June: behind the scenes

To help all the Engage London team keep up their media-making knowledge after City students’ exams had ended and Pilion Trust young people had moved out of their winter Crashpad accommodation, we arranged a weekly drop-in blogging masterclass at Ringcross Community Centre. Report back from Nicola Baird

Workshop 1: Romeo, Favour and Brandon get blogging. (c) Engage London

Blog workshop 1 – Favour and Brandon, who both hope to go to Brussels, with Romeo discovered basic blog writing conventions including SEO (search engine optimisation) tips or headline choice, why write standfirsts, and the usefulness of the Q&A interview.

  • Favour Ekengwu started an accounting course. She also used her new media skills to write a food review of Blackstock Kitchen on Blackstock Road. This was her first trip to an independently owned cafe.  Favour: “It was a bit awkward coming into a cafe as it looked expensive. The food was amazing: I had a chicken wrap and it was really seasoned beautifully. You can taste the love. The homemade lemonade drink was smooth and sweet. It was so good. And the cookie was so soft, easy to chew! I want to go again and film it next time.” Total bill for Favour’s lunch (chicken wrap, cookie and lemonade) plus Nicola’s falafel wrap and coconut brownie was £12. If you want to try this cafe, go to Blackstock Kitchen, 136 Blackstock Road, N4.

Workshop 2: Blogging masterclass at Ringcross community centre. Nicola on the laptop the clockwise Matt, Diana, Meagan, Rahim, Romeo and Rihana Senay and her sister. (c) Savvas Panas for Engage London.

Blog workshop 2 – was held out in the sunshine. It led to three City students – Meagan Walker, Diana Serenli and Matt Hardy – running Q&A interviews with current and former Pilion Trust members and

  • Romeo Nanub wrote up the first Q&A with Meagan Walker, see here.
  • Romeo had a go writing a theatre review after attending most of a four hour immersive theatre show of George Orwell’s book about poverty and homelessness Down & Out in Paris and London at the UCL Festival (which you can also listen to here). Romeo: “The scrabbling around trying to get any work and the rough sleeping – these things are timeless. It was really relatable and sad, especially the boredom. You have nothing to do, so do useless things (in George Orwell’s book Boris and George just drank together) until the next time when you are busy working again. I’d love to read the book.”
  • An interview with Brandon was published on Islington Faces and he set up a Just Giving Crowdfunder page so he can get the right equipment to improve his animation skills.

After the Women’s Procession celebration of (some) women getting the vote in 1918. Engage London members Naomi Gahie (2nd from left in green sash) and Fadz Ali (far right in violet sash). (c) Pilion Trust

  • Naomi Gahie was kept busy by starting a job and getting banners ready for the Women’s Procession on Sunday  10 June which saw tens of thousands of women march across London (Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh) to celebrate the centenary of (some) women getting the vote in 1918 (see Guardian story here). This project has highlighted the importance of Green, White and Violet to the Suffragettes, it was a branding code that also meant Give Women Votes. Naomi loved the event, and plans to write about these events on the Engage London blog.
  • The first year City university journalism students – Matt, Meagan and Diana – finished off their end of year exams including a language paper.

Workshop 3 on blogging and interviewing was attended by (From left, clockwise around the table) Favour, Nicola, Charlie, Jahbery, Savvas, Naomi and Rahim. ((c) Engage London

Blog workshop 3
We ran a third blog masterclass on June 12. This time it was a twilight session from 5.30-7pm so the young people with jobs, or on courses, found it easier to reach. Big thanks to them for getting across London on time.  This session saw Favour, Charlie and Naomi – who are all going to Brussels for the Engage Europe meet up – develop their Q&A interviewing (soon to be blog posts). We also discussed the upcoming workshops in Brussels and what we already know about Belgium. It’s count down time…

Brussels summer school preparation: Standing: Savas Panas, CEO Pilion Trust, Nicola Baird, journalist. Sitting: Rahim Amin, Favour Ekengwu, Naomi Gahie. (c) Engage London

Workshop 4
We discussed a code of conduct which the young people wrote up. Basically going to the summer school in Brussels needs to be treated as professional work time, and not a holiday. In addition to the workshops we’re all looking forward to frites and mayonnaise, seeing the Grand Place and the famous Manikin Pis, spotting the Art Nouveau buildings and looking for street art and graffiti.

  • City journalism student Meagan Walker wrote a guest post on Islington Faces (a website similar to Humans of New York but restricted to Islington, London) with an interview she’d written about Antonagis Andreou who grew up in Islington in the 1950s/60s. Read it here 
  • STOP PRESS: Rahim Amin will also be going to the Brussels summer school.

MILESTONE: The Engage London blog had 2000+ views by 20 June. Thank you readers.

