In this article I want write about my YouTube channel which I’ve had since 2007 but only started to develop properly in 2018. The main theme of the channel is cities, focusing especially on my four home cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Dublin and Berlin. I have a video planned to accompany this article, which I will present with images and videoclips from all four cities.
I’ve made a list of bullet points setting out my aims with the channel.
- Explore the theme of cities in engaging educational slide show videos.
- Focus on my four home cities of Manchester Liverpool Dublin and Berlin
- Make use my archive photos as well as new photos and videoclips.
- Explore cross-cultural themes overcoming language and geographical barriers.
- Campaign for cultural exchange and internationalism, thinking beyond national boundaries.
- Raise the slide show video to a high level with stimulating multimedia content.
- Explore further places, mainly cities but also regions near cities and tourist routes.
- Inspire others to explore the city through photography and make slide show videos.
- Cover all city-based themes: architecture, cityscapes, transport, parks, street scenes, urban development, language, accent, uniqueness, atmosphere, history, intangible, mysterious aspects.
- Encourage people to learn languages and improve their photographic knowledge.
- Produce ‘taster’ videos on aspects of language learning – leading on to my online courses
- Provide tutorials on important aspect of city photography – with further info in my online courses.
- Explore parallels and contrasts between cities in terms of architecture, transport and culture.
- Gain thousands of subscribers interested in four home cities and beyond.
- Produce a portfolio of at least 100 high quality slide show videos, plus accompanying writing and photography.
- Live the ideal of European unity and freedom of movement, bringing together four cities, three countries and two major languages.
Manchester is the city and region where I grew up and currently spend most of my time. I am base in Stockport and travel all around the North West region and further via Manchester Airport. I produced the website Eyewitness in Manchester for eight years and I’ve collaborated on books including Rebuilding Manchester, Manchester Then and Now and Around the M60, Manchester’s Orbital Motorway. I am very disappointed with the recent development of Manchester. I will continue to campaign against the destruction of heritage. Manchester is a fascinating and diverse city and region but I feel Mancunians focus too much on their own local area and not on the wider world. Abroad I don’t think Manchester has the high profile it deserves. By adopting an international focus, I hope to raise the profile of Manchester in other parts of Europe and the world.
Liverpool is the counterpoint to Manchester in North West England. I’ve visited there since I was a child and passed through it many times on my way to and from Dublin. In recent years I have adopted the city and people say I’m an ‘honorary scouser’. I am fascinated with the history and character of Liverpool and the Merseyside region. I want to use my videos to explore all aspects of the city and deepen my knowledge. There is still a lot for me to experience in Liverpool. It is a very pro-European city and has an international character. Thanks to the Beatles and other artists, Liverpool is well known around the world. I feel that any material I produce will gain a lot of interest.
Dublin is not just the capital of Ireland and the spiritual home of every person who like me has Irish roots and ancestry. I’ve visited Dublin since I was a small child and I studied Languages at Trinity College Dublin. I had a great time there. I’m fascinated with its unique character and ambience of the city and I like to keep up with Ireland via the Irish media. I know a lot about Irish history and culture and I want to share this knowledge. I think everyone in the UK should visit Dublin and the rest of Ireland because they will see a culture and outlook that’s very familiar but an alternative approach. Dublin one of the top European citybreak destinations. When I was an undergraduate at Trinity College I divided my time between Ireland and England. My ideal is to live in both countries, travelling frequently across the Irish sea, feeling equally at home in both places. Today’s internet connectivity and cheap air travel make this possible. It’s cheaper and quicker for me to get to Dublin than many parts of England. I want my videos to reflect how places seem closer together and distance is no longer a barrier.
Berlin was my home for a year when I was an undergraduate studying German and French. I was drawn to the city because of its unique geography and its position as a flashpoint between East and West. I was fascinated by the Berlin Wall, the clash of ideologies and the idea of living in a place that was literally on the edge or at the front line. I got to know all parts of West Berlin and much of East Berlin too. In Berlin I made huge progress in German language, leading to the high level, near native speaker competency I enjoy today. Since the ‘Wende’ or fall of the Wall, I’ve visited Berlin regularly as well as Leipzig and Dresden. The changes have been astonishing. Today, Berlin is a great place to live and work. Many of my students of German go back and forth there and some have gone to live there. It’s just a short plane ride away, more accessible and cheaper to get to than many other parts of England and Scotland. I would love to spend more time in Berlin and continue to explore its history and geography. As part of my German language teaching I use German-speaking media every day. Mentally I have one foot in Germany and spiritually Berlin is my other home.
I regard these four disparate and contrasting cities as my collective home and though it’s not possible for me to divide my time equally between them, I can project that ideal in my creative work.
I’m also interested in other cities I’ve visited and spent time in, especially New York, London, Hong Kong, and Manila. I felt curiously at home in Chicago. Philadelphia was good too. I spent four years in Abu Dhabi, often visiting Dubai. I love Tokyo and wish I could go there regularly. Paris and Amsterdam are great, though I spend little time there now. Vienna is city I have connections with through friends. I’d love to visit Oslo, Sydney, Beijing, Cape Town, Stockholm, Moscow and many other places. As I visit and revisit other cities I hope to do slide show photo features on them.
Though my interests are wide, I’ve always held a fascination for cities, language, visual art, music, writing and the spoken word. These elements are now brought together in my video portfolio and I hope that I can steadily build it up and project my knowledge, enthusiasm and campaigning views to as wide an audience as possible.