Updated: Sep 15
Hi welcome to my first blog post. My name is Mark Anthony Smith, I’m a Media Producer and Voiceover Artist. In 2019 I started my VoiceOver and media business, focusing on the performance and media related skills I have acquired throughout my career, whilst also considering another passion I have for story-telling and connecting to a wider community.
Let me explain what I mean about connecting and why I believe it is fundamentally important.
The last ten years of my life has been the most difficult. My father developed dementia in 2010 and day-by-day we all began to slowly watching him drift away.
Dad fell asleep in hospital at 7.05am on November 26th 2013. Around this time my mother had also been diagnosed with COPD and after caring for my mother for over ten years I sadly lost her to COPD. Mum fell asleep at home in my arms at 9.40am on 15th July 2019.
It has taken a lot of time for me to come to terms with this change and I will never forget them; show love, work hard, and surround yourself with family, friends and fun, these are values they passed onto me. Mum and Dad will always be the most important people in my life.
2020 a New Year! Well what a year! Despite not mentioning the obvious I have started to look for new ways to make connections within my community, focusing on my past, present and future. I, like many other people have been fascinated with history, wanting to know more about who I am and where I came from?
A recent report from the Heritage Lottery Fund: Heritage in the 2020 Knowledge Economy states that:
“Heritage is a fundamental cornerstone of everyday experience, culture and sense of place, encompassing the physical (historic buildings, landscapes, museums, galleries and archives) as well as the intangible attributes (memory, recollection, stories and ways of life) that are embedded within society, economy and politics. It is urban and rural, built and natural, tangible and intangible”.
Quite a few things resonated with me whilst reading this: the sense of place, historic buildings, landscapes - museums, galleries and archives- memory, recollection, stories.
I have always held a passion for drama, have loved telling stories and have cared so much about our land, nature and heritage – so it was natural for me to look for ways I can bring those things together. Therefore, as we continue to experience a new way of living, I believe ‘we’, as a society, need to create a new pattern from the rich fabrics of our past.
Statistically people today are looking for “experiences, not things” using “social media as an accelerator” this would seem natural - as we are, now more-than-ever, contained within our family units.
So how do we capture the attention of the family as a whole? We make connections – we connect them through the world we live in, through social media apps, and our: museums, galleries our library collections; historic buildings, wider townscapes and public spaces. Our parks; natural heritage assets, nature reserves, broad landscapes and waterways. Our industrial, transport and maritime heritage. Through our cultural differences and similarities. Through our shared connections. We join the dots. We create “social impacts and values” and “history and connection.”
“Britain is going to have to self-consciously create a national innovation ecosystem to drive new growth sectors and companies. Successful companies and organisations will be those which innovate products and processes, so creating new markets, reputations, and purposes for themselves.”
“The social and environmental problems we face will be solved by looking at the past as much as at future”.
Heritage Lottery Fund: Heritage in the 2020 Knowledge
So, if that’s the what – then how? How do we achieve this how to we engage the public in ways that entertain, educate and inform.?
I believe we need to tell the stories in short and long form – in much the same way we create films, theatre and television. We tell the stories, we keep history alive whilst shaping a new future for all, one with a sense of community where we can grow in a shared value, understanding and knowledge of our beautiful world. We must connect with the creators, educators and artists - as these are the people who will help shape our future.
What can you do now?
If you like this blog post or share an interest in this subject please pass it on. Or get in touch Please leave a message or contact me to find out more about my work. I would love to hear from you and look forward to being involved in a growing creative community.
John of Gaunt
The Forrest Of Knaresborough