Our Digital Marketing Exec, Zoe has been finding some hidden gems for us, over on Instagram.
The upcoming Staffordshire Files Podcast is just one of the inspired projects happening in and around Stafford, read on to find out more.
So, to start us off, can tell us your name(s), how old you are and where you’re based?
My name is Katie, I’m 25 years old and living in Newcastle-under-Lyme with my husband and our ridiculous 3 year old spaniel.
Can you describe your project in one sentence?
The podcast is actually quite selfish – I’m attempting to flesh out my own understanding of the varied life experiences of the people who live in the Staffordshire.
When did you start your project and what made you begin?
The idea for the podcast came about in the first lockdown – my husband and I spent it with back home with our parents. We quickly realised we knew the neighbours of our childhood homes but we didn’t even know the name of our own next door neighbour! It seemed completely ridiculous! I found out in the early stages of developing the podcast that – surprise, surprise – people are interesting! Putting the conversations I have with these individuals in a podcast lets a listener understand what I quickly learned – our neighbours are important and have rich, fulfilling lives and we can connect with each other, despite lockdown restrictions.
How has lockdown affected your project? What’s been good about it? What’s been bad?
It has become so clear to me that before lockdown, any spare time I had was wasted in binging a box set or napping to recover from being stressed all the time. Whilst the pandemic and subsequent lockdown has brought horrific levels of anxiety to my family, and every other person in the world, I’ve been trying to teach myself to be still. I found a Mary Oliver poem at the beginning of lockdown that has been my often repeated mantra (it’s called ‘Today’, definitely check it out if you need to be convinced to rest!) It took a long time to not be guilty about dedicating spare time to me and what I wanted to do.
What has been the most exciting part or event since starting your project?
We are our own worst critics – I’ve been sitting on this idea since April but have talked myself out of it every time I tried to start. Setting up the Instagram page and getting supportive messages just completely floored me! It was nice to know that people wanted connections with their local area, whether they’re born and bred Stokies or have recently emigrated from Timbuktu. Social media puts such a buffer on our connections – podcasts allow a little more closeness. You can hear an accent or a silly laugh – stuff you can’t put in an Instagram post.
What is something you wish you could go back and change, or something you wish you had known when you first started out?
This process has been so encouraging – I’m connecting with the people that make our local area alive and my only regret is that I didn’t crack on with the podcast sooner.
What has been your favourite interview so far and why?
I couldn’t possibly say! They’re all so varied and different. I’ve gained things from each conversation too, insights into things I want to know about, things I want to see or do, things I want to develop in myself. (I did warn you that the podcast is a selfish endeavour!)
What is your least favourite aspect of doing this project?
I completely detest the sound of my own voice! And I do wish I could be meeting people face to face…. I suppose it is just something we can look forward to when things get less infectious.
What are your future plans for the project?
Sounds crackers, but I have no idea. I’m really enjoying it so I hope it will be able to continue! We have an extensive supply of people in Staffordshire who have incredible things to say – who knows how long this will go on for!
Do you have any advice for others thinking of starting or just starting their own projects?
Honestly, just crack on! What’s the worst that could happen? If something doesn’t take off, then you just get to refocus, re-jig things until it does work for you. You’ll never know if something’s worth trying until you try it.
What question do you wish I had asked you and why?
I love asking people what they’re having for tea! Everyone loves talking about food and if you’re having something nice for tea that night, you’re just buzzed about! Tonight we’re celebrating the start of getting ready for Christmas with a good takeaway.
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