UNISON North West launched a new audio podcast, Organising to Win, in May 2016, following our second successful annual Skills for Strength organising convention held on 2 March.
The convention brought together UNISON North West activists with other trade unionists from across our movement and the world, to discuss how we can build union organisation in workplaces in our region and share lessons from struggles elsewhere. Activists from our region presented workshops on their own successful organising campaigns, alongside a host of guest speakers, academics and campaigners. We shared experience, skills and wisdom. We increased participation from 120 or so activists the year before to over 170, and the feedback was hugely positive.
The challenge, though, was as stark as the event’s success: how can we capture the wealth of knowledge, experience of struggle, and carnival of ideas which the event encapsulated and extend its reach beyond the 170 or so activists who attended ‘Skills for Strength’?
Our organising podcast is one part of the answer.
While a 35-minute video of a guest speaker’s introductory polemic may exhaust the attention of all but the most die-hard activist, Organising to Win allows us to condense their contribution and ideas into a digestible, focused segment of a short radio programme, then contextualise this alongside the voices and experiences of UNISON North West stewards and members who are actually building union organisation in their workplaces and making our union stronger.
Furthermore, the medium of ‘radio’ allows us to capture and process contributions with relative ease, and present them in a format which needn’t consume the entire attention of its audience – it’s something which you can stick on while answering your emails in the morning, not something you have to sit down in front of and watch.
After production, the programme is presented online alongside downloadable resources which can be utilised in the real world, from a PDF guide on the nefarious Trade Union Act to templates for campaign leaflets and newsletters. This way, the podcast is a segue between the regional events we hold and invite guests to contribute to, and the wider activist base.
We are building our audience slowly, and now have over 120 listeners. Over the coming months, we will be featuring discussions on community campaigning, tackling union-busting and activist development, and interviewing American trade unionist and author of Raising Hell and Raising Expectations, Jane McAlevey alongside a host of others.
You can listen to Organising to Win online at: www.unisonnw.org/podcast
How we made this happen:
- Microphones: Rode NT-1 USB / Blue Snowball condenser microphones
- Software: Audacity (free of charge) / Garageband (packaged with iLife)
- Hardware: MacBook and PC Laptops
- That’s all.