Broadcast first for local writers

By bellmannews / February 10, 2021

WRITERS from Stonehaven and the Mearns are now featured on Spotify thanks to a team of media students from Robert Gordon University (RGU) who have helped them produce podcasts.

The students from the School of Creative and Cultural Business approached members of Mearns Writers with a proposal to develop the group’s online profile, as a project in their BA Media course. 

“The module involves student teams carrying out projects for business clients,” said professor of information management Rita Marcella.

”Pre-Covid, we would normally pair students with a local business, where they would meet with their client and create promotional material for them.

”However, with businesses switching to operating through home working, we had to think of a new way of stretching our students’ skills.

”My brother Alistair Lawrie, and the creative writing group he started some 12 years ago, would usually be performing their work to audiences around the North East, but all the events were cancelled, so the students came up with ideas to meet their client brief and proposed creating podcasts, so that not only could members continue to perform, but they could share their work with even bigger audiences.”

Successful recordings – despite many noisy interruptions

Mearns Writers founder Alistair Lawrie said the group had never done podcasting before and for many present members, whose ages range from their twenties to their eighties, this project meant acquiring quite a range of technological skills.

He said: “Members chose a broad range of poems, short stories and monologues, on a variety of subjects.

”Given the unfamiliarity of the process, with lots of encouragement and technical guidance from the students, Mearns Writers managed to record their stories and poetry– in bedrooms, under a duvet, in the cupboard under the stairs, in the potting shed, despite interruptions from dogs barking, cats leaping and hoovers hooving; partners getting in on the act and shopping deliveries; kids demanding dinners, bedtime stories and fighting to the death; even having to silence seashell mobiles banging in the wind.

”Certainly all the content had to be recorded in bits and then pasted together.”

Podcasts make writing available to all

Mr Lawrie said: “We are immensely grateful and delighted to be performing again and hope that our work will encourage listeners to create their own stories and poems.

”Creative writing meant a great deal to us before Covid, and with lockdown, it has become a wonderful release from worries, for some, and a way of seeing and appreciating afresh the town, street or even simply the home where you live, in a way that brings it alive for others, noticing and celebrating small moments in our lives.

”We have several members who have hardly been outside because they must protect their health. Thanks to these students, while travel is restricted, our words and thoughts will go far and wide and be available at any time – a lovely prospect.”  

Prof Marcella said: “The project included the updating of the Mearns Writers website and Facebook pages. Other teams worked with a range of start up businesses and social enterprises like The Dennis Law Legacy Trust and Storical a digital heritage storytelling app. I’m very proud of all the work the student teams did on this module, especially given the really challenging circumstances of having to manage a team and clients virtually.”

Mearns Writers has over forty members living in and around Stonehaven and Inverbervie. The group was originally set up to promote and enhance creativity and mental wellbeing. It produces a wide range of writing, including songs, plays and essays, and the membership has several published and award-winning authors. 

There are now two Mearns Writers Podcasts and these are available at Mearns Writers Podcasts. Click HERE then, click on Open on Spotify. A page will open with the Podcasts listed.