• DerbyVoice

      McMahon, Daithí; Jones, Rhiannon; University of Derby (2021-07-19)
      DerbyVoice is a research project led by University of Derby academics Dr Rhiannon Jones and Dr Daithí McMahon that engaged 300 young people from areas of deprivation in Derby and at risk of exclusion from education to create a public art installation. From July 16-19, 2021, the project exhibited for four days on the grounds of Derby Cathedral and attracted 80-110 visitors each day. The artistic and dialogic methodology used the Social Higher Education Depot (S.H.E.D) to create a co-designed site-specific installation in a prominent city centre location to offer a platform for artistic expression and act as an instigator for change to enable and empower young people in the city. The physical installation was designed by University of Derby students, in consultation with the research leads for the DerbyVoice project and responded to the theme of youth voice. As well as featuring the work of several community development partners from the city, the researchers commissioned seven young Derby artists to create bespoke work through their medium (music, illustration, fine art, photography, videography, graphic design and urban art) with the objective of offering a springboard for their burgeoning artistic careers. DerbyVoice provides young people with opportunities to share their contemplations and reflections on their city and their current concerns – Black Lives Matter (BLM), education reform, employment and personal and mental well-being - issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The research has identified key barriers including the lack of cultural integration outside of school and the positive impact of financial and family support on young artists. The aim of this project is to enhance well-being, widen access to the arts and increase cultural opportunities for young people in Derby. The researchers also aim to instigate a shift in thinking about formal education and redefine the way young people’s voices are understood and can influence policy and act as a call for social, cultural and political change. The research highlights the benefits of artistic installations as cultural and consultation spaces for stakeholders, the public and policy-makers to engage directly with urban youth, through creative place-making. The research actively contributes to the cultural offer in Derby and highlights the benefits of socially-engaged art with the aspiration that it could instigate similar projects in the future.
    • Holding Their Own: How Line of Duty offers the BBC a competitive edge in an increasingly crowded mediascape

      McMahon, Daithí; University of Derby (2021-10-01)
      The British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) hit television series Line of Duty (2012-present) is the envy of every UK broadcaster and international streaming service alike, attracting enormous audiences and near universal critical acclaim. A number of factors have contributed to the success of BBC television dramas and have helped the organisation garner large audiences and thus remain relevant to a modern audience bombarded by numerous viewing platforms, countless titles and ever-present distractions and competition from social media and podcasting. Whereas commercial television networks are motivated to commodify audiences up to, and sometimes beyond saturation, PSBs can take a more artistically focused approach that serves to benefit the programme and audience first which leads to a better product. Another key factor is the social aspect afforded by synchronous TV viewing by the audience and the ‘second screening’ that goes with this live practice (Doughty, 2012; Proulx, 2012). This allows audiences to interact online before, during and after live broadcasts thus connect viewers and create online virtual communities (Rheingold, 2000). This communal experience can have a social bonding (Putnam, 2000) effect and help build a loyal following week after week – a lost tradition in an age of series dumps and binge watching. The author argues that in the modern highly competitive mediascape the BBC must take note of the factors that have contributed to their past and recent successes and work to replicate these in their future programming strategies. The BBC must also go one step further however, and attract the younger generations of viewers who represent the future Television License Fee payers. Through textual analysis of successful television programmes including Lost (2000-2006), The Office (2005-2006), Bodyguard (2018) and Line of Duty (2012-present), among others, this paper draws on examples of historical successes to chart a path for the future of BBC Television drama programming.
    • Our Story on Screen: Understanding Immigration Through the Experiences of Others

