The Chelsea Resilient Podcasting Project brought together a group of Chelsea youth to learn about podcasting and through this process to create their own series of audio programs. La Historica Viva Podcast is now available on-line. Workshops at the Chelsea Public Library were led by staff of the Somerville Media Center, using new podcasting equipment that will remain a permanent resource for library patrons to borrow for their own projects.
The “La Historica Viva” series of four recordings are now available via the Boston Free Radio Podcast Network and on the Chelsea Public Library’s new podcast channel at https://chelseapubliclibrarypodcasts.omeka.net/.
In the series, students conducted three interviews to illuminate aspects of the mural in Bellingham Square installed in late 2021 entitled “Chelsea Resilient: Call and Response Through the Ages.” They met with the artist who created the mural, David Fitcher. Part of the mural references the 1908 and 1973 Chelsea fires and the work of the Chelsea Fire Department, so the group met with Fire Dispatcher Paul Koolloian. He's a local historian preserving this history. Students met, too, with Arnie Jarmak, whose images from his days as staff photographer of the Chelsea Record in the 1970s and 80s were included in the mural’s design. The conversations are richly wide ranging as these men shared their own person stories and life advice along with the local history.
The Chelsea Public Library was the central partner in the podcasting project. The equipment and expertise acquired through this project has launched the creation of a fully
functional podcasting center at the Chelsea Public Library. Both the mural and podcasting project were presented by Chelsea Prospers, the City of Chelsea’s neighborhood initiative, with the Chelsea Cultural Council’s Heritage Celebrations grant. Somerville Media Center brought their decades of experience in community storytelling.
Library Director Sarah Gay Jackson said, “We're thrilled here at the Library to partner with Chelsea Prospers and the Somerville Media Center to host and participate in this podcasting project.” She continued, “Podcasting as a public service is a way to engage with our community in an exciting way. With this project we learned a new way to engage with students, created a mobile podcasting equipment collection that will be available to the public and now have a community resource to archive and share podcasts and oral histories.”
Through the fall of 2022, the group of Chelsea youth, along with two library staff, received twelve weeks of training on new audio recording equipment purchased by the library and learned the skills required to create a compelling podcast such as storytelling, interview techniques, and the use of music.
As the young producers explain at the start of their “La Historica Viva” episodes, the podcasts were produced entirely for the students of Chelsea, by the students of Chelsea. People of all ages will enjoy listening to the wide ranging conversations of teens and three elders. The Fifth Street mural and the local history within the mural are just a loose theme as the talk meander across a number of topics.