For Brussels summer school see posts HERE


May: behind the scenes

We’ve run three workshops for Engage London at City during May, and four of the team went to Romania. It seems that getting media savvy has inspired some of our @hearmespeak group to use cameras and commentary in new ways. And we’ve learnt some things too…

The slide Brandon was due to present in Romania – until stopped from leaving the country by a visa glitch. Well done to Engage London’s two other team members going to Cluj-Napoca, Surelle Stevens and Pandora Khody, for professionally stepping into their missing team member’s shoes. (c) Engage London

>>1 Doing something for mental health awareness
Brandon Richards was unlucky to miss the Romania trip owing to a visa glitch. We’re all proud at the way he saw this as a hiccup not a setback and we hope he’ll be able to be part of the team at the Brussels workshop in June. This is a shout out he’s done for design services, P R OTO N E Phenomenon, and mental health awareness. Follow on his insta  @the_phencrew You can also read an interview with Brandon here.

Brandon’s just made a crowdfunding page, here’s why: “My problem is equipment. I need a computer, and a camera. My equipment would cost £500 and I’d be able to do things on it. I want to make videos. That video below is from an app. It’s just 40 seconds but it took four hours to make.”

Action: many homeless young people struggle to have the right documentation. For the purposes of Engage London we have now tried to get all the Pilion Trust team to apply for passports. For media trainers this was an unexpected discovery about what needed to be done.

>>2 Film a place we volunteer

Misgana Asefa, is a keen footballer, part of the Pilion Trust and Engage London, who is working hard to improve his English. He enjoyed working on the TV Question Time at City for #HearMeSpeak, showing real skill on the sound equipment. Misgana volunteers at a unique cafe and urban growing centre, the Skip Garden, every Friday. The Skip Garden is in King’s Cross, not far from the station where you catch the Eurostar.

King’s Cross is much more than a station. It’s also a place to hang out and has amazing restaurants and cafes. Even so the Skip Garden is really special. Not only does it serve up fantastic food from local ingredients, the Skip Garden is a moveable growing centre. Skips (normally used for builder’s rubble and rubbish) are filled with soil and planted with herbs, vegetables and even espalier fruit trees. The skips are located on a site that’s not being built on at the rapidly changing King’s Cross. When building gets the green light the whole garden – skips and buildings – are picked up (or dismantled) and moved to a new spot. All this Misgana conveys as he shows us round the Skip Garden, while being filmed by Rahim Amin, who is also a Pilion Trust and #hearmespeak team member.

Action: to build on this we hope that the City students  will work in pairs with some of the Pilion Trust to help develop their projects – once the summer exams are over. One of the problems the Pilion Trust members have found is that they want to keep working on media projects but sometimes find it hard to access the right equipment. That’s the reason Misghana’s film can’t be downloaded – and it’s why Brandon is having to crowdfund.

Engage London’s team in Romania – Barbara Schofield from City journalism, then from the Pilion Trust, Surelle Stevens, Savas Panas and Pandora Khody. (c) Engage London

>>3 Workshop in Romania
Savvas Panas, CEO of the Pilion Trust, Barbara Schofield who heads City’s journalism department plus Pandora Khody and Surelle Stevens went to Romania. City journalism students couldn’t attend this time because they all had exams. The team carefully prepared a presentation to showcase all the good things Engage London has been doing.

Engage London also joined digital reporting workshops, run by trainers Loredana Bertișan, a journalist at Biziday, and Cătălin Nunu, introduced participants to digital media in all of its forms, including social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Surelle had a go at sports reporting. Pandora did outside broadcasting for TV.

Action: we’re getting ready for the Brussels workshop in June, and preparing for our London event in October.

>>4 Enjoying the new Engage EuropeFacebook page
Find it at https://www.facebook.com/EngageForEurope/?modal=admin_todo_tour

All Engage Europe are invited to meet the whole Engage London team and join our #HearMeSpeak events in London at City university and the Pilion Centre’s base in Islington from Thursday, 11 October – Saturday 13 October.



It’s all about style: podcast

Engage London are a stylish bunch, so in their second go in the radio studio at City they decided to move on from safety and knife crime to create a podcast all about personal style. Have a listen…

Planning topics for the TV question time. To involve more people in the project we invited in an audience for a live TV show and, a week later, ran a 2nd podcast training session. City Head of Journalism,Barbara Schofield (standing, using mobey) and Savvas Panas, CEO of the Pilion Trust (at the flipchart) will both be at the Romania workshop (c) Engage London

After reviewing the podcast – created in our first workshop – the #HearMeSpeak team wanted to have a go creating a more freestyle talk show.

Here Fadz, Yasmin, Favour, Gerrell and Jahbary discussed the ways their style has changed. Meanwhile Misgana, Naomi, Amelia, Matt and others were helping use the sound equipment.

Here’s what our podcasters said about the way their personal style has changed as a result of the music they are listening to.  Just click on the link for the podcast:

Has your style changed over the past five years? Ten years? And why – leave a comment if you’d like to join in.

April: what’s happening behind the scenes?

During April the #HearMeSpeak team had a tour of City, University of London, journalism department and three workshops.

1 TOUR OF CITY University of London, journalism department

Our booked room for a post tour debrief on the exterior display at City. (c) Engage London

Tour: included the amazing journalism department with two radio studios, TV studio with seating for an audience, Apple Mac computer rooms with students working on their own projects, two lecture rooms – one with theatre seating and the other cabaret seating (which had computers that could be lowered to provide different studying experiences).

