Dream Catchers. You don’t need to imagine the world you want it to be; it’s...

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My next Masterclass starts with a simple premise. “Ms Smith, what is it you want to be?” It’s a question many of us have entertained, and sometimes stumbled answering.

I did. I could have easily tanked my degree. I didn’t but my lecturers gave me a new lease of life. We’re going to let you sit that paper again. University was an experience and I was making sure I sucked the air out of it.

If Dr West ever stumbles upon this post, he might be as surprised as I am what his support meant for me. I desperately wanted to become a journalist, but how? I could barely write, had no contacts in the industry, no leg in, but I harboured a latent dream.

There was enough support around me for me to stay in that dream land before the realities and hardships were so unbearable you had to wake up. “What reality are you living in?” could easily be the refrain.

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All of us are dream catchers, but the second career I entered like René Magritte’s “This is not a pipe” prompted a meta way of thinking. For many teachers, lecturers and educationists, they can’t simply be captured by their explicit title. They are dream catchers.

In the many years since that degree in Chemistry and Maths, I’ve lived in my dreams. I still am, but I recognise how important it is to share my experiences: Syrian border, South Africa, Egypt, Ghana during its coup-ridden days. We got to launch radio programmes, tv stations, and build net companies. I’ve recently unearthed archives of a BBC radio show I presented in the early nineties.

2020 — Reset the Dial

2020 onwards, Freudian II — a globally disruptive pandemic, governments who would let people die to hang on to their agendas, a workplace destroyed that needs re-building into something new… we need to dream bigger. Not in the cuckooed, or rent a quote fashion, but that which thinks beyonds synchronic thinking.

Psychologists know it works; it’s the ethereal world where they ply their trade — the mind. They know purpose can drive people to do many things. They know failure is part of the learning process. They know persistence, and help from friends and family increase your chances of achieving your dreams.

In the analogue world, such labels might do: lectures, but in a world of online, literally some form of Matrix, this is metaphysical. We are Communication experts. We are entrepreneurs. We are artists. We are, re-imagining Magritte’s Dream Catchers.

Why it’s important?

Since 2000 there have been three disruptive points. In 2000 there was the first dotcom. I lived through it in Soho as a launch editor for a dotcom which is today one of the biggest online charity earners in the world. Some dream, the owners had?

A university student trying to make his way through university came up with one of the most stupidest idea ever. That’s what a lot of people thought. His dream was to sell one pixel on his website for one dollar. It would never work. It did. he made a tidy sum.

Digital Past

In 2006, with the birth of Youtube, and Facebook coming into its own an international collapse of the economy loomed. The second disruption, sparked though Fannie Mae and the estate bubble rip off ( watch the Big Short) was nigh. Soon afterwards a video would be released that caught the zeitgeist.

Did you Know, “The Top ten in demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004. We’re currently training students for jobs that don’t exist yet”, it said. Some of those jobs included:

  • Podcast Producer
  • Social Media Manager. (the job existed in some guise but was about to become an art form)
  • Big Data Scientists ( the job already existed but it was about become universal).
  • SEO Specialist
  • App Developer/ Designer
  • Uber Driver.
  • Driverless Car Engineer
  • Blogger

In that period whilst lecturing and as a practitioner I caught my own dreams: A global award for innovation in journalism from Knight Batten, an international videojournalism award for a film I made from training the Press Association’s first newspaper journalists to carry videos, and then gaining my doctorate.

The latter rolled several disciplines under one title; in effect how could journalists be cinema makers. It’s a feat that combines several disciplines and expertise in communication.

Change is Needed

Then 2020 happened. Dream catching in this nightmare of nightmares is real. It’s a multi-tasked operation bringing several cogs together. It’s envisioning the world in 2025 when we’ve no idea how to navigate the present. For many in this space educating others, they’re not only educationists, they’re job agents, mentors, communications experts, diversity champions. They’re Dream Catchers.

Take this recent announcement in the Guardian by Dyson. Dyson estimates there is a shortfall of 60,000 engineers in the UK, so what does it do? It builds its own Uni programme, where they pay the students, much like an apprenticeship. And it’s awarding its own degrees.

In media and programme making, dream catching continues. All white crews in a multi-racial society are the analogue of thinking. The new BBC director general Tim Davie has raised the spectre of this changing writes Marcus Ryder MBE.

The idea of a being a billionaire might have been fantastic as an aspiration in the analogue world, but now in the face of millions out of work, in the face of governments struggling to stretch finances, it’s past time to think differently.

Football and sports playing without spectators in stadia has provided a new challenge for athletes used to soaring chants to egg them on. It’s also been a new challenge for its financiers charging game viewing 25UKP. This requires dream catchers.

In news and journalism, operations will require new thinking. Pop up studios, lecturers as YouTubists, a psychology of words and images entertained like no other time, and a way of creating stories that takes account of the disinformation the world has witnessed in the last five years alone.

What I asked the question would happen if you gave a camera to an indie-Hollywood filmmaker? You’d come across people like Raul — a cinema journalist. What and how do you push the limits of factual storytelling. You get a film like Clive Myrie’s Covid-19 set of films.

Freud made us examine our dreams for the latent nightmares and sexual overtones. Now we need to look into our dreams to find a way out. It’s no wonder psychologists are in demand. Day dreaming is encouraged

Watching a superb documentary yesterday about the life of singer Teddy Pendergrass, one line caught my attention. Pendergrass, a phenomenal singer, was paralysed from a car accident. He was slowly rehabilitated and sang at Live Aid. “We need to show those whipper snappers the greatness of this man”, says Valerie Simpson of Ashford and Simpson fame says. Dreams are not just about the future but being cognisant of the past.

When I was young my sisters and used to tease our dad that he looked like Teddy P. He couldn’t sing, but could turn a few heads like my mum too looking on lovingly after after years of marriage.

He used to say dream big. No truer words now the state we’re in. Dreams supported by direction.

Written by

Top Writer & Creative Technologist, Int. Award Winner. Cinemajournalist. Cardiff Uni @jomec. PhD (Dublin). Visiting Prof UBC, Ex BBC/C4News. Apple profiled.

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