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

Asian Media Awards 2015

Thursday 29th October 2015. Destination Manchester.

Cambridge to Deansgate… journey time approximately 4.5 hours? Yes, it was VERY long and there was an eleven minute delay leaving from London Euston, which had a knock-on effect for the rest of the journey. Despite that, I arrived at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel on time and looked forward to what was expected to be an enjoyable and memorable evening. What a venue. Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend the night there, but I did get a nice view from the top floor…

Ibrahim's view from the top floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel - the venue for the Asian Media Awards 2015
Ibrahim’s view from the top floor of the Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel – the venue for the Asian Media Awards 2015

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was one of five finalists shortlisted under the Regional Journalist of the Year category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. Below is my profile, published in page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure. Every finalist had their own profile too.

Ibrahim's Profile - page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure
Ibrahim’s profile – page 53 of the Asian Media Awards 2015 brochure

The winner was Sangeeta Bhabra, presenter of ITV Meridian News. Congratulations to Sangeeta for winning the award!

My interest in broadcasting started four years ago when I was invited for a live interview, representing my university’s Islamic Society on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire‘s Sunday Breakfast show. Despite being incredibly nervous and unprepared for it, I enjoyed the experience and was really keen to do more! Since then, I have reported about Ramadan, the Hajj, and both Eid celebrations in Cambridge. I am currently presenting a sports show every Saturday from 2-5pm on Cambridge 105.

It wasn’t that long ago when my short film Ramadan Roundup 4 was nominated for a national film award, so I’m really humbled and privileged to have been chosen as a finalist under a brand-new category at this year’s Asian Media Awards. It was also a real pleasure to see familiar and new faces on the night. One of them being up-and-coming comedian Guz Khan, also known as Guzzy Bear! He used to be a teacher I think…

Comedian Guz Khan (left) with Ibrahim Rahman
Comedian Guz Khan (left) with Ibrahim

Finally, I want to thank you all for your amazing support. It really means a lot. Huge thanks to my family and friends, especially to Raza Amode for coming along to the event.

All praise is to Allah and all success is from Him.

Ibrahim’s Double Header

No. This is not about football. I did not head the ball twice. I’m not very good in the air anyway. Tell you what, Luis Suarez’s header from outside the area against West Bromwich Albion wasn’t half bad…

Following on from my last report about the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Cambridge almost three months ago, I returned last month to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s Sunday Breakfast Show, interviewing Cambridge pilgrims who previously made the journey to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj (pilgrimage). My report was aired during the Hajj period on 13th October 2013. Two days later, I visited Kelsey Kerridge Sports Hall in Cambridge to report about this year’s Eid-ul-Adha celebrations.  This clip was broadcast on Sunday 20th October 2013.

You can listen to both of my reports again on the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire website, or you can access them directly by visiting the links below.

Hajj Journeys:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jqf3h

Eid-ul-Adha Celebrations:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01jzghq

I was really happy with both reports and would like to thank all my guests for their contributions. It was a fantastic experience and I really enjoyed it! Massive thanks to Heather Noble, Suzie Roberts and the rest of the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire team for giving me this wonderful opportunity. 

Lascar: Cambridge Book Launch

I am delighted to announce that I have created a new video! If you’re wondering what this is all about, I would advise two things:
1) Read my blog post Lascar to find out more information. I wrote this back in May 2012, but it will give you an idea of how my mother’s novel was promoted before publication. Basically, this is some light-hearted background reading. Completely optional too.
2) Just watch the video. Enjoy the show!

Graduation

Tuesday 9th October 2012. A date that was pencilled long ago in the diaries of many graduands from Anglia Ruskin University. I was one of them.
It was a magnificent day. A memorable occasion. My graduation ceremony began at 6pm at the Cambridge Corn Exchange, witnessed by a buoyant audience comprising of family relatives and friends, who were all looking forward to the special moment that they would treasure for the rest of their lives.
The title of my course was announced. I was in a buzzing queue of graduands, standing at the bottom of a short flight of stairs that led towards the stage. Professor Michael Thorne, the Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, stood tall and gallant in his dashing robes at the centre of the stage, ready to greet and congratualate every student.
My moment had arrived. “IBRAHIM HAMZAH RAHMAN.” My name was announced and was met with applause, as I briskly walked across the stage with a beaming smile and shook hands with the Vice Chancellor. Those were the steps that confirmed I had successfully carried out the journey from graduand to graduate. It was a journey that was visibly observed by my mother, father, grandmother and uncle, all who were sitting in the audience on that momentous evening.
After three long years of study and hard work, one thing was certain. It was so worth it.

UPDATE – The Latest Movie

OK, I think the time has come for me to reveal the name of my latest project. I’ve kept people waiting for too long, so here is the icebreaker. Check out the trailer! Also, this is my first ever video I’ve made in HD, so watch the trailer in HD to experience the true quality of the video.
Coming soon? How soon? All in good time, this is only the first trailer of many for this movie. You’re not going to get bored too quickly now…