David McGillivray

Professor, interested in events, culture, digital participation & sport.


Hello 2012: CitizenRelay goes live

Having posted two articles towards the end of 2011, it’s been a rather slow start to 2012. Anyway, that’s all past now and there’s a lot to look forward to this year, especially with the Olympic Games circus arriving in London in the summer.  I’ve talked about the Olympics a few times before on this blog in relation to #media2012, new media and the media festivals that my colleagues Andy Miah and Jennifer Jones and I hope to be involved in this year.  The focus of this post is the Scottish #media2012 agenda and, specifically, a project that has been successful in securing Creative Scotland backing to report on the Olympic Torch Relay as it winds it way around the length and breadth of Scotland.  

Provisionally titled CitizenRelay this project has been conceived to link London 2012 Cultural Olympiad activity and participatory media across Scotland.  The UWS Skillset Media Academy will work closely with individuals and groups around UWS campuses and those colleges and universities part of the Scottish Skillset Network to aggregate content relating to the Cultural Olympiad.  My vision is to provide a space for the oral and visual recording of Scotland’s citizens views on the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.   

The project will provide training for student interns from across the Academy network and these interns will then work with a cohort of between 10-15 citizen journalists in each of four geographical areas (Glasgow and the West, Edinburgh and the East, Inverness and the North West and Dundee and the North East).  Each cohort of citizen journalists will receive training on reporting techniques including blogging, photojournalism, interviewing, radio and video.  These sessions will prepare participants technically and raise their awareness of the wider context within which citizen media operates at the Olympics.  Much of the reporting will be undertaken in a mobile fashion. The central activity of CitizenRelay (or #CitizenRelay as it will become) is the Torch Relay, which enters Scotland from Ireland in early June 2012.  Participating groups will participate in a Torch Relay Roadtrip, following the torch around Scotland and developing an alternative narrative to that created by other ‘official’ media organisations.  Citizen reporters will produce video, audio, blogs, short films and other creative content which will then appear on a Scottish sub-domain of the UK-wide, #media2012 space.

There’s lots do do before the project ambitions are realised in the middle of 2012, but the possibilities are significant. We’re talking mobile apps, film, documentary, blogs and the like.  If you’d like to know more, volunteer support, provide citizen reporters or give us a vehicle to take us around the country then please get in touch! 


David McGillivray • January 24, 2012

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