Hello, I'm John Popham, Digital Storyteller and Internet Evangelist, and I am planning to spend the summer of 2019 on a quest to seek out the true voices of the people of Northern England. I want to find out what people all over the North think of the Northern Powerhouse, and to amplify their voices so that the Northern Powerhouse can become people-driven, not dictated by men in suits. And I want you to come with me.
I am seeking sponsorship and crowdfunding for a summertime journey celebrating the North while capturing and amplifying the voices of its people . I will be reporting as I go:
- Live on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope
- Several times a week via YouTube vlogs,
- With a feature length video overview of the project
- Via reflective blogging, including a “final report”
I will be travelling by train; because one of the issues I wants to investigate is the north’s public transport network which has attracted so much criticism over the past year or so. My preferred method of transport has always been the train, and I have experienced some of the issues himself, but now I want part of the story I tell about the North to be about how its people get around the region, and, in particular about how the region’s public transport infrastructure helps or hinders them in this respect.
The project will capture the views of local residents, community activists, visitors, local politicians and officials, local business people, and of anyone else who has an opinion on, or interest in, the North of England.
There is an untold story to be told about how aspirations of the people of the North have evolved, and what its role might be in the future. While officials and politicians might be working hard to find new roles and new economic opportunities for the region, this is not generally always known by the public who continue, largely, to equate the North with its traditional industries, many of which, such as coal and steel, hardly exist any more. This project will tell this story, will raise the profile of the changing nature of the region, and shine the light on great ideas for how the region might change in the future. The crucial element Northern Summer will bring, is to ensure the voice of the people is heard in debates about the future of the area.
The bulk of the project will take place over a one-month period during the summer of 2019. During this period, I will travel to a number of locations in the North of England and conduct interviews and collect video and photographic records of his visits, while telling the story of my travels live in real-time via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and regular YouTube videos. As a minimum, places to be visited will include Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, York, Middlesbrough and Newcastle. The opportunity will also be taken to visit a number of smaller towns and rural locations to ensure that non-urban voices are a part of the process.
In the lead up to the beginning of the journey there will be a process of compiling a timetable of visits, making contact with local officials and organisations to secure interviews with them, raising funding and sponsorship, planning the itinerary and promoting the project.
After the journey is completed, there will be a one-month period of collating material from the project, releasing any material that could not be broadcast during the journey, producing reflective blogs detailing findings from the project, and producing a movie-length video of the project.
This project is run with the support of the People’s Powerhouse, the movement that exists to ensure that people and communities are at the heart of the Powerhouse plans, not the periphery.