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In April i spent a few days in Belgium, just a week after the attacks. I spent one evening sitting next to the river, drinking beer and discussing in depth with the conference organiser the impact of the extremist acts. It was truly a humbling, and what I deem to be a pivotal moment in my life. 
The fact that a stranger sat and opened up to me and one of my colleagues in such a personal manner, about such a difficult topic, is something that we felt to be in response to how unified and strong our countries are, and how they have supported each other. We discussed politics, extremism and more – and it definitely felt as though we were from the same country and as if we’d been friends for years. 


For the conference to still take place just days after the Brussels attacks was incredible, and definitely was an act of unity. The conference organisers responded to outpours of love from all across the world, with the conference name suitably including the word ‘European’ it was a powerful reminder of how we are stronger together. 
I am genuinely upset by our decision to leave the EU, and I sure bloody hope that the decisions we make in the coming days are the right ones that not only impact us in the ‘United’ Kingdom but also those across Europe.

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PlanningI’ve a lot to be thankful for lately in terms of my Dearest Someone, mental health blog. I recently blogged for Time to Change and in addition to this I’ve been asked by several other campaigns etc. to ‘guest blog.’ So alongside planning for these posts I’m also in the process of planning new stuff for my Dearest Someone, blog. The nature of my blog posts via Dearest Someone, is often unplanned and solely focused on what I’m feeling at that present. However in the past I have posted several pre-planned posts about certain topics (such as the very popular post concerning the matter of Suicidal Thoughts). I’ve found that when blogging about mental health it’s okay to write as and when, I find that’s the best way for me to clearly portray my own experiences and to engage with current debates.

My most recent post Big Decisions: What are your tips? was an impromptu post I’d written this afternoon and has already received interaction over on Twitter. I find that blogging ‘naturally’ is a great way to fight stigma, and to add to the discussion of mental health. I personally think it keeps things honest and ‘human.’ That being said I have found myself planning ideas for the blog this afternoon (I have a lot of things that I want to talk about!) I think discussing mental health is so very important, and I want to do this in the best possible way. Which is why I’m currently planning new concepts and ideas that will open up the discussion to people further afield. I was very overwhelmed and humbled by the interaction with my Time to Change blog, and it’s opened my eyes to how powerful blogging can be. So… keep a look out for any new posts via Dearest Someone, and enjoy the lovely picture of my not-so-helpful cat Smokey (who was ‘helping’ me plan things.)

Adios!

Recently I was very fortunate to be shortlisted for The Russell Joslin Award by the BBC, an award in memory of Russell Joslin, ‘a much-loved broadcaster and journalist in the region.’

‘The ambition with this award is to provide an opportunity to gain a stepping-stone into the broadcasting industry to a deserving candidate who shares Russell’s passion for stories and commitment to local journalism.’ (BBC, 2015)

Unfortunately, I wasn’t the final recipient of the award, however I must express how grateful and humbled I was to be shortlisted, along with seven other deserving individuals. The background to the award is heartbreaking, yet is something which really spoke to me. Russell’s story has been widely publicized in the past; after struggling with mental health issues it was reported that sadly Russell lost his battle and took his own life.

Radio for me is a huge part of my life, but so is discussing mental health. And this opportunity presented me with the chance to find new ways to portray stories that add to the positive representation of mental illness.

The concept of the award is to allow for an individual to gain the opportunity to cover local journalistic stories. Spending four weeks at a local BBC Local Radio Station (West Midlands, Coventry and Warwickshire, Shropshire, Hereford and Worcester or Stoke) as well as two weeks in the newsroom of Midlands Today / Inside Out in Birmingham.

Though I am of course gutted that I didn’t receive the award – I know that I already have a wealth of experience within the radio industry, and the offers whom were shortlisted really aspired to gain further insight and hands-on experience! I was also really really impressed with the other candidates – their concepts and passion reminded why I love the creative industries so much! 🙂 I also had an absolute blast at BBC WM, the team were really lovely, and I’ve made some new friends (both candidates and staff – so, pros and cons aye?)

Being true to myself though… radio isn’t the driving force behind my work, its the portrayal of stories, the crafting of peoples’ experiences and being able to present individuals with a way to express their thoughts and adventures. That to me is what makes radio so fun, it’s the foundation in which radio (or TV) is built upon. I am fascinated by stories, but I have already trained in radio – so I’m already armed and ready with the requisite skills – and my intentions for the near future are to continue making and creating texts’ that demonstrate my passion! (Which currently is Dearest Someone, – and let me tell you… I absolutely love managing and running this site!)

This all sounds rather romantic haha, but I really have been inspired by the guys at the BBC. 

Find out more about the award here: https://audioboom.com/boos/1962524-the-russell-joslin-award (via. BBC Radio Shropshire).


