Team Research Challenge Evaluation

24 Hour Challenge

As a team, we quickly came to an idea which we thought could have multiple directions: cycling. We searched online Coventry cycling clubs and found that there was a memorial for Diana Cooke. She was a avid member of the Coventry cycling community and tragically passed away at the tender age of 21: however, this isn’t a sad story as her niece, Nicole, continued her legacy and won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Lee got onto the phone to speak to the people listed in the website and managed to get the contact number of Tony, Diana’s brother and Nicole’s father. However, we did not get in touch with him directly before the 24 hour deadline. Instead, we had to think quickly; unfortunately, everyone in the team has other responsibilities such as having part time jobs so we were even more limited than 24 hours. We wanted to find out more in the community and thought that the cycle shop up Far Gosford Street would be a good place to start. Ioana and I went and interviewed one of the shop keepers; however, he had lost his passion for cycling not too long after becoming a tradesman in the sport, which I thought was quite sad. Perhaps on reflection, we should have used that as a story for the 24 hour; but I think we were too focussed on another outcome. He told us about the shop, history of cycling in Coventry and an overview of the clubs. This was valuable information, but redirected us to Lesley at the Transport Museum, whom specialised in the cycling section (she had a strong affiliation to the groups in Coventry). Once we reached there we were told that Lesley had retired before Christmas and that there was a replacement but she wasn’t available. We were a bit stuck now. So went with the recording that we had an loaded it with ambient sounds recorded by Hollie. Lee edited the mix together. We ‘#failed’ and not to my surprise either. We had a great story which we couldn’t complete in a day, but we learnt valuable lessons of how to approach people, interviewing, stating our intentions and acting in a professional manner.

One Week Challenge

All the team members had other commitments which meant that there wasn’t any one day we could meet-up to go over what we wanted to do. We had a Facebook group to pool ideas in and discuss on our own time. Ioana had found a member of one of the cycling clubs to interview and photograph. We asked her to really get a story from him that means something more than he is just a cyclist; our feedback from the 24 hour task said we need to have a hook to empathise with the subject. I personally feel that Ioana’s images were strong, but the story was weak- there was a short tale in there, but nothing of huge significance. On evaluation however, we need to be more careful of why we are taking this shot and for what purpose. We must consider the semantics a lot more.

I pursued a story that I heard about in the summer, one that can pull in a reader and feel empathy. However, that was the extent of its success; the writing. Because it was so last minute, I used my phone camera to take a portrait of Nathan. He doesn’t own a bike anymore either, so the best I could come up with was the Tshirt he wore at the Cafe he raised money for. It was a difficult location; a dilapidated part of town with not an awful lot of wealth. Jonathan said that it looks like a man in front of a low budget cafe- which essentially was what it was for sure. I can’t blame my tools as such, no. I think I would have a reshoot for sure, be more equipped and take at least a flashgun to fill in the really dark shadows of light. I did record Nathan talking about the story, but he didn’t seem passionate and spoke almost in bullet points. This is probably a reflection of my interviewing skills which I know I must be a lot more clear on.

So we had one set with good pictures and weak story and a strong story which crutched the pictures. Unfortunately Lee spoke to Tony and he neither wanted to talk about Diana nor be recorded. This was such a shame, but just being able to get that far was really successful. It’s a good job we had a backup plan. Because the stories were linked by community and cycling we geotagged the stories onto a Google Map which could be edited by members of the public to include their own stories. This was our idea to fit towards the brief of having a community on a shared space.

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