BirminghamLive/Commonwealth Stories


With the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham in 2022, BirminghamLive decided nobody was asking the right questions - so we set ourselves an ambitious challenge.

Specifically, with the Games coming to a hyper-diverse city, we felt someone had to ask what the Commonwealth - and its roots in empire, means to the people who call Birmingham home. So, with a year to go until the 2022 Commonwealth Games in our city, we set the target of reaching out to someone from each of the 54 countries constituting the Commonwealth living in our region. This created a significant challenge - language and technology barriers among them - and the project introduced podcasts to many of the people we reached out to. The result was a groundbreaking, much-loved podcast, social video celebrating the city’s diversity and, of course, some fantastic stories shared online and in print - you can listen here - https://podfollow.com/commonwealthstories It explores minority communities, from Indian cooks to Pakistani cricketers to Jamaican teachers and African footballers, and their relationship with the Empire of old through to the Birmingham of today. We put their voices at the heart of examining what the Commonwealth means to them, and how that manifests itself in modern Birmingham. The podcast was downloaded more than 4,000 times - including 3,000 on the month of the Games. It was the most listened-to non-sports podcast in the Reach network over the period of the Games. It also featured in The Times - https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tensions-are-being-swept-under-the-rug-the-problem-with-the-commonwealth-games-2t9tx2zln It also proved popular in native social video posts - https://www.facebook.com/birmingham.live/videos/754643885580543/ TESTIMONIALS Listener Christopher Babb emailed to say: "Thank you, thank you, thank you for Commonwealth Stories. I've listened to all of the episodes over the past three nights and they were wonderful - challenging, but I learned so much about the city. "I know the Commonwealth Games is over but please do more - I know lots of people who'd listen." Paul Rowland, Editorial Director of the Reach PLC live network, said: "Commonwealth Stories was a fantastic innovation. With the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham, the obvious thing to do was a podcast with all the same voices saying how great it was. "BirminghamLive were more ambitious - setting out to speak to people from 54 nations and amplifying the voices of people who actually had something to say - but nobody was listening. "The result was a polished podcast that everyone at Reach PLC is proud of."