The People’s Arts And Media school

[PROJECT IN DEVELOPMENT]

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  • A typical British adult now watches television for 3.5 hours a day.
  • The average teenager now spends over 6 hours a day looking at a screen.
  • 60% of the UK Population have a Facebook Account.
  • 20 million people in the UK have a Twitter account.
  • LinkedIn, has over 60 million views in the UK every month.
  • More people watch YouTube than terrestrial TV

We live in an increasingly ‘mediated’ world.

The source of our political, economic and social information is transmitted to us via mainstream or social media or both, yet most of us know next to nothing about how either are created, how they are distributed, how they are paid for, or how they influence our democratic decision-making.

In order for democratic citizens to make rational voting decisions we must be sufficiently educated to understand the complex world we live in and reliably informed about the issues upon which we are asked to vote. The mainstream ‘mass’ media we watch in the UK (television, newspapers etc.) is owned by a tiny group of global, corporate, commercial companies. Six companies account for over 80% of local newspapers sold. Five companies account for over 75% of TV viewed. Four companies control 80% of national newspaper sales.

This commercial, corporate, monopoly is now being challenged by a myriad of diverse sources of information distributed via the Internet, but, in turn, this has created its own problems with some commentators claiming that the ‘Facebook revolutions” of the Arab Spring, the Corbyn phenomenon, the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, have exposed both the ‘bias’ of the mainstream corporate media and the anarchy of the internet, as unaccredited and unreliable sources relentlessly spread ‘fake news’ via social media. Indeed, to some it appears we are entering a ‘post factual’ political era in which the public can no longer trust any mediated sources of information. If so, the implications for our democracy are profound.

The People’s Arts & Media School, aims to increase understanding of the history and nature of our democracy, of the influence of both mainstream and social media on our democracy and the skills necessary for citizens to contribute to our democracy by making their own media.

You don’t need any qualifications to study at The People’s Media School, all our study units are open to anyone interested in how the mass media influences our democracy and how to influence it yourself by making your own media.

Students at The People’s Arts & Media School might be in work or unemployed; they might be able-bodied or disabled; home grown or first generation immigrants; black or white; gay or straight. They might be individuals, community organisers or trade unionists; they might be activists campaigning for political parties, the climate, poverty, human rights, racial equality or anything else you can think of. They might be young and interested in a career in the media or they might be life-long learners of any age simply wanting to understand how the media works.

The People’s Arts & Media School welcomes students from the widest spectrum of our society, young and old, rich and poor, but our courses are free and require no qualifications because we want especially to attract students from the most under-privileged sections of our society and especially those who have been alienated by or excluded from mainstream education.

All our services are free:

  • To those between 14 and 24
  • To those of any age receiving any state benefit
  • And to senior citizens

For anyone under 65, in work and not receiving state benefits, our study units cost just £5 an hour.


Study Units:

Our programmes are categorised into the two inter-connected areas of study, ‘Media Skills’ and ‘Understanding Media’. The ‘Skills’ units are aimed at volunteer activists who want to create their own media and those interested in pursuing careers in the media. The ‘Understanding’ units are for those who simply want to understand how the media works. All together the units form a comprehensive introduction to the media analogous to an Art School Foundation Diploma.


Skills Units:

  • Citizen Journalism 12 x 2 hours
  • Art as Action 12 x 2 hours
  • Creating Content On A Mobile Phone 6 x 2 hours
  • Activist Video For Beginners 6 x 2 hours
  • Video Editing For Beginners 6 x 2 hours
  • Screenwriting 12 x 2 hours
  • Make a Short Film (Fiction) 12 x 2 hours
  • Make a Short Film (Documentary) 12 x 2 hours
  • Blogging For Beginners 6 x 2 hours

Understanding Media Units:

  • Reading The News 6 x 2 hours
  • Reading Movies 6 x 2 hours
  • Reading Adverts 6 x 2 hours
  • Chomsky For Beginners 6 x 2 hours
  • The Economics Of Mainstream Media 6 x 2 hours
  • Activism & Social Media 6 x 2 hours

Activist Units:

  • Theatre Of The Oppressed 6 x 2 hours
  • Writing A Press Release 2 x 2 Hours
  • Handling The Media 6 x 2 Hours

Our ambition is to launch The People’s Arts & Media School in 2017. We are based in the West Midlands and in our first year we will aim to run each of the Study Units at least once in and around Birmingham.

After that in coming years we would hope to run to Study Units in towns and cities across the Midlands, the North and the East of England.


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