Ibrahim’s Review of 2016

I’m back! My first blog post of 2016! Let’s do the Sturridge…

Liverpool FC striker Daniel Sturridge is in the groove

Wait… what? Oh yes… I haven’t blogged all year. Oops. Sorry everyone. My ONLY blog post of 2016.

Technically that isn’t true though, I did write one blog post this year. It just wasn’t published on my website. More on that later…

I’ve got to say, 2016 has not been easy for me. It’s been a difficult year but on reflection there have been some great highlights to share, and I am determined to make my eighth review a positive one. It was a bright start to the year with the news that I had been shortlisted under the Services to Media category for the British Muslim Awards 2016. The awards ceremony took place on a cold evening in Birmingham where I lost out to BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan, but I was up against many tough opponents in my category. Excuse the footballing analogy but it was like being a newly-promoted team in the Premier League for the first time, and you’re just happy to be there knowing you’re probably going to get relegated anyway… or somehow you’ll find a way to stay up! Analogies aside, that night in January was a memorable occasion and it was an honour to even have been shortlisted under this fiercely contested category. Well done Noreen for claiming the award, you fully deserved it!

Ibrahim with BBC Asian Network presenter and award-winner Noreen Khan

A month later, I left my presenting role at Cambridge 105 to join LB24tv, an online British Bangladeshi TV network based in East London. From February to September, I presented Youth Corner – a web series chat show for the youth. The aims of the programme were to showcase the achievements of emerging talent, providing a platform for guests to share their experiences and inspiring stories, and discuss topics that are important to them. It was great to gain TV presenting experience but I particularly enjoyed meeting guests and getting to know them. It felt rewarding to introduce fresh new faces and offer them a platform, considering how the majority of Bangladeshi media outlets I’ve come across, seem to frequently promote the same people and do not provide other hard-working and talented individuals a chance. Many thanks to Abu Ali, Cháyya Syal, Mizan RahmanShuhel Ahmed, Amira HaqueSafwaan ChoudhuryHalima Khanom, Uzma Chaudhry, Carl Francis, Mohima Ahmed, Sharmin Yousuf, and Sayful Alam for all being part of the show! Special thanks to the LB24tv production team for giving me the opportunity to present the show too!

Ibrahim presents the chat show web series “Youth Corner” for LB24tv
The guests (top-left to bottom-right): Abu Ali, Cháyya Syal, Mizan Rahman, Shuhel Ahmed; Amira Haque, Safwaan Choudhury, Halima Khanom, Uzma Chaudhry; Carl Francis, Mohima Ahmed, Sharmin Yousuf, Sayful Alam

My experiences with presenting Youth Corner inspired me to publish my first-ever article as a blogger for the Huffington Post in October, focusing on my utilisation of digital media to engage and empower the youth within the British Bangladeshi community. Massive thanks to Abu Ali, Amira Haque and Shuhel Ahmed for your valuable contributions!

I left LB24tv in September to undertake a TV production course every Saturday at the Cambridge TV School for nine weeks. It was fantastic! What impressed me the most about the course was how much of the work was practical. It was very much hands-on. From the very beginning we were testing out the TV cameras, filming at various locations in Cambridge, presenting and interviewing contributors in the Cambridge TV studio, and editing our captured video footage. I did a fair amount of presenting over those two months as well – the autocue was great fun to mess around with! It was a real pleasure to work with so many awesome people throughout the course, and I would like to thank everyone involved (staff and students) at the school for their amazing support and enthusiasm. I hope we get opportunities to collaborate again soon and I wish you all the best with your future endeavours!

Ibrahim presents “Behind the Brush” for Cambridge TV, a show that explores the work of Cambridge artists

I also managed to sandwich a TV appearance on The Daily Show with Joseph & Salma, a magazine lifestyle series chat show hosted by Joseph and Salma Hayat, on British Muslim TV (Sky 845). In November, I joined the couple in their fancy-looking studio by the London Docklands to talk about how I was engaging and empowering the youth through my work using digital media, drawing some parallels to what I wrote in my blog for the Huffington Post. Thank you Joseph and Salma for having me on your show! That round table changes colour by the way. Thought it was pretty cool…

Ibrahim appears on British Muslim TV’s “The Daily Show with Joseph and Salma”

And finally, I found out almost a couple of weeks ago that I had been shortlisted as a finalist in the Services to Creativity and Technology category at the British Muslim Awards 2017! The awards ceremony will take place next month at the Athena in Leicester. Yes, Leicester – the home of the 2015/16 Premier League Champions. Unbelievable, but what an achievement. Anyway, next year looks like it’s already off to a good start…

Oh yes, what’s happening with Ramadan Roundup? I’ve had a lot to do recently and as you can see, there hasn’t been a new episode in the series since 2014. The timing just hasn’t been right for me yet, but let’s see what happens next year. As it stands, I do believe there is at least one more episode to produce. It’s just a matter of making time. As my filmmaking friend Shuhel Ahmed will tell you, even work on his upcoming superhero comedy web series Classified Freaks has stalled in recent months, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait. I’m really looking forward to watching it!

And that’s pretty much it for this year. I leave you with an inspirational quote from Mufti Ismail Menk…

“The road of life doesn’t allow you to travel backwards. Keep going. There’s a reason for everything. You may not see it now; just trust!”

