Archive for the ‘learning’ Category

Far from Embarrassed

Just spotted this new comment on the Embarrassing Bodies website:

Hi team

Just a little note 2 say a very big thank u very much! I was watchin an episode that featured how 2 check 4 lumps in the breast. I am a 33yr old single parent & thought i didnt need 2 check myself until i was in my 40’s but im very pleased i did, approximately 16 weeks ago i saw ur show & went 2 my gp because i found a lump, at first the locum was quite dismissive until he felt it then he refered me 2 the breast specialist at my local hospital. I went 4 tests & got diagnosed with breast cancer, i just had a wide local excision & am currently waitin 4 the results from that op but i am optamistic a small amount of radiotherapy is all that will be required to complete my treatment.

Watchin ur show has saved my life & thanks 2 u all my 2yr old son will still have a mummy 🙂

Keep up the good work!!!

The Breast Self-Check video in question is here

How to check your breasts

Update 14/09/09:

A new viewer comment:

“I was watching Embarrassing Bodies around the above date and your Doctors were showing viewers how to check for breast cancer. I took note and examined myself. I found a lump and went to my GP. Now 5 weeks later I feel fully recovered now after a lumpectomy to remove a cancerous tumour. Because I found it in very early stages, it hadn’t spread to my lymph nodes and my outlook is fabulous. Treatment now involves 3 weeks of radiotherapy and tablets for 5 years. Thank you for your clear way of showing people like me how to potentially save our own lives!”

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MindGym

Hooked up the other day, after a dog’s age, with designmeister Jason Loader (who has just set up on his own as Yeah Love). We made MindGym together way back when – a game about creative thinking. Jason has been kind (and patient) enough over the weekend to dig out some of the old design assets from a moribund machine…

MindGym: The Changing Room

MindGym: The Changing Room

MindGym: The Pool of Ideas

MindGym: The Pool of Ideas

MindGym: The Pool of Ideas - Deep End

MindGym: The Pool of Ideas - Deep End

MindGym: The Think Tank

MindGym: The Think Tank

MindGym: The Games Room

MindGym: The Games Room

MindGym: Spy sim

MindGym: Spy sim

There are some more here

All these 3D environments were designed by Jason Loader (at a time when they typically took over 18 hours to render, so a bit on the frustrating side if you didn’t get it right first time).  MindGym was a concept I came up with at Melrose Film Productions in the wake of making a series of films about Creativity.  I nicked the title from Lenin or one of those Ruskies, who used the term with reference to chess. So Jason and I started work on it, then the pair of us hooked up with NoHo Digital to realise a bastard creation of great energy. Rob Bevan (now at XPT) did the interface design and programming, skilfully combining this kind of rich 3D with elegant 2D inspired by You Don’t Know Jack. His creative partner Tim Wright led the writing team – him, Ben Miller and me – it was a comic script with serious stuff underlying the gags. I couldn’t help chuckling recently when I heard someone refer to Rob & Tim as the Jagger & Richards of new media. Talking of which, Nigel Harris did the music and sound design – excellent audio was one of our explicit creative goals, again inspired by YDK Jack. And talking of Jack the lads, Paul Canty (now of Preloaded) and Mike Saunders (Kew Digital), who were just starting out, were also among the production team. The studio was infested with red ants (possibly flesh-eating), but it didn’t distract us from the task at hand…

The Embarrassing Bodies effect

As I was walking past the University of London’s Bloomsbury Theatre the other day (on my way through strike-bound London to the pick-up point for the Tech Bus to b.Tween 09 in Liverpool) I noticed a poster advertising a stand-up gig in October by “television’s heartthrob medic” Dr Christian Jessen of Embarrassing Bodies talking to the student-centric audience about health matters. The same day I came across this piece a good few miles from the big smoke, typifying the impact of Embarrassing Bodies and indicating why the NHS should plug into its success:

Dr Christian Jessen of Embarrassing Bodies

Health fayre aims to target the young

Jun 10 2009 by Lynda Nicol, East Kilbride News

THE popular television programme Embarrassing Bodies has proved young folk are just as interested in their own health as older generations.

Being able to look after yourself – and seek prompt medical advice on problems, no matter how bashful you may feel about it – is something people should learn when they are young.

With this in mind, Greenhills and East Kilbride South Youth Club are joining forces with NHS Lanarkshire to stage a health fayre at the club tomorrow (Thursday).

