out as gay. So if there is anyone out there who runs a charity and wants to get on the map, just hop over to their website and sign up. Brilliant idea, and well done the two young student women of color who are working to help promote the site.