As always, thank you all so much for your support and kindness, and for following my adventures in 2016. I hope things look up for us in 2017. Best wishes to you all.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Why Am I Using Digital Media To Engage And Empower The Youth Within The British Bangladeshi Community?

Technology. It’s a wonderful thing. A source of fascination to me since childhood. Well, since my nursery school days to be precise. Two decades later, I’m using digital media to engage and interact with emerging young talent.

So, how did it all start?

As an energetic and inquisitive three-year-old, I was totally in awe of my uncle’s computer system. The thunderous tapping of the keyboard and incessant clicking of the mouse were as amazing to listen to as they were to watch. MS-DOS was mind-blowing. You could press a few buttons and make things happen. It looked like so much fun that I wanted to have a go too! Before I knew it, I had successfully repaired my nursery school’s computer. Shutdown and reboot; sorted. Back to joining the class and learning more nursery rhymes, but this was only the beginning of my journey into the world of digital technology and it went on to affect me in ways I never dreamed of.

My burgeoning interests in this domain diverted me towards media, after somehow navigating a path into my family’s video equipment and editing software. I have retained a strong interest in video production ever since I was at primary school. Since then, I have created a short film series with one episode that was shortlisted for a national film award, and I have reported and presented for radio and online TV, catering to varied audiences and working with diverse content.

This takes me to social media, a powerful and dynamic tool that has rapidly evolved over the last decade and continues to influence the lives of many. Over the last five years, it has enabled me to utilise various digital platforms to connect and positively engage with the youth through my own networks. Every day during Ramadan this year, I used Facebook’s livestream feature to share my experiences and initiate discussions over a range of topics such as food, Euro 2016 and the result of the EU Referendum. I received positive reactions and comments from my viewers. I did not know anyone else from my hometown, Cambridge, who was doing this during the month – it was about offering a different alternative that people within my locality could interact with and look forward to.

In contrast, social media has also been a region of personal disappointment and frustration, knowing there are young and talented individuals who do exist and are not receiving the credit they deserve – particularly within the Asian communities. I wanted to address this and numerous issues involving the youth throughout the British Bangladeshi community.

Presenting the chat show web series Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)
Presenting the chat show web series Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)

A British Bangladeshi online TV network offered me the opportunity to present a chat show web series called Youth Corner. The aims of the series were to highlight the achievements of young and emerging talent in various fields, providing a platform for guests to share their experiences and inspiring stories, and discuss topics relevant to them such as education, career development and much more. It has so far reached tens of thousands of users via Facebook, numbers that are increasing on a daily basis.

Abu Ali, a Clinical Data Manager from North London, was my first-ever guest of the series. “I was delighted to be the first guest,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to explain to the younger community what opportunities you have, how you can achieve them and make a difference. It also led to presenting a new show myself, so I can be grateful to Youth Corner for that!”

Abu Ali, a Clinical Data Manager, was the first guest to appear on Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)
Abu Ali, a Clinical Data Manager, was the first guest to appear on Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)

Amira Haque, a midwifery student from the University of the West of Scotland was a guest on Youth Corner. “The series is a fantastic initiative that exhibits the work and skills of lesser-known people,” she explained. “It inspires young people to do good and succeed in their respective fields, showing that success isn’t all about becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer.”

Amira Haque, a midwifery student, was crowned Young Person of the Year for Cambridgeshire in 2015 (Photo credit: LB24tv)
Amira Haque, a midwifery student, was crowned Young Person of the Year for Cambridgeshire in 2015 (Photo credit: LB24tv)

Shuhel Ahmed, an East London-based filmmaker, was another to make an appearance on my show and explained the challenges he has faced with his work. “When this opportunity arose, I felt this was my best chance to express and discuss why I love what I do,” he said. “It gave me conviction and belief that my work is getting noticed, and that all those hard long hours working away does really pay off. Appearing on Youth Corner allowed me to demonstrate to my family and friends that it is possible to achieve success in this industry.”

Shuhel Ahmed, a filmmaker from East London, talked about his upcoming short film series for the first time on Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)
Shuhel Ahmed, a filmmaker from East London, talked about his upcoming short film series for the first time on Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)

From my own personal experiences and what I have seen within my own community, it is clear to me that young talent is in abundance, but what concerns me is the lack of media platforms out there supporting them. Many Bangladeshi media outlets I have come across seem to promote the same faces time and again and I feel it is dispiriting for those hard-working individuals who are desperate to make a breakthrough, but get overlooked.

Youth Corner enabled guests to feel empowered, instilling them with confidence and the belief that their work and achievements are being recognised and appreciated. Through Youth Corner, I have been able to network with young people from different walks of life and it has been a great learning experience for me.

I am especially grateful that I was given an opportunity to present my own show, but also to focus on issues that I am passionate about. The youth is the next generation and will ultimately be the ones who lead us into the future. There is still so much work to be done, but my recent encounters have filled me with optimism and belief that digital media can make a significant contribution, particularly for the youth. Attitudes within the British Bangladeshi community are changing steadily and this is encouraging.

It’s all work in progress.


Source: Huffington Post UK
Date of Publication: 17th October 2016
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ibrahim-rahman/why-am-i-using-digital-me_b_12457820.html