An Ecology for Media Making Takes Flight

Peterborough Dialogues tree-fort group building a pattern 

Yvonne Hollandy

The ecology for a new form of media making is crystallizing at the Peterborough Dialogues’ tree fort sessions.

Members called the process “awesome” as plans for upcoming stories emerged from the conversations.

This week’s session explored concrete ways to share the stories of some obvious and some “brewing” community builders, while cultivating the passions and talents of the people in this tree fort group.

Ideas grew from inaugural Dialogues participant Bill Templeman’s initiative to engage with community brewers at the first-ever Kawartha Craft Beer Festival in Peterborough on the weekend, and the Axiom News team’s Ben Wolfe’s storytelling of free libraries sprouting throughout Peterborough neighbourhoods.

The possibilities spilled out to illuminate the story of craft brewers as part of the larger story of the new economy alive locally.

The first form of media generated from a particular event, initiative, or conversation could be a short, quick, newsy romp, sharing some highlights and insights. What may follow is a series of related stories, both in-depth and lighter, that flow one to the other as the possibilities embedded within them emerge. With the creative gifts and capacities already available, these written stories could be illustrated or complemented by a whole variety of other media and art: digital photo collages, videos, podcasts, hand-drawn graphics and diagrams, and interactive links and illustrations that map out assets.

This is the pattern that has been building during tree fort sessions — a potential treasure trove for co-creative media making that supports a new narrative for a resilient and thriving Peterborough.

Now, three sessions in, the media-making group has identified key themes that are emerging around building community in Peterborough. Some of these themes surfaced as Bill shared with the group about his experience with the craft brewers. Posing appreciative, strengths-based questions, Bill made some amazing discoveries about the community-building values and approaches common to many of the craft brewers, such as collaboration, connection with artists and sourcing locally.

His learnings, coupled with the sharing of his audio recordings, inspired ideas for media making. On the spot, the Axiom News team’s Jocasta Boone sketched a graphic of the community impact of craft brewing. Axiom News videographer Amber Pula chimed in about video opportunities and podcasting. Dialogues and tree fort participant Mark Woolley has already created an interactive Google Map of the little free libraries in the Peterborough area. Bill expressed interest in writing and others in the tree fort suggested how to structure written stories. The possibilities spilled out to illuminate the story of craft brewers as part of the larger story of the new economy alive locally.

This process could become a roadmap for telling the stories emerging in the community. It’s not reinventing the wheel of media tools themselves but it is evolving into a new way to engage the gifts, skills and assets at hand toward storytelling with purpose.

Stay tuned for the next chapter in this unfolding story…

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