Bay Area Video Coalition
The Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) was founded in 1976 by a coalition of media makers and activists who wanted to find alternative, socially relevant applications for a new technology - PortaPak video. Since then the technology has radically changed, but BAVC’s mission to inspire social change by enabling the sharing of diverse stories through art, education and technology, and our belief that telling compelling stories is powerful for both maker and audience, remains unchanged. Over the last 34 years, we have developed an entrepreneurial web of programs and services that bring together a multi-generational mix of artists, experienced media professionals, educators, low-income youth and adults, and industry partners in this pursuit. In 2009, BAVC acquired operations of San Francisco’s public access television station. We envision public access as a suite of community services which include broadcast channels, as well as a robust online service with numerous channels and tools.
BAVC has a long history of serving Bay Area low-income youth and adults. Currently, we engage 300+ low-income and at-risk youth per year through fully-subsidized digital arts training programs and paid externships, providing them with college credits and postsecondary employment opportunities. We also offer state-subsidized technical training to thousands of qualifying adults. Through public access television, we provide a public service that draws participation from all walks of life. In our first few months of operations, we supported multiple producers with disabilities, senior citizens, after-school groups, faith-based groups, homeless producers, veterans, activists, artists, and countless unemployed and low-income members of our community, and increased producer membership by over 35%. We seek to diversify and expand the producing community and audiences, and to encourage media literacy and journalistic standards among San Francisco’s diverse community of citizen journalists.
Neighborhood News Network Project Manager
BAVC developed the Neighborhood News Network Project in order to take advantage of the high-speed fiber optic network that connects the local public acces, educational, and government channels to nearly fifteen community sites throughout San Francisco. It has the capacity to support live video streaming and high resolution file transfer from any connected site. In the initial n3 pilot, BAVC will focus on three unique organizations and the constituencies they serve.
The Digital Arts Service Corps member would serve a central and defining role as Project Manager in building and launching the neighborhood news network project, with complete focus for one year on building, implementing, documenting, and evaluating the project, in a way that no current staff member could do without letting their essential duties drop. The Corps member wold be responsible for identifying San Francisco neighborhoods, organizations, and programs that could most benefit from the added capacity of tools and skills required to share relevant, timely, and hyper-local news and information with each other, to conduct research, outreach, documentation, and evaluation tasks, and subsequently to implement a pilot program in a successful, sustainable, and replicable way with guidance, input and participation from BAVC staff and our community partners.
Because of the Corps member’s activities at our organization, we have developed relationships with three local community-based organizations, installed studio equipment at their sites, conducted training with staff and community members, and produced work that will continue to be distributed online and on our channels. Another major outcome of the Corps member’s work was further development of the “neighborhood news network” program model, and curriculum for the program that we can continue to use and adapt for other audiences.
Our service corps member accomplished everything we set out to do during the year. One of the main challenges that limited the scope of what she was able to accomplish was in outreach – namely, recruiting and sustaining the engagement of community producers in each of the workshops. With busy and differing schedules, and possibly because no fee was charged for participation in the workshops, some participants dropped out of the program or showed up inconsistently. This made teamwork and ongoing collaboration among the participants, and the pieces they were trying to produce, a constant challenge, particularly at one of the three sites. This resulted in fewer total participants trained, and fewer quality pieces completed without assistance, but it is also part of the reality of working with these populations. So the fact that we learned from this process still built capacity and understanding within our own organization and will impact our future partnership choices and program design.