Heeeeeeeyho you lovely people out there!
So yesterday evening I returned from radiocamp in Germany, but I was too exhausted to post a proper update. I went straight back to work this morning (and found out that my boss wasn’t even expecting me in the morning because she thought I was going to take the morning off – which I then did do in the afternoon because, frankly, I was falling asleep at my laptop, hehehe).
I don’t know how many of my watchers are interested in radio, but since the radiocamp is about more than just radio, I thought I’d update you a bit on it.
So the first radiocamp was organised in 1995, and I believe they’ve always been in Markelfingen at the Bodensee in Germany – except for once. It’s a camp that is organised by and catered towards people working for and with free/independent radio stations, as opposed to state owned or privatised stations. Those independent stations have the possibility to tackle topics your usual station does not talk about. Often, the people working there are volunteers, so many of them don’t get regularly paid, or aren’t even paid at all. They do it because they’re passionate about people, about certain topics, and about radio in general.
We arrived on Wednesday and left on Sunday. The three days in between were filled with workshops. So there was breakfast from 8 till 9, then an info session, workshop from 09:30 to 12:30, lunch and free time until 3 pm, and then again three hours of workshop. They did have small info things and presentations after dinner around 8 pm, and there were about 3 to 4 workshops per day to choose from.
This sounds like a lot, and it certainly was, but the great thing was that you could drop out at any time. You didn’t necessarily have to attend a workshop, or you didn’t have to complete one if you didn’t feel like it after lunch. Even if you still wanted to complete it and needed a break, you just needed to give the one holding the workshop a hand sign and you could either leave for a while, or sit down and watch until you felt ready to participate again.
The camp was set up in a barrier-free way; there was only one person in a wheelchair this year, but he was able to attend each and every workshop he wanted to. There were also a lot of refugees from various countries attending, networking, talking about the shows they produce (because many indie radio stations do have shows made by refugees for refugees, which I think is really cool), and there was a translating team handing out devices with headphones people could use to get everything translated. The translating team was also present at the workshops if the need arose, so people could participate without the language barrier being too much of an issue.
What I also loved was how people reacted to different sexual orientations or gender identities. Like, pronouns were always respected, and if you were anything but straight? That was nothing special, as it should be IMHO, but sadly isn’t in real life. It was absolutely refreshing.
As for the accommodation, you could either bring your own tent or sleep in one of the tents they provided. Those were permanent tents with four beds with mattresses – two bunk beds each; I am pretty sure they were former army beds. So the only thing you had to bring were a sleeping bag, a pillow, and potentially one or two blankets for colder nights.
Bugs were included though, the lake being this near, so bringing insect spray was also a good idea.
Food was provided by an organisation called “Maulwürfe” (moles, as in: the animal; their mascot is a popular German cartoon mole). They cook vegan only, which – I mean, I am not even a vegetarian, but if you have a camp where so many different ethnicities, religions, age groups, and people with allergies meet? It does make a lot of sense to switch to a vegan diet. Paying for food was based on donations. If you could donate you were asked to donate a minimum of 5 € per day, which is not much, and was basically used to cover all of their expenses. Many donated more though, and this meant that people who attended the camp and were not able to donate didn’t have to. A kind of a pay-it-forward system. Plus if you didn’t want to attend a workshop you could always ask to help in the kitchen tent with the cooking, or with doing the dishes.
Showers and toilets were in a fixed building, cleaned daily, and also barrier-free.
So what workshops did I attend? Well, since the trip to the radiocamp ties into my internship, and the internship directly ties into my studies, I’ve picked workshops that I thought would be useful for me, but were fun at the same time. My first one was a workshop called “Radio for All?!”. Indie radios always advertise themselves as being inclusive in every sense of the word, but often there are still situations in which people are being excluded for whatever reason, maybe even involuntarily. We analysed the situation, discussed what could be done to improve it, and went out and interviewed people from different stations as to what solutions they would have.
The second one was the most fun one for me: it was a workshop about voice and speaking. Not only about how to effectively warm up your voice, but also how to use it more creatively. Also I connected very easily to the woman who was holding the workshop – we talked for hours afterwards about nothing and everything, and I really do love when that happens.
On the third day workshops were only in the morning, and there I attended one about feminist radio – feminist including trans, intersex, and LGBT+ women. It was interesting, but one or two of the people there were a bit…how shall I say – a bit too deeply involved into the subject? And I wasn’t the only one feeling that way. But still, I’ve received nice input, and did learn a few things. In the afternoon then we had a discussion round, where some of us sat down and exchanged tips and hacks about how to improve our speaking, our writing, what to do if we’re nervous…
And then we sat at the lake shore and played ludo until dinner. XD
Also I went for a swim and sketched a bit. We even had like three parties on the last evening – the official one, a Eurovision Song Contest Public Viewing one, and one in the bar tent.
If anyone of you is interested in radio, or even just wants to help as a translator or with the kitchen – I promise you, you won’t regret it. It was super interesting, and I’ve met a bunch of very lovely people. It’s also a great place to socialise and to network with people from other stations and other countries, even, Plus it’s super fun!
But yeah. I’m exhausted and full of mosquito bites, but I did enjoy it tremendously.
This week is my last internship week, then I’ll have one week off, two weeks of class, three weeks off again (well, technically off, as we’re supposed to write our thesis during those weeks), and then I’ll submit and present my thesis, and that will be it, hopefully. Time goes by super quickly, and I have still a few school projects to finish, so I’m not entirely sure about how active I’ll be. But I will be more active than during the last weeks, that’s for sure.
If you’re interested in my radiocamp experience then feel free to pester me about it in the comments!