South Blessed is a community media operation based in Bristol, specialising in Hip Hop music videos, activist documentary, and live topical debates streamed online. The editorial ethos of South Blessed is one of promotion of talent and opinion from South West England, with a visual brand identity which symbolically embraces Jamaica and the UK through its use of colour and design. Notions of identity, diversity and cultural hybridity infuses the content of South Blessed’s productions, though this presentation argues this is in a different way to the majority of community media outfits from the 70s, 80s and 90s. South Blessed represents an emerging departure in the community filmmaking movement; one of embracing entrepreneurial and capitalist ambitions unashamedly driven by commerce, whilst simultaneously still informed by principles of collective community empowerment.
The proprietor of South Blessed is himself a young person who was a participant in many community media projects when he was younger, and this research explores those influences on his creative and entrepreneurial vision, and also influences from his family history and values that have translated through generations from Jamaica through to his current cultural space in urban Bristol. These dynamics are viewed through a lens of South Blessed negotiating a transition from an informal operation to a more formal media organisation, and the editorial decisions that entails.
South Blessed are the case study of the Creative Citizens project, which is a Connected Communities funded partnership project run by Cardiff University, University of the West of England (UWE), University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, Royal College of Art and Open University. South Blessed are working with the research team from UWE, the authors of this abstract.