Nov. 5, 2021
‘There’s a story only you can tell’: Step inside the new VPM + ICA Community Media Center
The center, which is opening its physical doors for the first time, is a forum for community storytelling, and a way to find new voices that we need to hear.
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The VPM + ICA Community Media Center, which began operating virtually last fall and is now opening its physical doors for the first time, trains and educates students and community members to become audio producers, offering podcasting workshops as well as training sessions and presentations for aspiring storytellers. It was created to address issues of access and the barriers diverse voices often face as they try to tell and promote their stories.
The media center, located in the Dr. Murry N. DePillars Learning Lab at the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, is a free public resource.
“There’s a story only you can tell, and there are people out there that need to hear the thing that only you know — they need to hear the story that only you can tell,” said Chioke l’Anson, Ph.D., the center’s inaugural director of community media, an assistant professor of African American Studies in VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences and an iCubed scholar in the Racial Equity, Arts and Culture core.
What new storytellers sometimes need, he said, “is a little bit of development, a little bit of help. And that help is what the community media center provides.”
The center is a resource to teach “the art of storytelling,” said Jayme Swain, president and CEO of VPM and the Virginia Foundation for Public Media. “Our culture is so polarized, but I think when we get to know each other better, that’s what really can bring us together and strengthen our community.”
Take a look inside the new media center as it opens its doors for the first time: