The Week at WIMPS – Week beginning 14 February

Interviews with Political Leaders, choosing a design company to build our new web site and live streaming the first political party hustings – just part of this week at WIMPS.

It is really astonishing the access that WIMPS has to the influential and powerful in Northern Ireland.  A youth organisation with cameras can get through a lot of doors.  

This week the crew interviewed the First Minister for Northern Ireland Peter Robinson (video to follow shortly) at Stormont Castle.  We are expecting to meet the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness soon.  Although the publically promised interview with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is still to materialise.

On Monday this week the crew went to Parliament Buildings interview  Dawn Purvis MLA for East Belfast.  Watch that here.

Don’t let anyone let you think there is no web design talent in NI.  When I started working in this web world in the late ‘90s there were few (probably no) world class web developers.  That’s no longer the case. On Monday and Tuesday we had a series of presentations by some excellent design companies.  All the presentations were fantastic and in the end we chose Front to build the new WIMPS site.

On Tuesday Public Achievement Director Paul Smyth and I were at NICVA there was a session on building a civil society.  The Carnagie Trust published a report on the future of civil society in the UK and Ireland. (www.futureforcivilsociery.org)  The focus at NICVA was on Northern Ireland and the lack of voice that some communities have as well as the inability of some politicians to hear what the public (particularly the marginalised) is saying.   A group of people from politics, voluntary organisations and bloggers Alan and Geoff were there.  I came away with two questions. If advocacy is the key, then how can those who want to be heard be supported? And how can reasoned public discussion be heard over the howls of controversy that the mainstream media seem to prefer?

Mid-week I was at Ardoyne Youth Club discussing a video Carla and Matthew are producing about a project a number of groups in the area are doing.  

Last night (Thursday) David, John, Paddy, Kevin and I were at the University Of Ulster’s Conor Hall to produce a live web stream of the first political hustings of the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections (#ae11).  Leaders of the SDLP and UUP, Margaret Ritchie and Tom Elliott along with DUP’s Peter Weir, Stephen Farry from the Alliance Party and Daithi McKay from Sinn Fein debated the Economy and had a Q&A session with an audience from the RICS who organised the event.  This wasn’t WIMPS work but Achieve Enterprises the business arm of Public Achievement.

For the passing reader I should probably explain how WIMPS, PA and AE all fit together.  But that’s for another time.

It’s Friday but the week is not over yet.  Tomorrow we are at Belfast’s Queens Film Theatre to video an event organised by CTVC.  

Loads of senior people from BBC UTV and others will be there networking with young people.  And so will WIMPS.

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