Stephan is #BecomingVisible
Stephan has been shining bright through the lockdown. In this blog Stephan reflects on his journey of #BecomingVisible!
What does Becoming Visible mean to you?
What “becoming visible” means to me has changed over time – I went from not being visible to being very visible as get2gether’s Digital Ambassador.
This is my only paid job and being the Digital Ambassador for get2gether has meant to be a kind of recognition that I can have a job and do it with integrity as a person with a disability.
As part of my role I help our members in a variety of ways to make sure that we have good and fun experiences while being online, whether get2gether at home facebook group or one of the many zoom events. I really love this role. It has been so rewarding seeing members going from no confidence to be able to flourish on our online platforms.
As we are currently coming to an end of our becoming visible campaign I would like to tell you my story on becoming visible. Before COVID, we had our club nights at the ATIK Edinburgh, where I was DJing on the floor. As I am a wheelchair user I could not get into the DJ booth and people did not see me as they did see other DJs, so myself and my care manager Colin came up with an idea of a mobile stage, so we built a platform for my wheelchair to sit on and after as I was raised up off the ground, I guess you could say I went from being invisible to being very visible. This was my first #BecomingVisible experience.
What digital skills did you have before the pandemic? If you reflect on this year, what did you learn on the job and the pandemic?
My computer skills were ok, basic so to speak, but during my job I have learned so much! Before I didn’t even know what zoom was. At times it has been a bit of a challenge, but a good challenge.
About a year ago, early in the pandemic, I started a tutorial video library project. I have learned so many news skills using youtube and teaching myself how to do things like Facebook live, group chats, zoom, online safety, etc, and then turned them into very simple instructions. So this job was not just for my benefit but also for the benefit of our members. The tutorial library is still there and members can still use it if they want to learn a new digital skill!
As people were new to technology, we were also offering drop-in skillshare events which I have done by myself or with other members. It has been a really exciting thing to do this learning with our members.
I really love our events on zoom, as I get to see people and have connections with the members, it’s more than just a comment on Facebook. You get to connect, meet, and check-in on how they are doing and at the end of the event, I would have to say that people look happy.
How do you find DJing online?
Yes, that’s also another great journey I have made as a DJ. Over the last year I have learned not just how to use zoom, but even how to DJ on zoom. When we started with online offering, we were trying to find the best way to bring clubbing experience to our members home as it was possible. We started using Twitch, and then migrated on to zoom. It is great to see crowds on the zoom. Zoom is great, as other platforms like Twitch, only provide a chat box, so it is hard to see if people are enjoying the DJ set.
I have mentored other DJs at the beginning of the pandemic so we were all able to take turns and DJ at Wild Nights In and I feel happy to have been able to help get2gether DJ team to get to the stage where we are now.
We had many great party nights on zoom during the COVID – 19 pandemic.
Have you got any more reflections on the past year?
I believe that having get2gether online has been really beneficial to many of our members throughout these unprecedented times. Staying connected with each other is so important to people like me, because having friendships and connection is vital to keep each other going.
I know that our members and get2gether will go from strength to strength and we will get through this together. It is great to see the members being so confident to produce their own content and give their absolute best each and every week and believe me when I say that we do have something for everyone every single day.
During this pandemic, it has been really difficult to know how to make a difference for many people, but being a Digital Ambassador has really empowered me to help people connect and overcome their challenges in this time. I feel I really have made a difference and I hope to continue to do so in my role for the foreseeable future.