      McMahon, Daithí; University of Derby (2021-06-22)
      Our Story: A History of the Irish in Derby gathers the personal testimonies of the Irish diaspora in the city of Derby, England, who migrated in the 1950s-60s as one of the largest cohorts of modern Irish emigrants. The content has been collated into a 26-minute film that offers a compendium of stories, anecdotes and personal adventures which aims to offer the audience a better understanding of the experiences of emigrants in the hope they will develop a better appreciation of the migrant’s perspective on the often-thorny issue of immigration. By better understanding how emigration worked in the past the author argues that society can better understand how it works today. The personal perspectives of the contributors act as a reminder of the diverse and multicultural make-up of modern British society, while celebrating the strong links that exist between Ireland and its closest neighbour. This is especially poignant during the current uncertainty caused by Brexit which threatens to revive old divisions between cultures and communities. This practice-based research output aims to inform the public of how rich and diverse British society is and how by being open to learning about other cultures and the immense contribution they make socially, politically, economically and culturally, that perhaps a more equal and accepting society can be cultivated. This work demonstrates how important it is to be sensitive to social, cultural and historical context when examining the experiences and articulations of diaspora experiences. This creative practice-based research is an oral history project at its core and was crewed by undergraduate media production students thus offering applied pedagogic benefits and a publicly disseminated media output. This project was produced for inclusion in REF21 and the survey methodology and key findings and themes that have arisen will also be discussed. The author proposes a 10-minute presentation including a 3-minute promo video of interview samples for context.
    • Our Story: Forging Connections Through Oral History

      McMahon, Daithí; University of Derby (2021-04-24)
      Our Story: A History of Irish in Derby is an oral history project that collects and shares the personal memories and experiences of members of the Irish diaspora (N=14) that emigrated to the Derby (UK) in the 1950s and 60s. Emigration has long been a part of Irish history and identity, and this project offers examples of the social, cultural and economic contributions the Irish have made to the Derby city and region. It offers a reminder of the diverse and multicultural make up of modern British society, while celebrating the strong links that exist between Ireland and the United Kingdom. In addressing the theme this case study is an example of how oral histories and first-person testimonies can help forge connections between different generations of the Irish community and help form their Irish identities. It also aims to form connections between different communities in Derby to foster a more vibrant sense of community and improve awareness and understanding of the Irish immigrant and diaspora experience. The research demonstrates how original testimonies can help to facilitate comparisons between the Irish and other diasporas in the UK to develop better understandings of the make-up of the diverse Derby community. This work demonstrates how important it is to be sensitive to social, cultural and historical context when examining the experiences and articulations of diaspora experiences. To offer context a 4-minute film will be shown which offers a sample of the project and the personal stories for the audience.
    • Our Story: Preserving and Disseminating the Experiences of the Irish Diaspora in Derby

      McMahon, Daithí; University of Derby (2021-07-10)
      This paper proposes to discuss the project Our Story: A History of Irish in Derby (2020) as a case study for examination of the production process of editing over 8 hours of content from 14 contributors into an accessible 26-minute video for online public dissemination. Our Story is an oral history project that collects and shares the personal memories and experiences of the Irish diaspora who emigrated to Derby city in the 1950s and 60s. Emigration has long been a part of Irish history and identity, and this project acts as a recognition of the social, cultural and economic contributions the Irish have made to the Derby city and region. It also offers a reminder of the diverse and multicultural make up of modern British society, while celebrating the strong links that exist between Ireland and the United Kingdom. This paper discusses the value of capturing the personal experiences of the ageing members of our population before their memories fade. The recordings therefore act as an archive and indelible record of their experiences so that future generations can understand and appreciate their experiences and contributions and use these to develop their own identities. The production and editing decisions were difficult but necessary as the producers worked towards creating an engaging work with a coherent narrative from multiple voices that would be viewed by a wide audience. This work demonstrates how important it is to be sensitive to social, cultural and historical context when examining the experiences and articulations of diaspora experiences. To offer context a 4-minute audio visual piece will be shown which offers a sample of the project and the stories for the audience.
    • Our Story: The Experiences of Mid-Century Irish Emigrants to the UK

      McMahon, Daithí; University of Derby (2021-06-04)
      The purpose of Our Story: A History of the Irish in Derby was to gather the personal testimonials of the Irish diaspora in the city of Derby, England with a view to better understand their emigration and integration experiences as well as their contributions to the UK midlands region economically, socially and culturally. Particular focus was put on the members of the Irish community who migrated in the 1950s-60s as one of the largest cohorts of modern Irish emigrants. The 26-minute film of edited interviews offers a reminder of the diverse and multicultural make-up of modern British society, while celebrating the strong links that exist between Ireland and its closest neighbour, the United Kingdom, to foster greater understand and acceptance of other nationalities. This is especially poignant during the period of uncertainty caused by Brexit. The recordings act as an archive and indelible record of their experiences so that future generations can understand and appreciate their Irish culture and heritage and use these to develop their own identities. This work demonstrates how important it is to be sensitive to social, cultural and historical context when examining the experiences and articulations of diaspora experiences. This paper will share some of the common themes that arose from the interview data which carry many elements of nostalgia as participants recount their migratory experiences. To offer context a 4-minute extract will be shown which offers a flavour of the project.
    • Telling Our Story: Sharing the Experiences of Irish Emigrants Through Film

