|Liz and me after the performance :)|
Friday, 26 April 2013
A few weeks ago, fellow speech and language therapist, Liz Panton, asked me if I would like to attend an open mic spot at Bar Loco, Newcastle to promote Giving Voice. I agreed to attend and prepared a short speech about the campaign. Liz planned to perform her Giving Voice song on her ukulele followed by a little talk from me. Liz also asked me to take my own ukulele along and the Left Hand Stairs Uke group also played the song.
I arrived feeling slightly nervous as I hadn’t been to Bar Loco previously and my uke hadn’t been out of its case in over a year! Once Liz arrived we started setting up as we were on first. Liz introduced us and sang the song and we played along on our uke’s with her. The audience looked quite interested and I was looking forward to sharing some information about the campaign. Once Liz finished the song I spoke for a minute or two about who I am and what Giving Voice is. I planned to say more than I did, but kept it a little shorter, due to a mixture of nerves and keeping the audience interested. I told them I had leaflets and pens if anyone wanted to find out more about Giving Voice.
Liz then told people how they could find out more on twitter (#GivingVoiceUK) and also explained that Newcastle students are participating in ‘No Voice week’ this week (@DVoiced) Find out more about what they have been up to by reading their brilliant blog here!
Thanks to my boyfriend Si for taking the photos :-)
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives
Friday, 12 April 2013
I’d like to welcome a guest blogger to my blog today. Poppy Welsh is a final year student at Newcastle University and in this blog she explains how she helped organize a brilliant Giving Voice Harlem Shake...
Hello, I’m Poppy, and in this blog I’d like to tell you how Sophie Herbert, my housemate and fellow SLT student, and I, created the first Giving Voice Harlem Shake which has so far been viewed by over 3,700 people.
In February 2013 we had an inspirational talk from RCSLT about applying for jobs and encouraging us to participate in the Giving Voice campaign. We were inspired by the success students at other universities had experienced for the campaign - most of all Queen Margaret University who have achieved an impressive 10,000+ views for their Call Me Maybe parody using AAC – and wanted to organise something ourselves!
The Newcastle students put our heads together and started to think about what we could do. At the same time, cyber space was being bombarded with videos of various renditions of the “Harlem Shake”; a somewhat mysterious song which, like many internet phenomena appeared to come out of nowhere! I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for Newcastle students to ‘Give Voice’.
With most Harlem Shakes only 30 seconds long it seemed perfect for a flashmob-type way of raising awareness of the campaign.
|King George VI Building, Newcastle University|
There was a great response from Newcastle students about this idea and we really wanted to get it done as soon as possible: mostly while the Harlem Shake was still on trend, but there was the additional factor of wanting to create a Giving Voice Harlem Shake before another university beat us to it! So we made a facebook event, booked a lecture theatre within the appropriately named King George VI building where Speech and Language Therapy is based, and encouraged SLT students to take part. We asked people to bring as many items of fancy dress items as possible (preferably pink, the Giving Voice colour), and also to make Giving Voice style speech bubbles with short SLT-related words or phrases which would show up on the video. We also informed all the staff in the department of what we were doing, and invited them along.
The day itself went really well; although Sophie and I carrying a Space Hopper and loads of posters/speech bubbles down a busy main road was interesting! Plenty of students turned up and many students had put a lot of effort into their fancy dress and speech bubbles. Some of the words included on the speech bubbles were “PECS”, “STROKE”, “NEONATAL”, “AAC” and many more.
The idea behind the Harlem Shake is pretty simple. The “original” dancer must be wearing some sort of mask (so as a keen scuba diver, I donned my wetsuit, fins, mask and snorkel!) and should dance completely alone and ignored for the first section of the video. During this time, the other students were sat at the desks reading books (including dysphagia, aphasia, and phonetics) and copies of the Bulletin. The filming was then stopped and all the other students got changed into their fancy dress. When filming restarted, everyone danced and waved their speech bubbles around. We had some great costumes, including a pirate, an 80s raver, and Sophie the space-hopping golfer! It took a couple of goes before we had the perfect video, but in the end we were all very pleased with the final result.
Luckily I have fairly good editing skills and Sophie and I had our video edited, captioned and published on YouTube less than two hours after filming. We decided to keep the video as short a possible hoping it would have a greater impact when viewed, so referred people to www.givingvoiceuk.org if they wanted to find out more. But creating the video was the easy part; the biggest challenge was ensuring the video was seen by as many people as possible to raise awareness of the campaign.
We shared the video in a number of different ways. All Newcastle SLT students (not just those who participated) were asked to share the video with their families, friends, colleagues, Clinical Educators (past and present), and as many other people they could think of. We also shared the video on facebook and twitter including Newcastle University facebook groups; as well as SLT-related companies and charities who we are very grateful to for sharing the video. We then watched as the view count quickly grew from 0 to 1000 just a few hours after publishing, getting excited every time the view count hit another milestone!