What did you think of City’s journalism department?
“How modern the building is.” Favour

“It was interesting sitting and talking about workshop ideas. I’d like to be able to use this equipment during and after the project.” Brandon

“How do we get access to the equipment for our own projects?” Surelle

“Really loved the equipment.” Marcus


2 PODCAST WORKSHOP (workshop #1)

Planning a podcast at City from Opener to Goodbye. (c) Engage London

Skills learnt:
a) Radio know-how
– including planning and assigning roles – technical (including using Burli autocue), research and presenting.
b) Finding a peg – something that people are talking about. The podcast topic, staying safe in London, was picked because there have been 50 knife and gun attacks on mostly young people by mostly young people over the past few weeks. According to the mainstream press London’s murder rate is now higher than New York. The group know that everyone in Europe will be talking about this so they wanted to give their story. Put another way it’s their narrative focusing on individual experiences.
c) Practice of a variety of interviews including over the phone, face-to-face and vox pop.
d) Working to deadline in a team.

What did you learn? 
“The being team that you require to create a show. I found it interesting creating the script, seeing how the live studio worked and reading live from the prompter.” Surelle 

“It was interesting being part of the brief at the beginning and watching how it came together at the end.” Brandon

“I found editing the audio interesting.” Pandora

“It was easier than I expected – amazing, a real pro-experience.” Martina 

“It was harder than I expected.” Fardowsa 

“Very professional equipment.” Gideon

“I learnt how to edit the audio that has been made. It was amazing. Most interesting was vox pox – approaching strangers and asking their opinion.” Favour.

  • Listen to our Stay Safe in London podcast here.


3 TV WORKSHOP (workshop #2)

#hearmespeak technicians with City technician Dave Goodfellow take a break after learning Tricaster skills and before the TV show is filmed. (c) Engage London

There was a big turn out for the TV show: seven City journalism students, most of the Pilion Trust #hearmespeak team and an audience of around 26. The actual studio seats 35 so we were close to bursting. There was a marked gender split with most of the boys interested in the equipment and technical skill. In the end our four panellists were all young women, apart from the anchor, City 1st year journalism student, Matt.

Most of the participants were surprised by the amount of thinking work that goes into preparing the questions that will be asked by the audience.

Skills learnt:
What each role involves – anchor, panellist, autocue operator, technical director, floor manager, sound manager, camera operators, studio camera operator. City uses Tricaster in its studio.

What did you learn?
Favour (audience/question asker): “We worked together as a team.”

Gemmel (technician/floor manager): “Effective communication makes for a good TV show. It was interesting seeing a collaboration of workers come together to complete a show having fulfilled different roles.”

Naomi (audience/question asker): “I found the presenting interesting, as despite having a script, a lot of it is improvised to match the tone of response provided by the panel. Liked having a platform where we are freely able to express your opinion.”

Gideon (technician): “I learnt about film and lighting working with the studio and camera.”

Surelle (panel): “Found it interesting the order the show runs. Found the discussion well informed.”

Yasmin (panel): “I found it interesting learning about the different and important roles/jobs that go into creating a show. I think the high tech equipment and growing knowledge means we have created a platform that is interesting and eye-catching to a wider audience.”

Pandora (panel): “It’s very fun. It educates the world because youths like us are speaking #hearmespeak.”

Brandon (camera operator): “I found it interesting seeing how to work in your role and help the show to progress. Now we have this #hearmespeak material made, we can broadcast it through our media.”

Jahbarey (technician): “I think I can work as a sound manager. I learnt that the job requires focus. I like the way the #hearmespeak workshops are letting a lot of people know about how young people feel about the issues in society.”

Misgana (technician/studio camera): “I like the camera and learnt many things, like changing the positions. I had no idea before, and now I know what to do.”

Moon (audience): “I found it interesting that the questions are prepared beforehand.”

Thank you to Nandos Islington for donating two jumbo platters. Three panellists and an audience question asker look very happy about this after show snack. (c) Engage London

After the event we all shared some donated Nandos jumbo platters – chicken, corn, garlic bread, coleslaw.

  • Watch the TV show here


Yes! We’ve had 1,000 views. Engage London and #hearmespeak are being heard… (20/4/18) (c) Engage London

=============================================== MORE TO COME

4 REVIEW WORKSHOP (workshop #3)

Back to City university to critique our podcast show. Barbara also ran another session in the radio studio to give people the opportunity to do freestyle podcasting – Fadz, Yasmin, Favour, Gerrell and Jahbary discussed the ways their style has changed. Meanwhile Misgana and others were helping use the sound equipment.

You can listen here, just click the link: .

Planning for Romania
We’ve been having trouble ensuring that everyone has an up-to-date passport so they can join the workshops around Europe. But we do have three keen #HearMeSpeak participants – Surelle, Brandon and Pandora – who will be going to Cluj for the Romania workshop in May. As part of the preparation for this Nicola, who is helping coordinate the project, and Catriona, a 2nd year at City, interviewed them.

5 REVIEW WORKSHOP (workshop #4 TBC)

TV show to be screened at Ringcross Centre plus an opportunity to critique TV making and presenting techniques.