For the task I initially set about interpreting the brief based on the materials and information provided. I then focussed the digital scrapbook, in particular deciding which media sources to use and how best to obtain, digest and coordinate the required source material. To assist with this, I reactivated my Twitter account and also spent some time getting to grips with WordPress, which I had not used before. I then debated which topic to use for the created communications and stakeholder mapping, once all tasks were completed my last activity was to apply the required reflective actions to the portfolio.
For me, the most important aspect of the portfolio was that it took me totally out of my comfort zone. Before returning to University I hadn’t really considered what each module and coursework would entail, and as I had never used WordPress or created any form of communication before I initially found the brief overwhelming. Having deactivated my Twitter account some years ago, I was also reliant on more mainstream forms of media for news so subsequently had to learn to access different channels for information. Equally, due to my lack of confidence I found the ‘open-ended’ structure of the brief at odds with my engrained ‘reactive’ mental process.
Having now completed the portfolio, I feel that it has significantly developed my learning skills and improved my knowledge of a wide range of sustainability topics, as per the diagram shown in week 1 of the course (Wealthhike 2018). This knowledge is essential to me as it will help me with the remainder of the course, but it has also shown me that when I apply myself to an uncomfortable situation I can succeed, which will stand me in good stead for the future. While I tried to utilise as wide a range of media stories as possible, the inspiration for both the scrapbook and created communications content came from a personal perspective. My father was a farmer, so I am particularly interested in the ways this can become more sustainable, and in particular the benefits of rewilding. For the creative communications my decision to focus on Birmingham Airport was due to my wife’s employment in the aviation sector. The contents of the scrapbook reflect these factors and I also tried to include some articles which related to other modules within the course
In hindsight, there are several things I would do differently. I feel that my chosen media sources were too narrow, and I should have utilised more ‘modern’ sources such as vlogs and YouTube to give a wider range of opinions, which would have given more validity to the scrapbook and could have had more influence on the choice for created communications. Of the media I did choose, I gave too much focus to the Guardian and Daily Mail in trying to get opinion of the different political perspectives. Having analysed the scrapbook, I should have used more sources from across the political spectrum. Finally, I am not certain that my created communications choice is exempt from personal bias, as outlined by Martyn Shuttleworth (Shuttleworth 2018) so this realisation will be useful to me as I continue my learning journey. As an example of this, while the created media does reach the targeted passenger audience, the actual result of the promoted carbon offsetting measures would be negligible. An anonymous Airport source outlined in a personal email that the actual take up of such a scheme would be low, and that for the Airport such initiatives are primarily used to promote the Airport’s green credentials (pers.comm 2020). So, this could be taken as evidence of greenwashing (Pearse 2012:65)
Finally, an important retrospective point to add is that post-Coronavirus the landscape for the aviation industry has significantly changed. This will have a major impact on the validity of all aspects of the portfolio as the scrapbook, created media and certainly the stakeholder mapping will be considerably affected.
Pearse, Guy (2012) Greenwash: Big Brands and Carbon Scams. No place: Schwartz Publishing
Pers.comm (2020) Sustainability at Birmingham Airport [email] to Howl, J. [12 April 2020]
Shuttleworth, M. (2018) Research Bias – Experimenter Bias [online] available from <https://explorable.com/research-bias> [30 April 2020]
Wealthhike (2018) Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone – a Necessary Step for Success in Every Area of Your Life – Is a Grad… | Self Improvement, Psychology, Self Development [online] available from <https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/772085929847956481/> [27 April 2020]