Parallel Lives

Fundraising in a Pandemic

On the first day of our 10-day Parallel Lives event programme we focus on Fundraising in a Pandemic.

I will be talking with two individuals currently working to raise funds for their respective organisations that operate in low resource settings on two different continents.

Jane talks in the interview about a new campaign launched in January called the New Year, New Shoes Campaign.

Throughout February, Jane is running 5km at 8.00 am every morning to raise awareness of the campaign. After speaking to several funders, who did not see the importance of their school children having shoes, Jane took it upon herself to raise the money.

Parallel Lives

Parallel Lives 10-day Programme

Thursday 11th – Saturday 20th February

Welcome to the Parallel Lives 10-day programme – each day I will host interviews with documentarians throughout the majority world covering Central & South America, Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia.

I’ll post a blog each day with relevant documentary film, photography, audio, and new media materials included as sources of information.

Several interviews will be pre-recorded but the majority are being live-streamed through the Documentary Media Centre Facebook Page.

Click the logo to go directly there:

Programme: a blog will be posted to cover each day –

Day 1 – Thursday 11th – Fundraising in a Pandemic – Jane Holden from the Andrew Grene Foundation (Haiti) and Ken Dunn from Africa’s Gift (Lesotho)

Day 2 – Friday 12th – Human Trafficking – DMU Communication Arts students online ‘Community Media Cafe’ & Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan (Sri Lanka / Nepal)

Day 3 – Saturday 13th – World Radio Day – Community Radio Showcase in partnership with Rob Watson of DeCentered Media – ‘live’ via YouTube stream

Day 4 – Sunday 14th – Child Trauma & Conflict – Prof. Panos Vostanis (Greece)

Day 5 – Monday 15th – Social Activism – Kavita Ashok (India), Pallavi Priya (India), Bazlur Rahman (Bangladesh) & Kieran Breen (UK)

Day 6 – Tuesday 16th – Photography from Africa – John Wambugu & Joel Lukhovi (Kenya)

Day 7 – Wednesday 17th – Memories of Home – how do we keep the memories alive when we move away from our home?

Day 8 – Thursday 18th – Students and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Uchyu Vanara (Cambodia), Steve Graham (Cambodia) and Mark Charlton (UK)

Day 9 – Friday 19th – Focus on South America – Peru / Colombia / Brazil

Day 10 – Saturday 20th – World Day of Social Justice – Pakistan Showcase with co-host Andy Goss

I hope you enjoy the programme.

John Coster

Founder – Documentary Media Centre




Parellel Lives

Parallel Lives 24 hour Newsroom

The Parallel Lives 24 hour Newsroom was hosted at the Documentary Media Centre on Wednesday 19th August (00:00-23:59).

Parallel Lives is a project that covers 100+ countries and aims to connect people who create and produce documentary forms of media …. film, photography, audio & new media.

The power of story-living from individuals offers a way to challenge mainstream media bias, social prejudice and enhance social understanding through education of global issues.

The conversation was ‘live’ throughout the newsroom on the DMC social media channels:

Twitter & Instagram @DocMediaCentre

Documentary Media Centre Facebook Pageclick here


00:00 Welcome to the start of the 24 hour Parallel Lives newsroom – ‘live’ talk about Parallel Lives on Facebook Page

01:00 Indonesia

Lok ba intan Floating MarketBanjarmasin, South Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia

The River City – 720,000 people

Photo by Kar Lina

02:00 Cambodia

Samatipal Pagoda – the name means meditation – in Banteymeanch Province, near the border with Thailand.

Image by Kimmarita Long
Image by Kimmarita Long
Phnom Penh traffic – image by Channita Chheng

03:00 Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur – Image by Xin Jian Wong

04:00 Pakistan

University of Lahore – evening time – image by Farzeen Sarwar
Image by Farzeen Sarwar

05:00 Kenya

Mind Me Pirates Community Library – image by John Wambugu, CEO Mind Me International
Safe Study Space – image by John Wambugu

Click this link to view the Mind Me International website

05:30 India

Here is the link to Pallavi’s organisation on Facebook: A Cause For Celebration

06:00 Burundi

The East African country is a former German colony and lived under Belgian rule until gaining independence almost 60 years ago. A report says its leaders plan to ask the two ex-rulers to pay damages — and not just cash.


07:00 Bangladesh

Website for the Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication

08:00 Thailand / Laos

Pat Kotchapakdee was a recipient of a grant from the National Geographic Society for this project: Kalomese Tribe in Laos: Lost Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them

08:30 India

Follow Kavita Ashok on Twitter @kavitaashok1969

09:00 Iraq

Dr Ahmed Bahiya is a member of the Media Discourse CentreDe Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

10:00 Nigeria

Click the link to view The Backwaters short documentary by Cletus Clement on the Milano Mobile Film Festival website.

