highrise23rv1_j_1108181cl-8Working in media, we all know that in order to move forward we have to move sideways…in other words broadcasting on one platform, for example radio or television does not ensure your station’s future. While relationships between community radio and television stations- even sharing programs- should be encouraged, for the rest of the community broadcasting sector, it’s the online platform which is most important.

More than a marketing tool or a chance to rebroadcast programs, stations need to look at the platform as a place to create new content (which can then lead to the creation of new radio programs). This requires a whole new approach to telling stories and a great example of this the Canadian project known as Highrise.

Highrise is a sophisticated multiyear art/media project funded by the National Film Board of Canada and as such it has had access to great technology. But its the central idea of Highrise which really makes it such an effective project. It started out as a project documenting the lives of people living in a tower in Toronto. It then went international, bringing together the lives of people all of the world who share one thing in common- living in highrises. While I am not suggesting that community radio stations can produce content as complex as this. we can take our inspiration from the use of photography, audio and text which is combined with stunning effects.

The project now offers the opportunity for people aorund the world to upload content from their towers and this often occurs from places which are in the news….Egypt, Japan and so on. Perhaps the most inspiring part of the project is called Out My Window.

Out My Window is described as a 360° documentary of the lives of people who live in residential towers around the world. From Amsterdam to Johannesburg, artists and activists living in highrise buildings tell stories, sing songs and generally represent the view out of their window. (My favorites are Amsterdam and Cuba, perhaps because they also have a music video which you can click and drag to look around the room. I also love the simplicity of the powerful stories using photos, audio and text. In particular, check out the use of audio with loops of ambient noise making you feel like you are in the room even when you are not interacting with the screen. Move your mouse across the screen and notice not only the interactivity of the project but the use of audio again. It is really brilliant!

If you want the quick overview of how to explore the project their is a great navigation guide…check it out and get inspired!



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