Digital Changemaker Finalist: John Popham
Years in service: 3.5
Organisation: Civic Story Factory
Position in the organisation: late Chief Executive
Nominating organisation: Pauline Roche
WORK EXPERIENCE AND CONTRIBUTION TO DIGITAL INCLUSION/EMPOWERMENT
In John’s own words before his death in Sept 2020: “Civic Storyteller, Social Entrepreneur and "20th Most Influential Person in the World on Digital Inclusion".
I have pioneered the use of Digital Storytelling for non-profit organisations to tell their stories to raise their issues on the national agenda, and change public perceptions of the clients they work with. I have a national reputation as at the leading edge of working with social media and new technologies in (principally) the non-profit sectors. I achieved a major international profile in 2011, when, I arranged the first ever live broadcast of a village cricket match (#twicket). This achieved widespread media coverage, including a 30 minute interview on Radio New Zealand. In 2014 I was voted 2nd in both 24 Housing Magazine's list of UK Housing Digital PowerPlayers, and The Guardian's list of best tweeters on Digital Inclusion”.
LEADERSHIP, COOPERATION, RESOURCE MOBILISATION
John worked with lots of organisations to help clients tell their stories, help clinicians and other professionals understand the need for storytelling, and to raise staff digital skills. He worked with patients' groups both to increase their levels of digital skills and to help them tell the world what it is like living with their conditions and document their treatment regimes. He was recognised as a leading practitioner in working with older people to break down their resistance to new technologies and to help them use digital tools to improve their health and wellbeing. He was developing an initiative to encourage people living with long term health conditions to keep video diaries. He ran AgeCamp, 1st unconference for people working with older adults. He ran the Campaign for Free Wifi for Hospital Patients for more than 10 years. He practiced what he preached and used social media and digital tools in daily life to document his work and other aspects of his life e.g. Dr Tech Show.
Digital Storytelling: While everything John did was underpinned by Digital Storytelling, he ran some particular projects, initiatives, and training sessions specifically focused on how to tell stories using digital tools:
Digital Inclusion: He was passionate about the power of the internet to improve people’s lives and worked hard to make sure all people can benefit; Rural Broadband: helped engage and mobilise communities in rural areas to secure better broadband provision;
Urban Broadband : helped engage communities and businesses in measures to improve broadband connectivity in towns and cities; and Live Internet Broadcasting: he was Chief Executive of Citizens’ Interactive Broadcasting, a not-for-profit company which specialised in live, online video broadcasting of events, and trained others to do this for themselves. John was one of 3 people who were the first visitors ever to be allowed to use social media from within 10 Downing Street.
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