Artist-led Local Television is Showing the Way


From artist films to interactive council meetings, from documenting regeneration to promoting digital access, local and community television is fast becoming a key player in the changing broadcasting sector.

Local TV helps build citizenship, tells stories and gives people a voice through DIY participation. The arts and culture sector has a crucial role in this process. This was the conclusion of an international expert group who were invited by the Finnish Institute and FACT, UK's leading centre for digital culture, to meet in June in Liverpool.

Local media practitioners, representatives and researchers from the UK, Ireland and Finland took part in the meeting. The aim of the seminar was to promote the debate around community media, exchange best practices and explore the ways in which a number of arts and culture organisations and DIY practitioners are leading the way in producing artistically and socially groundbreaking television.

"We have moved from an era of a state TV culture that clearly marked non-unionised film content as 'amateur material' to a global industry reliant on citizen journalism and content acquired by communities and individuals. It is essential that we have diversity of voices, stories and methods of how those stories are shared and represented", says Mike Stubbs, Director of FACT.

The seminar day consisted of sessions and screenings of these existing models, future policies and artist practices. Speakers included Mike Stubbs (FACT), Patrick Fox and Laura Yates (Tenatspin/FACT), Minna Tarkka and Emmi Vainio (mcult / m2hz), Teppo Hudson and Jenni Niemiaho (Stadi.TV / Forum Virium), Paula Hirvonen (City of Helsinki), Ciaran Moore (Dublin Community TV), Jaqui Devereux and Tamar Millen (Community Media Association), Daniel Cass (Six TV), Professor Andy Miah and Mark Saunders (Spectacle / Despite TV).

The expert meeting was a follow-up to a pilot residency exchange in 2010 between community media pioneers Tenantspin (FACT, Liverpool) and m2hz (mcult, Helsinki).

Following the meeting, the participants are now identifying areas for future international collaboration. Later this year, the Finnish Institute is also publishing a book about community TV and local media.


Image: Communications Tower. Installation view from the exhibition Knowledge Lives Everywhere, 01 April - 12 June 2011, FACT, Liverpool. (Photo: Suvi Kukkonen)