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Day 6 #16DaysOfActivism 2023

Join us for #16DaysOfActivism from across the Parallel Lives Network.

I’ll be interviewing network members about their particular take on activism and what it means to their cause.

The programme runs from Saturday 25th November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women – through to Human Rights Day on Sunday 10th December.

Today marks 9 years since we brought the Citizens Eye community news agency to a close.

The event took place at the Wot Space, Highcross and saw volunteers from across the 2008-2014 timespan of the community media project come together to share in the review of its many achievements.

These included the 2009 Special Olympics, numerous Sky Rides, the London 2012 Torch Relay’s, 2 x EDL demonstrations and many local community events.

We asked local creative, Andrew Leeke to take the recognisable Citizens Eye logo and see if he could come up with a way of closing the eye. We were so happy with the results and I think the playing of this short animation was a great way to bring the UK’s 1st Beacon Hub of Citizens Journalism (Media Trust) to a close.


So, today I’m formally launching the archiving project that will take place over the next 12 months culminating in the 10th anniversary celebration event on Saturday 30th November 2024.

I’m delighted to say that several people have come on board to help us achieve this through researching our main social media channels, all formally started in 2009. These include X (Twitter back then!), Facebook, Flickr (15,000 images) and You Tube (1,200 films). Several platforms no longer exist like Vine (we loved Vine!) and iPadio (audio recording). We also had our own Apple-approved app thanks to Sean Clark, all powered by our WordPress website’s RSS feeds, built and maintained by Mohammed of Cindro.

Thomas Kraus -Weiss will be taking up the challenge of trawling through the Flickr Photostream and pulling out images from each of the 7 years that reflect the people, places and events the volunteer Community Reporters were capturing. These images will illustrate newly written pieces from some of them including long-term contributor, Andy Williams. I wish Andy well and hope he can soon return to his weekly blog! Yes, he still blogs.

Asif Varia, the Documentary Media Centre’s appointed Film Archivist in Residence, has begun the task of identifying 20 films that can be used at the celebration event and a selection of 10 films that can submitted to MACE (Media Archive for Central England) to showcase on their website.

The initial conversations with MACE have led to the Documentary Media Centre’s latest collaboration with them called Disappearing Midlands. This BFI funded programme will encourage people to use their smartphones to capture and submit their short films focusing on the disappearing people, places and events across the Midlands.

All of the printed ephemera from the 7 years of Citizens Eye will be scanned and catalogued on the WordPress site created for this task called the Museum of Community Media.

You can check the progress so far: www.museumof

Thanks to David Weight for this fantastic logo. So much of his creative design skill went into our flyers, brochures and graphic media over the years, especially the DOCFilm Festivals hosted at the Phoenix Film and Digital Media Centre, as it was called then!

We will also be re-visiting many of the academic studies that we participated in – if my memory serves me correctly it was 4 PhD studies at least, alongside various newsletters, and news magazines by journalism students under the guidance of John Dilley, our ‘reverse’ community magazine partnership with Soar and the weekly pages in the Leicester Mercury with the support of Editor, Keith Perch.

Our young people’s news agency, The 2, also grew and developed into the innovative WAVE Newspaper, with its monthly printed 16-page edition over 2 years. All supported by the Mercury’s Mark Charlton and Sian Brewis.

Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the long-term support of Dr Rob Watson. He remembers our heady days of every Tuesday morning Community News Cafes (in 3 different venues over the 7 years) and the afternoon training sessions at BBC Radio Leicester’s College of Journalism training suite. Several events were born in those rooms including Community Media Week’s and our outreach collaborations with De Montfort University students from the Leicester Media School and Leicester College of Journalism.

One of our main reference guides will be Rob’s own PhD research that included Citizens Eye as one of the case studies.

I’m sure we can create an interesting archive that captures the relevance and simplicity of its approach, that could still stand on its own feet in the current community media landscape. People still come up to me in the street and say, ‘Did you get my email?….I sent it to [email protected]!’

If you have any memories of Citizens Eye, please come along to the Saturday Heritage Fair on 10th February 2024 to share your views. We will have a dedicated table in the Hansom Hall at Leicester Adult Education Centre on Belvoir Street.