      McMahon, Daithí; University of Derby (2021-05-06)
      The purpose of Our Story: A History of the Irish in Derby was to gather the personal testimonials of the Irish diaspora in the city of Derby, England with a view to better understand their emigration and integration experiences as well as their contributions to the UK midlands region economically, socially and culturally. Particular focus was put on the members of the Irish community who migrated in the 1950s-60s as one of the largest cohorts of modern Irish emigrants. The 26-minute film of edited interviews offers a reminder of the diverse and multicultural make-up of modern British society, while celebrating the strong links that exist between Ireland and its closest neighbour, the United Kingdom, to foster greater understand and acceptance of other nationalities. This is especially poignant during the period of uncertainty caused by Brexit. The recordings act as an archive and indelible record of their experiences so that future generations can understand and appreciate their Irish culture and heritage and use these to develop their own identities. This work demonstrates how important it is to be sensitive to social, cultural and historical context when examining the experiences and articulations of diaspora experiences. This paper will share some of the common themes that arose from the interview data which carry many elements of nostalgia as participants recount their migratory experiences. To offer context a 4-minute extract will be shown which offers a flavour of the project. It is hoped this project may help inspire further oral history projects involving not only Irish but other cultural communities in the UK. Link to Our Story film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTIOdA3nh5Q
    • A Trusted Voice: The Threat to Irish Local Radio News Journalism

      McMahon, Daithí; University of Derby (Future of Journalism Conference 2021 Cardiff University, 2021-09-22)
      For an anxious public living through the triple threat of biological, environmental, and economic crises, the need for rigorously gathered and trusted news and information has arguably never been more important. The proliferation of fake or unreliable news disseminated by social media, among other sources, puts into sharper focus the need for an independent, robust and publicly funded voice to cut through the nonsense and clutter. Radio remains the most trusted source of news and information in the Republic of Ireland (Reuters Institute 2018) and with 81% of all adults tuning in to radio daily (Ipsos MRBI 2021) news and current affairs output from the Irish Radio Industry is a particularly valuable public service. Much of this is as a result of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s licencing conditions, however, this overlooks the fact that local radio’s unique selling point, and that which draws audiences to them and away from the public service broadcaster RTÉ, is their knowledge and coverage of local news, current affairs, weather and sport. Furthermore, the commercial sector is much more adept and responsive to change in response to adversity and new challenges and can be the leader of transformation in the industry (McMahon 2019). As a result, local radio holds its own against the sizeable and well-resourced RTÉ and on average local stations enjoy around 50% market share (Ipsos MRBI 2021). However, the Irish Radio Industry has been experiencing a sustained period of economic hardship since the great recession in 2008 crippled the Irish economy. Add to this the competition for audience attention and advertising spend posed by the digital behemoths Facebook and Google and the picture is somewhat grim and pessimistic for this medium that is relied upon so much by the public for trustworthy news. RTÉ has not been immune to these pressures and it too is in a dire financial situation at present with cuts and asset sales ongoing to balance the books. Local radio news departments are the largest and most expensive cost centres for local radio stations due to the aforementioned quality of coverage offered and are therefore under threat. Less resources will inevitably lead to a reduction in the depth and breadth of news coverage. The primary threat to Irish radio’s news and journalism comes in the form of the agglomeration of radio stations by powerful multinationals into fewer entities. Under this form of structure stations typically cover larger areas but with a more homogeneous output and, crucially a centralised (McDonald & Starkey 2016) and generic news service which is cheap and limited in its scope. This rationalisation of radio has been the trend in the United Kingdom over the past decade (Hendy 2000; Waterson 2020) and the recent takeover of Communicorp, Ireland’s largest commercial radio group, by Bauer Media suggests a similar trend is on its way to Ireland. Using the Irish Radio Industry as its focus this paper draws from interviews with Irish industry professionals and considers what action the industry might take in the coming years and what government measures might help protect radio as a trusted and valued voice.