An Aberdeenshire writer’s group has found a silver lining in lockdown and produced its own podcast for the first time ever, thanks to a collaboration with students from Robert Gordon University (RGU).
Academics from the university’s school of creative and cultural business approached the Mearns Writers group with the idea of using the internet to help get their work to a wider audience than ever before, as part of a course project.
Together, they made the Mearns Voices podcast, an online audio programme featuring readings and more from members of the writer’s group.
Rita Marcellea, professor of information management at RGU, said: “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.”
Mr Lawrie said: “We have never done podcasting before and for many present members, whose ages range from their 20s to their 80s, this project meant acquiring quite a range of technological skills.
“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.”