And yet, under the right conditions—especially in program design and development—access to study subjects “in the right place at the right time” can prove extraordinarily helpful. Also, let’s face it: COVID-19 has upended our notions of “convenience” altogether. In the field of education, researchers no less than teachers have had to make the most of remote learning—and the strengths and limitations of virtual learning platforms—to get the job done.
Amid these challenges, YR Media has made admirable progress. YR Media is a national network of approximately 300 teenagers and young adults who produce and distribute music and journalism with support from top media professionals. Formerly known as Youth Radio, the Oakland, California-based nonprofit has received NEA grants to support mentoring, training, and music production opportunities for youth participants from low-income or other “underserved” backgrounds.
The physical hub of the network is a building in downtown Oakland where the youth artists not only have access to professional producers and crew, but where, according to YR Media CEO Kyra Kyles, “young people really feel at home,” and can “go into that building and connect with that energy.”
In light of pandemic shutdowns, Kyles and her colleagues Maya Drexler and Oliver “Kuya” Rodriguez asked themselves, “What can we do that creates or at least captures in some way some of that collaboration—that ability to just turn to your neighbor or whomever you’re working with [and ask,] ‘How does this sound to you?’ or ‘What do you think we should put in this beat?’” she said.
The answer was the Type Beat Challenge, a cycle of music-based programs built around a DIY toolkit with information and resources. These goodies include a playlist for inspiration, a “sound pack” of free digital sounds, and a community of peers learning and collaborating on virtual platforms. From a research angle, Type Beat provided “the kind of immediate, rapid-response operation that needed to kick into gear once the pandemic hit,” Lissa Soep, YR Media’s Special Projects Producer, recounted.
Read the full article here.
Images from the Type Beat Challenge by YR Media/Creative Director Pedro Vega Jr.