My background:

Discovering and presenting stories to the world is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. During the process of working on an audio documentary project entitled ‘Boscastle: 10 Years On’ I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, undeniably I have dealt with a lot – however I chose to blog about my experience, in order to make sense of it all and to speak to others. I have been very overwhelmed by the response my blog received, and I continue to blog regularly about my experience with Mental Health and keeping the discussion of Mental Health ‘Human.’ My Blog, Dearest Someone, strives to give a human feel to a topic that is often perceived as a taboo matter – this is something which I really find passion in.

I find passion in uncovering stories, yet presenting them in a way that has feeling, and others are able to relate. I find great comfort and excitement through my Dearest Someone, blog however I also blog personally – about my everyday life (maybe slightly banal compared to the mental health blog!) I like to explore, and document my adventures. In the future I wish to continue working in a role that allows me to explore and uncover stories, and possibly become an advocate for mental health (primarily PTSD – as it’s not just members of the Armed Forces who struggle with this!)

Russell Joslin

New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programmes

I am incredibly proud to be a part of Scratch Radio, the station based at the Parkside building here at Birmingham City University. Last week the School of Media sent a team out to New York, in which we picked up Silver for ‘Best Student Station.’ There was no Gold presented, which in fact means, we are the best in the world! (Blowing the trumpet here slightly…)

The winning audio featured content which was produced during an intensive two week project, which I managed. Part of my contribution to the station was featured within the award-winning audio (within the first five seconds you can hear me chuckling away). In addition to this a large percentage of the audio was from shows produced by the team I headed when I was project manager of the ‘Two Week Takeover.’

Scratch Radio won International Silver Award in the Best Student Radio Station category. (There was no gold winner). This follows the station’s success in winning the “Midlands” category of the 2014 UK Radio Academy’s Nations and Regions Awards.

The station has received honours at the 2015 New York Radio Festival – International Radio Program Awards for The World’s Best Radio Programs.

Here’s a link to BCU’s press release about the success: http://www.bcu.ac.uk/news-events/news/birmingham-radio-students-walking-on-air

For me it is tricky to select a primary interest in regards to the creative industries and culture; my key interests change as I gain more experience within the industry. I am quite interested in radio production – in terms of documentaries with an intended demographic that represents me. However I have recently developed an interested in social media: its usage and application to topical debates. This leads me to consider the extent in which social media is relative to creative and cultural debates. ‘Social media’ is a very broad interest – honing down this area to include other interests such as deciphering how social media is utilised by ‘creative businesses’ within Birmingham (or other locations) could provide an interesting point of study for me.

I’ve also very recently become interested in digital democracy and the use of online tools within politics – I’d like to find a way to relate this to research, I feel the most feasible way is to consider consumption. However, this is still a work in progress.

I am also interested in the ‘cultural turn’ – the shift from cultural to creative industries and how this is emulated within policymaking – something which has developed from previous personal research concerning the Creative Industries and Cultural Policy. I feel that a key focus for me currently is to examine participation within the cultural industries, whether this is through social network analysis or the study of cultural policy.

To summarise:

  • I am interested in the production of cultural policy and how this affects (in a measurable extent) the consumption/participation of creative and cultural activities. In a sense here the production is the policymaking process – which would be an interesting point of study.
  • I’m interested in creative and cultural participation within Birmingham (also how this compares to other cities.) I could observe social media usage – for example a creative business in Birmingham could use social media as a tool for increasing participation.

Related sources:

Bakhshi, H., and Throsby, D. (2010). Culture of Innovation: An Economic Analysis of Innovation in Arts and Cultural Organisations. Nesta.

Bilton, C. (2012). Manageable Creativity. International Journal of Cultural Policy: Creativity and Cultural Policy. Vol 16, No 3, pp. 25-39.

Boda, S. et al., (eds) (2006). When Culture Makes the Difference: Heritage, Arts and Media in Multicultural Society. Rome: Melter ni Editore.

Johanson, K., Glow, H., and Kershaw, A. (2014). New modes of arts participation and the limits of cultural indicators for local government. Poetics. Vol 43, pp. 43-59.

Things have been pretty stressful lately, and when all else fails you turn to Dave Grohl. (Just me haha). But seriously, I was so stressed last week and watching the Foo Fighters at Radio 1’s Big Weekend made me pretty much the happiest human alive… I love the band, and I love Dave Grohl. I’m not ‘fangirling’ or anything… I just think I’m part of the rest of the world who thinks that Dave Grohl is pretty ace. And this time last year my housemates and I had a blast discovering some of the coolest photos ever, and let me tell you… rediscovering them has literally had me laughing really loudly all evening! (Especially the otter one.) To be honest I think what makes Dave so cool is that he seems to just be having a blast, like all the time… everyone wants to be his friend…