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UWS - Digital Commonwealth

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Connected What is this programme?

The Digital Commonwealth project focused on lowering the threshold for involvement for individuals and groups so that they can be empowered to exploit creative tools and technologies to tell their stories, digitally. It enabled this storytelling through three strands of activity: Community Media Clusters, a Schools Programme and Creative Voices.

Connected What does the programme aim to achieve?

The Digital Commonwealth project aimed to enhance the capacity of individuals and groups to use freely available mobile digital (and social) media tools and techniques to ensure their voices were heard in a saturated (and often commercially) motivated media landscape.

The project reached out to individual and groups experiencing social, cultural or economic marginalisation, whether related to age, ethnicity, poverty, disability or social isolation. The project sought to:

  • Create four Community Media Clusters in the North East, the East, the Central West and the South West delivering community media cafe sessions, digital storytelling workshops (audio, video, blogs, social media) and facilitating community cluster meet-ups across Scotland.
  • Create a Schools Programme involving primary and secondary pupils from across Scotland’s local authorities, delivering in-school workshops and leaving a legacy of equipment and digital media resource packs.
  • Create three Creative Voices projects (documentary film, creative writing & community songwriting) involving participatory workshops and benefitting individuals in four areas around University of the West of Scotland campuses, giving a creative voice to older populations, migrant communities and excluded young people.
  • Coordinate a community reporting initiative for the Queen’s Baton Relay, involving individual beneficiaries and project partners, showcasing the rich tapestry of Scotland’s response to the Commonwealth Games and hosted on a specially designed and archived website.

Connected Where is the programme taking place?

The Digital Commonwealth was a nation-wide project. The Schools Programme targeted one learning cluster from every local authority in Scotland in the run up to the Queen’s Baton Relay in June 2014. A Scotland-wide spread of schools was recruited, including representation from urban and rural, Highland and Lowland, mainland and island stretching from Shetland to Rothesay, Western Isles to Dumfries and Moray to Haddington. The Community Media activity focused on enhancing capacity and strengthening networks in the North West (replacing Aberdeen), Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ayrshire. Finally, the Creative Voices element (songwriting, creative writing and film) supports individuals and groups close to University of the West of Scotland's campuses in Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire.

Connected Who is delivering this programme?

The Digital Commonwealth project in being led by University of the West of Scotland and is funded by the Big Lottery Fund Scotland and Media Trust's Local 360 Network.

Connected When is this programme going to be finished?

The project reached completion in April 2015.

Connected What has the programme achieved so far?

As part of the schools programme, 57 schools participated, involving 23 out of 32 local authorities. The workshops delivered involved 585 learners and these learners have already produced 306 unique curated media outputs (blog posts, audio interviews, videos and social media profiles).

32 community media workshops were delivered across Scotland (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayrshire and the North West) to 223 participants.  We held a community media symposium and produced a set of accessible online and hard copy resources usable by groups and individuals beyond their training to enhance their digital media work. As a resul,t 55 news items were created during Games-time alone through the #citizen2014 initiative. A further 15 participant blog posts, 10 videos and 25 audiobooms were produced before and during the Queen’s Baton Relay.

56 workshops were delivered as part of the Creative Voices programme in the areas of songwriting, creative writing and filmmaking, providing opportunities for 86 individuals and groups experiencing some form of marginalisation who live close to University of the West of Scotland's campuses in Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire. Participants produced 12 songs/videos, 30 pieces of creative writing and 6 short documentary films. Songs from four delivery areas have been turned into an album, a song promoted via Big, Big Sing and a performance with Alzheimer Scotland Renfrewshire. A creative writing anthology is being produced containing the creative writing produced and films are also being edited from our film project.

The Digital Commonwealth website was designed and launched in October 2013 and it hosts a significant amount of content produced by the project team and by beneficiaries (www.digitalcommonwealth.co.uk). A social media presence on Twitter has generated engagement with the project (@DigCW2014, #DigCW2014) with over 1000 individual accounts interacting with the project, producing over 7500 tweets mentioning the project.

During Games time, a #citizen2014 website (http://www.citizen2014.net) was created to host citizen-focused stories produced over the course of the 10 days. 6 reporters/ bloggers, 8 partners and 55 blog posts produced in that period.

The Digital Commonwealth team has disseminated its work extensively to both academic and non-academic communities. Digital Commonwealth was selected as a case study in the Creative Citizens Variety Pack and presented at the Creative Citizens conference in 2014. The team presented at 12 third sector events with an estimated reach of 365 people, including Neighbourhood Watch Scotland's Community e-Ngagement 2013 conference, Open Knowledge Foundation Glasgow, Social Media for Social Good, GVSO AGM, Digitally Agile: Community Learning Standards, Digital Angus, Youthlink Scotland comms group, SCVO’s Comms rewired confernece and East Dunbartonshire, New to Technology Librarian Training.

The project team have developed hard copy and e-format Digital Storytelling resources that have been distributed to our project partners and these will be disseminated towards the end of the project as a resource to be used by a range of third sector (and public sector) agencies and individuals to enhance their capacity to tell stories, digitally.


For more information, visit: http://digitalcommonwealth.co.uk/.


This programme has reached completion. As a result, the information on this site is now closed to further updates and is for reference purposes only.


Page last updated July, 2015