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Nurturing New Voices: VPM + ICA Community Media Center

VPM + ICA Panel 2

Dr. Chioke I’Anson, VCU professor and Director of Community Media at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), wants to hear stories—community stories, unheard stories, hyper-local stories—preferably in the form of a podcast.

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The more specific the story, I’Anson says, the more relatable, the more human it is. And we all have one (or more) to share. But do we all have media access? Do we have media skills? Do we have the means by which to make our voices heard?

VPM recently announced its partnership with the ICA to create the VPM + ICA Community Media Center, where nurturing new voices in our community—as well as providing skills and access to technology—is the central focus.

A small panel from VPM and the ICA chatted via Zoom Wednesday night about what this collaboration means to our community and to the many voices that have yet to be heard. Joining I’Anson were Jayme Swain, CEO of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media and President of VPM; Steve Humble, VPM’s Chief Content Officer; and Dominic Willsdon, Executive Director of the ICA.

Both I’Anson and Swain pointed out the vast changes that have taken place in media over the last decade. Not only is the ability to create video and audio content accessible to anyone with a smartphone, but the way we consume media has shifted dramatically—particularly with the introduction and subsequent explosion of podcasting. 

And now, more than ever,  public media is poised to tell local stories that national and commercial media often overlook.  The ICA and VPM hope the community media center will serve as a space for “new voices” that highlight humanity and bring empathy to stories that, while local, have a national relevance and appeal. 

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