I began thinking about subject matter and, with my theme of regional identity, I wanted to cover a range of topics to try and flesh out a big picture of a small place.
There were two main ways I could see to look at this: The historical and formative figures, ideas and creations that brought the local culture to where it was. The advantage of this approach is it allows people not from the region (and maybe even those not “in the know” from the region) to gain a respect and understanding of why these regions have their own micro-communities and cultures.
My issue with solely using this historical format is that, whilst gaining an appreciation or how a culture is formed, that appreciation amounts to very little if the reader is unaware of the current culture. But describing this current culture alone may leave the reader a little dumbfounded and ungrounded in an unfamiliar environment.
The two ideas in tow – giving a brief historical background, highlighting the key creative figures, then following this with a more contextualised and educated view of the current culture, events, exhibitions, concerts, plays, creative performances and new experiences – should appeal to a Guardian readership; a mostly educated and cultured demographic, who tend to spend their money on going out to concerts, plays and going for meals out.
A layout that encompasses the historical and the current, whilst also potentially leading the way to events and insider info on places to go, things to do so as to explore and enjoy the region’s creativity.
Companies like NowThen Magazine and Informed Travel Guides For Curious Folk are two examples of companies that do an excellent job of collating less obvious bars, nightclubs, art galleries, music venues, and other places and areas of interest in and around Sheffield. NowThen even offer a mobile app offering discounts and freebies at businesses upon presentation of the app whilst at each “Trader”. This provides a mutually beneficial relationship between NowThen magazine and the “Traders” boosting each others profile and overall adding to the community feel of a large city.
NowThen’s website updates readers on events happening regularly, adding more incentive to go out and find something new in a region readers may have thought they already knew a lot about: http://nowthenmagazine.com/sheffield/issue-104/supporters/
Whilst providing readers with new places to go, it is important to remember that the tendency with the Guardian’s demographic is people who are probably already familiar with some interesting/offbeat places to go. Presenting them with more options may bring about too much choice, so a “dice roll” system of some sort may aid with the idea of trying something new and exploring more sides of a region’s culture.
An app to accompany my insert that keeps people up to date with events, or flags up areas of interest with push notifications when the user is nearby would allow the readers of the Guardian to gain a more insider perspective of each region.