11:00 Oman

11:30 Sri Lanka / Nepal

Interview with social entrepreneur Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan, Founder of the Zinthiya Trust and the Bear Earth CIC.

12:00 Nigeria

Interview with Israel Kashim Audu, Founder of the Kaduna International Film Festival in Nigeria.

14:00 Uganda

14:30 Colombia / Mozambique & Brazil / Afghanistan & India

Interview with Andy Salkeld (Cycling Coordinator, Leicester City Council) and Janet Hudson (Transport Development Officer, Leicester City Council) about the upcoming Ride Leicester Festival 2020 programme and the cycling projects across the globe that have inspired their work in the city.

15:30 Nicaragua / El Salvador

By Gail Brown

Interview with Gail Brown from the Leicester Coffee House Company recorded by Dr Rob Watson, Founder of the Decentered Media podcastclick here to listen

16:00 Haiti

Find out more about the Andrew Grene High School and the work of the Andrew Grene Foundation in Haiti.

17:00 Honduras / Nepal / Nigeria

Interview with Sarah J Reilly MA, Disability Rights Advocate and Researcher about the challenges globally for the 1 billion people with disabilities (15% of global population) when it comes to access to information and resources.

18:00 Yemen

Interview with Kulsum Hafeji, Founder of the Colours of Leicester project about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

If you want to find out more, please click the link to a resource list we’ve created on the Conflict Reportage Archive website.

18:30 Guatemala / Mexico

Interview with Thomas Bowers, Archaeologist (University of Leicester MA) about the global trade in trafficked antiquities.

19:00 Peru

Interview with Thilo Boeck, Transitions Project Director at the Amantani NGO.

Please support their Laptops for Education campaign on 

You can also view the ‘Meet My World‘ films created by the young people involved in the project – click here

20:00 Brazil

Interview with Dr Paul Reilly, Senior Lecturer in Social Media and Digital Society (Information School, The University of Sheffield) about the Parallel Lives project and the countries covered on the 24 hour newsroom.

21:00 Lesotho / Burkina Faso

Interview with Iara Lee, Film Director and Activist about her new Lesotho documentary film and how she identifies the stories that need filming.

Burkinabé Rising: the Art of Resistance in Burkina Faso click for Full Documentary (FREE to watch)

From Trash to Treasure: Turning Negatives into Positivesclick for Full Documentary (FREE to watch)


22:00 South & North Korea / Iraq / Oman & Zanzibar / Brazil

Interview with Dodge Billingsley of Combat Films and Research in Utah, USA.

Click to view a resource list of Dodge’s documentary films from the Conflict Reportage Archive’s 24 hour newsroom in May 2020.

23:00 Panama / Zambia / Morocco / Somalia

Panama by Gemma Twitchen
Lusaka, Zambia by Mohammed
Ndola, Zambia by Mohammed
Tinguir, Atlas Mountains in Morocco – By Sabah
Garowe in Somalia

23:59 Finish!

John Coster is a freelance Journalist, Educator & Documentarian who established the Documentary Media Centre (a registered independent Museum Archive & Library) in 2014 and organises regular educational pop-up events.

It operates from Northampton Street, Leicester with events (Reportage Club), exhibitions (DocSpace), training programme (DocFolio) and themed newsrooms.

The Documentary Media Centre also hosts the Conflict Reportage Archive and Women’s Research Centre.










Documentary Media Centre

Documentary Media Centre Pop-Up

John Coster explains the ‘Parallel Lives‘ project with its support of global documentarians.

The project is part of the 6 week pop-up ‘Documentary Media Centre’ installation at Highcross Leicester.

Thanks to the Communication Arts BA (Hons) students who gave up their free time to record my thoughts.

Parellel Lives

Research Project: Parallel Lives

Parallel Lives

be a documentarian….……..document your life!

Latin America – Africa – South Asia – South East Asia

How has media technology innovation since 2000 democratized the role of documentarian?

Or…..How has the smartphone given ordinary global citizens the opportunity to document their daily lives and shape their own narrative?

The media structure that prevailed throughout the 20th century has now been in the throes of major seismic change for 10-15 years.

During this time the media landscape has evolved to include citizens journalism, user generated content and more recently, the phenomena known as ‘fake news’.

All the headlines have focused on the changing role of the journalist, the established media houses and the role of social media e.g. twitter, in how people consume news.

However, in amongst all this change, for many people it is not (and never was) about creating news but more about capturing what happened (to them) and trying to make sense of it all.

When you consider how many people live on the planet and the small percentage of these people who have a job role that puts them in the driving seat of capturing everything that is happening, I think you can see the appeal of social media and smartphones as people take control of their own storytelling…..taking on the role of documentarian.

It is this that I’m trying to discover.

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals will provide a good backdrop to the research project and help each of the submissions to be viewed together under agreed themes.e.g. Quality Education, Clean Water and Sanitation etc.

Wish me luck! JC