We also informed RCSLT of our video and we were very proud when they chose to show it as part of the “What’s next for your campaign?” talk by Ele Buckley and Emma Barnes at the 2013 National Student Day: it wasn’t easy resisting dancing around in the lecture theatre as we had done in the video!
It was difficult not to feel competitive when other universities created Giving Voice Harlem Shake videos. But what was easy to remember was the whole point of the video: to raise awareness of Giving Voice. In total, all the Giving Voice Harlem Shakes have had almost 8,000 views (with Newcastle’s version accounting for over 40% of these!), and we’re proud that we have been able to have some sort of impact on the campaign. We hope that Newcastle University Speech and Language Sciences students continue to have and enjoy active involvement in the campaign.
Our advice for other students hoping to raise awareness in a similar way is don’t be shy, be imaginative, and make the most of social media to publicise what you have done. But most of all (as with every other aspect of Speech and Language Therapy!), teamwork is essential! We couldn’t have made the video, let alone reached 3,700+ views without the help of all the students who participated.
Hope you enjoyed reading, if you haven’t already, please watch and share our video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6YcN-E_0bg
Poppy Welsh (on behalf of all the Newcastle University SLT Harlem Shakers!)
Well done Newcastle (and all the other students who have created a Harlem Shake video to promote Giving Voice!)
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives
Friday, 29 March 2013
Some of the wonderful students at Newcastle University are organising a no voice week which coincides with the national campaign starting on the 22/04/2013. They are going to use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) to communicate in various contexts where communication is required such as going out for a drink, going to a restaurant, answering questions in lectures.
If you want to find out more about the fantastic awareness raising opportunity check out their blog http://aacawareness.wordpress.com/ and follow them on twitter @DVoiced and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DVoiced?fref=ts
I think this is a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness of Giving Voice and AAC and it’s great that Newcastle students are getting involved. I know I am looking forward to reading their updates and hearing how they get on!
Hope you all have a wonderful Easter! Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives.
Sunday, 24 March 2013
When I heard that Giving Voice Celebrity Ambassador of the Year (2012), Lost Voice Guy, was going to be dressing as Lost Voice Girl for Comic Relief I knew I had to go! I booked tickets online for my friend and I and was excited for my first trip to The Stand, Newcastle. We were both wearing pink jeans and our Giving Voice badges to support GV, and Lee on the night!
For those of you who don’t know, Lost Voice Guy is a stand up comedian who uses a communication aid for his voice, as he has cerebral palsy and is unable to speak. I’ve seen him a number of times and he always gets the audience laughing. I was really looking forward to seeing him dress as a woman in aid of Comic Relief.
|Rach and her meat!|
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
As you are probably aware, myself and NETA (North East Trust for Aphasia) were unable to make it to the Giving Voice awards ceremony back in November due to cancelled trains. L Still wanting to celebrate our success, we decided to hold our very own Giving Voice awards in Newcastle.
We began planning this event at the beginning of the year and it was held at Newcastle University last Thursday, 7th March. Some of the members of the North East Trust for Aphasia have been attending a choir at The Sage, Gateshead and the Giving Voice celebration was an opportunity for them to perform together for an audience.
Due to popular demand for tickets to attend this celebration event, the programme was run across two rooms (as one room wasn’t big enough!) to ensure everyone who wanted to could attend. The programme of events included an introduction from Janet Speight (chair of NETA), a live performance from the NETA choir, live flute playing, a talk from me about Giving Voice and some videos showing what NETA does. Following the exciting programme, tea, coffee and cake were served across both rooms with opportunity for everyone to mingle and have a chat.
The choir were brilliant and the whole afternoon was wonderful. I got a little nervous before I arrived, knowing that I needed to make my (10 minute) speech twice, but once there, my nerves began to turn to excitement.
Both times my speech followed the welcome speech from Janet Speight and it was my absolute pleasure to talk about Giving Voice and why I nominated NETA for their well deserved award. Talking in front of an audience always make me more aware of my own communication, and I am always reminded that it is something I frequently take for granted. Being surrounded by people who have aphasia, yet still communicate to the best of their ability was truly inspirational. Janet talked about how her Speech and Language Therapist helped her to find her voice again after her stroke, and acknowledged that this is a similar story for many of the NETA members. The whole afternoon made me so proud of the SLT profession and there were a couple of occasions I found myself with teary eyes, as I was so honoured to be part of such a wonderful celebration.
