Villiers students launch Podcasts In The Time of Coronavirus

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AT a time where young people can’t gather together to do creative school projects like a school show, there is a danger that the arts projects will completely cease.

With a view to giving transition year students a collective creative experience that is COVID compliant, Villiers Secondary School students are making their own podcasts.

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Normally, at this time of year in Villiers, a large group of students would be mid rehearsals under the direction of Ann Blake and Niamh Bowen for their TY theatrical production in January.

This year, however, no show could take place but the school were keen to give their students a collaborative, creative outlet. Blake, who co-hosts The Limerick Lady Podcast and Ann and Steve Talk Stuff for The Limerick Post, proposed to the school that the students find their voice in a new way that could allow them to safely work together.

Over a three week intensive period, under the facilitation of Blake and Bowen, 26 students have gathered ideas and whittled down into teams. Using their own smartphones they started recording, editing and producing seven individual podcasts.

Covering topics such as food, music, life before and after COVID 19, gender issues, video games and rugby the students are preparing to release podcasts on the 18th of December.

“It’s a new experience that we’ve never done before.” says Grace O’Hagan, a Clare native, who boards in the school and has created The Dish Out Podcast with her friend Laura Kelly.

“I’m really enjoying it and I’ll definitely continue making podcasts after this.” “Sometimes it can be difficult for me as English is my second language.” explains Max Beeckmann, a student from Hamburg who is working on a rugby podcast, a sport that he only really started interacting with in September.

“But this is a project that’s fun. We are learning so much about podcasting.” Teaming up with friends to create a topic-themed podcast alongside food, Cian McGoey enthuses “It’s good way to try something new with your friends and have a good time with them in a year that’s limited.” 

Blake explains “It’s great to be able to do something creative with this year’s transition years. In this pandemic it’s so tough for them to have any sense of fun and interaction with their classmates.”

Niamh Bowen continues, “We were racking our brains as to what we could do this year. The technology that most young people are walking around with in their pocket is an amazing asset. It allows us to help them create their own work in a way that they can continue to do long after this project ends.”

The podcasts will be released on all platforms, in association with the school’s umbrella production title VS Productions, just as school finishes for the Christmas break.