Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Richmond community can learn how to share their stories at the VPM+ICA Community Center’s grand opening

A man wearing headphones and holding recording equipment interviews a woman
Community members can come to the VPM+ICA Community Center to learn how plan a story, record interviews and edit audio to share, just like VPM reporter Ian Stewart (pictured left). (Photo: VPM)

The VPM+ICA Community Media Center officially opens up to the public Friday, November 5 with its grand opening event. The media center, created in collaboration with VPM, will teach community members how to produce thought-provoking audio stories, like podcasts. 

The event will feature hourly tours where attendees can explore the two recording booths and collaborative workspaces. 

Podcast-focused programming will be front and center on opening night as VCU alum and award-winning podcast creator Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr. speaks on the importance of “Perfecting the First Five Minutes of your Podcast.” This seminar will be the first of many available throughout the year, aimed at introducing the public to experts who are establishing their own platforms for innovative storytelling. 

“Storytelling is at the heart of VPM’s mission, which is why we’re thrilled to be part of the VPM + ICA Community Media Center. This creative space will give everyone in our community the opportunity to learn how to tell their own story in a compelling, impactful way,”said Jayme Swain, VPM’s CEO and Virginia Foundation for Public Media and President.

Helping to confront the barriers of production is Chioke I’Anson Ph.D, Director of Community Media at the ICA and an assistant professor of African American Studies at VCU. I’Anson will teach a podcasting seminar each semester for students, as well as head a slate of programming including community events, podcasting and media classes for youth, and speaker sessions. All the programs will be offered for free, both virtually and in-person.

According to I’Anson, “the goal of all of our programming is to demystify aspects of production.” Everyone has the capability to produce creative content, but for I'Anson it is about learning how to refine those skills, and he hopes the media center will provide that. 

“By being better at producing media you become better at consuming media, that means you become more media literate, and more media critical. And that is a thing that everybody needs,” said I’Anson.

After receiving studio certification on how to use the space, members will be able to start developing and sharing their own stories, with the help of the resources of the VPM+ICA Community Media Center.

“Everything we do at the ICA is for both VCU and wider communities in Richmond and beyond. Like VPM, we are an institution of public culture: open to anyone,” said  Dominic A. Willsdon, Executive Director of the ICA.

During opening night, refreshments and a cash bar will be available for guests. Tours run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.