Following my talk about Giving Voice (which seemed to go down quite well with both audiences), we moved onto the presentation of awards. I was absolutely delighted that NETA asked me to present them with their Giving Voice award. I presented the award to Janet on behalf of NETA, and made a little speech about how delighted I am that they won, and how deserved the award is. Janet then made an acceptance speech, in which she said she looks forward to working with Giving Voice again in the future. Dr Rose Hilton then presented my award and made a very kind speech about me, which left me speechless (something which rarely happens to me!) I then thanked NETA for allowing me the great privilege of presenting their award and allowing me to be part of their celebration.
|Janet Speight and I with our awards, Howden Room, Newcastle University|
Thursday afternoon was truly inspirational and it was wonderful seeing so many NETA members and their families and friends able to attend the event. It was also lovely to have my parents, my older sister and my boyfriend there to celebrate with me.
I nominated NETA for the Giving Voice award as they have been actively involved in the campaign and they are a brilliant example of how valuable speech and language therapy is to people living with aphasia. I look forward to Giving Voice with them again in the future. Check out their website for more information www.neta.org.uk
Well done to everyone who organised this event and thank you to everyone who attended and supported it! Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!
Thursday, 28 February 2013
On Wednesday afternoon I received a phone call from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists asking if I would be able to/would like to go on BBC Radio Newcastle the following morning as they had asked for an SLT to talk about what we do (as the OT and SLT services in County Durham and Darlington are going out to tender).
I was excited and nervous about the idea of talking on live radio but I always welcome new experiences to talk about speech and language therapy. The main disadvantage was having to be in Newcastle for 6.45am and thus out of my lovely warm bed at 5.30am (a time of day I never usually see!)
RCSLT were extremely supportive over the phone on Wednesday and I felt equipped to go on air and talk about how Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives.
On Wednesday evening I received a phone call from the radio station to have a chat about what would be talked about on the show and where I needed to go etc. The lady also recorded a short interview to use in the news bulletin before my interview (which I heard in the car on the way to the studio yesterday morning!)
I left the house early, with very little voice (having had a cold all week) and kept my fingers crossed it would return by the time I was live on air. Upon arrival I signed in, got my visitors pass and was taken along to the studio where I waited to be called in. I was excited and nervous but everyone was really friendly and I was chatting to another guest speaker who was going to be on about something else, after me. I drank lots of water to keep my throat hydrated and tried not to talk too much before going live.
When I went into the studio, I sat down and was handed headphones and told how close I needed to be to the microphone. I was a bit nervous once I was in the room and tried to concentrate on talking to the presenter (Charlie) rather than think about the fact I was on live radio. I feel the interview went well, but as always with hindsight, there was a lot more specific things I could have said and I have a bruise on my leg now from where I kicked myself after the interview(!!)... Concentrating on the position of my mouth from the mic, balancing my headphones, controlling my speed of talking (something which is usually MUCH too fast!), trying not to concentrate on my tickly throat AND thinking about what I wanted to say and the best way to say it proved to be quite a challenge!
As always when I am put in a different communicative situation I realise just how much I take my own communication for granted every single day. Being on the radio was an exciting experience and certainly something I would do again but I don’t think being a radio presenter will ever be a second job for me (the professionals make it sound so easy!)
Before I left I gave Alfie and Charlie each a Giving Voice pen and they said I’d be welcome back again (so hopefully there might be opportunity for this in the future)!
All in all an interesting experience, listen here from 1 hour 7 minutes if you want to hear the interview (please forgive my hoarse voice!)
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives!
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
I’ve been looking forward to going to London for the Giving Voice residential for a little while now and was excited when Friday finally arrived! I was extremely happy that my train was running on time and I made it to King’s Cross with no problem at all J I travelled from King’s Cross to Limehouse station with fellow North East SLT, Sarah and we were extremely proud that we made it all the way from Newcastle to East London without getting lost!
I was so excited when I saw a sign post for The Royal Foundation of St Katharine (our destination) that I stopped to take a photo!
Upon arrival we checked into our room and took in the beautiful surroundings. We met as a group before dinner and the networking began! It was lovely to meet up with SLTs that my path has crossed in the past as well as meet lots of lovely new ones! J
After dinner we were welcomed by Derek, Ele and Emma from RCSLT for our first Giving Voice session. We got to know each other by drawing each other’s life stories and learning more about where each of us works. We also got a taste of what was to follow on Saturday and the room was full of enthusiasm! At 9.30pm we had a choice of entertainment; a film (one of which was The King’s Speech) or a drink and chat in the lounge, and the majority vote was the latter! This was a great opportunity to talk about our enthusiasm and begin to build working relationships.
Saturday was an early start with breakfast at 8am and the first session at 9am. We were introduced to a challenge that we would be working on in teams and then the first of our guest speakers arrived. A total of four talks took place across the day, all of which were extremely interesting and inspirational.
|Ria and David :-)|
|Some of the working group :-) |
(thanks to Rhiannan for taking the photo and RCSLT for sharing it on facebook!)
Speech and Language Therapy Transforms Lives