David McGillivray

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


Organic Communities: Reflections on #citizenrelay

hese examples is the process of building a community of interest around this citizen media project.  #CitizenRelay works on the basis of a distributed model of organisation and delivery.  It is not controlled at the centre with standardised procedures implemented in a consistent manner across the country. It does not prescribe what stories the people of Aberdeen, Aviemore or Ayr should tell about the Torch Relay.  It will not be staffed by a crew of professional journalists.  #CitizenRelay is about local circumstances, diverse interests, unique stories, accessible technologies and, most importantly, participatory cultures. And that’s why the project has attracted the attention of such a diverse range of individuals and organisations.  In Wester Hailes, Edinburgh, an invitation to WHALE Arts to meet one person spawned into a meeting of seven and involvement in a network of dozens.  A chance interaction with the Station House Media Unit in Aberdeen led to the recruitment of an intern and access to a number of volunteer community media participant.  A retweet to Young Scot is leading to the recruitment of seven Youth Legacy Ambassadors as #citizenrelay reporters.  And perhaps most interestingly, my interactions with WHALE Arts led to a conversation with the Scottish Government’s Community Empowerment Unit about their forthcoming Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill.

#Citizenrelay, building on the vision of #media2012, is an approach, a methodology for enabling participation in a widening media landscape which just happens to be focused on the Olympic Games.  It need not, however, be restricted to those ambitions.  Building on the momentum formed by other community media organisations, including last week’s launch of the Institute of Community Reporters, there are significant legacy opportunities which our diverse collaborating individuals and agencies can help take forward towards Glasgow 2014 and the Commonwealth Games.  If #CitizenRelay can be the catalyst to get people involved in being their own media producers then their host communities can harness this capacity to build, or renew, the sort of participation they so desire.

If you want to get involved or would like to nominate someone from your community to become a #citizenrelay reporter, there is still time to register and attend one of our training days in Inverness (3rd May), Aberdeen (4th May), Glasgow (5th May) and Edinburgh (6th May).  Perhaps this prezi produced by Cameron King, one of our interns will encourage you – watch and share!


David McGillivray • April 24, 2012

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