CITiZAN Community Archaeologist Grant Bettinson joined us alongside his team in July, for an adventure into the creative world of content creation during our Online Public Engagement for an Increasingly Digital World course. Find out what he discovered here...

Oliver and Lawrence (CITiZAN SE) practice their extreme close ups

On July 4th the entirety of the CITiZAN team, alongside the keen beans from the NAS volunteers, with just a dash of staff from the Thames Discovery Programme, all descended on the home of the NAS; Fort Cumberland.

We had all gathered to be the first participants (guinea pigs!) for the new NAS course “Online public engagement for an increasingly digital world”. The group was a mixture of professionals and volunteers ranging from early 20s to late 60s, some more tech savvy then others, with vastly different experiences in content creation.

This ramshackle group of divas, divers and directors channelled our inner Kubricks and Kardashians for the day as we strove to answer the question - how do we make people care through content? Then, more importantly, how do we make it? And make it well?

Course participants creating their target audience 'avatars'

So instead of watching aliens blow up the White House in a 90s movie epic, I found myself in a room with this strange cross-section of maritime archaeology. The reason being is that as human beings we are very aware that we live in a content driven world and the best chance we have of communicating our message is through high quality content across as many platforms, sites and screens as possible.

Enter, Charlotte (NAS’s Chief Content Conjuror) who led the course.

Through alternating exercises and talks, we discussed the social psychology of advertising, what works and what doesn’t work with content creation, who our audience is and what methods we use to define that audience.

There was a definite emphasis on the need to get creative!

Archaeologists are a weird and wonderful lot. This group was no exception, with ideas ranging from talking spoons to personified crustaceans and finally to cows smoking on park benches (playing to regional stereotypes).

'Graffiti at Fort Cumberland' by the CITiZAN North team’s Sam Griffiths, Chris Kolonko, and Prof. Derek Spoonfaceson.

So once we had our strange ideas, we went through how to take the shots, how to conduct interviews, what angles you should take and getting Charlotte’s tips and tricks on what she uses to get the best possible results.

Then armed with our smart phones, we scaled the ramparts of the fort to create our content, taking interviews from one another and recording the various shots we needed. The day concluded with a small editing session and a show-and-tell of what we had created. And then we were let loose on the world to apply what we had learned.

The NAS Online Public Engagement Course is now open to the public and is a must for anyone interested in gaining further experience of creating social media content to support heritage projects. I look forward to putting into practice the training Charlotte and the NAS provided and we hope we do it justice in the content we create.

Course participants practicing their creative shots

To read the CITiZAN's team blog about their experience, click here.

To learn more about this course, and book your space, see our upcoming events here.

Have your own story to tell? Learn about writing for us here.