There will be a range of stalls offering health checks and advice on a variety of health issues.

Young people from throughout the area are invited to go along between 7pm and 10pm and they will be able to talk frankly about any health comcerns they may have.

Club leader Councillor Archie Buchanan said: “I am very pleased to be working with NHS Lanarkshire in providing health-related advice to the young people who attend our youth club.”

And he added: “The health fayre will, I am sure, be well received by the young people attending.”

The question is, of course, how can Greenhills and East Kilbride South Youth Club and NHS Lanarkshire make best use of the kind of engagement a heartthrob medic like Dr Christian inspires? (Using the interactive content on the Embarrassing Bodies website – especially the Embarrassing Teenage Bodies part with its Am I Normal? videos – is not a bad place to start.)

Twitter experiment with live TV

Next up from these quarters is a microblogging/Twitter experiment with live TV. From Monday at 10.25pm on Channel 4 you’ll be able to watch surgery – live. Open heart surgery, awake brain surgery (i.e. patient awake as well as surgeon and us the trusty viewers), keyhole surgery, tumour removal – alive&direct thanks to Windfall Films in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust. Wild enough in itself I hear you say but that is not all, oh no, that is not all…

We will not hold up the cup and the milk and the cake and the fish on a rake, but as the Cat in the Hat said, we know some new tricks and your mother will not mind (unless she’s etherised upon a table, as that other cat-lover said). The plan is to tip our hat (red and white striped topper or whatever) to that increasingly common behaviour of Twittering whilst watching TV and encourage people to tweet away during the live operations, sharing their thoughts and asking questions. The big difference here is that this is live TV and you can make an impact with your tweet on the TV editorial. The best questions tweeted will be fed through to the presenter, arch-Twitterer Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News, who will swiftly pose them to the surgeon at work. So a matter of seconds between tweet and the question being uttered on live TV.

There have been some pioneering experiments in this area by the likes of The Bad Movie Club (established by Graham Linehan, writer of Channel 4’s Father Ted and The IT Crowd, spotted recently on stage at the TV BAFTAS) and Channel 4 News but I think this may be some kind of first in the telly realm. Now of course there are echoes of phone-ins and combining TV with forums/chatrooms the best part of a decade ago (by Danny Baker on Channel 4) but what this new generation of social media brings is a networked conversation which is global, searchable, tagable and open.

I think it is important to consider carefully what kind of broadcast material to combine microblogging with. I personally tend to indulge in the practice while watching undemanding TV like Jonathan Ross on Friday night. Bad Movie Club has the right idea – the clue is in the word Bad, stuff you may well have watched before and is crap in a good way. There was a little unofficial attempt at it at the BBC but it was allied to radio, and egg-heady radio at that – the broadcast material was too complex and demanded too much attention to allow for multitasking. What I’m expecting with Surgery Live is that once you get into the flow of the programme you don’t need to give it your undivided attention to be able to follow the action. I, of course, will be watching over the rim of my specs to take the edge off it all, being of a squeamish disposition and never cut out to be the doctor my parents wanted me to be. I’m a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, the City livery company associated with the crafting of swords and surgical instruments, which is ironic given my phobia of all sharp edges (other than the cutting edge of interactive media 😉  ).

Surgery Live is the second of three Twitter experiments on my radar. The first was Osama Loves which used Twitter, early last summer, to enable our two intrepid adventurers in search of 500 Osamas in 50 days right across the Islamic world to update sharers in their journey from areas where they couldn’t get online or didn’t have sufficient bandwidth and were forced to rely on mobile. The third is the forthcoming Alone in the Wild (watch this space).

I’ll report back here on whatever interesting comes of it but in the meantime, please do join us for The Operation: Surgery Live on Channel 4 on Monday at 10.25pm (then Tuesday through Friday at 10.30/11.00, varies) to watch an illuminating show and discuss it there & then.

Adult Learners’ Week 09

Adult Learners' Week

AdultLearnersWeekFolk, here are the website addresses for the projects demoed:

Big Art Mob www.bigartmob.com Public Art

Landshare www.landshare.net Landsharing and growing food

Picture This www.channel4.com/picturethis Digital photography

Empire’s Children www.channel4.com/empire Family history

Embarrassing Bodies www.channel4.com/bodies Health

Medicine Chest www.medicinechest.info Traditional approaches to health

Adoption Experience www.channel4.com/adopt Adoption

Porn to be Wild update

Sexperience making good Google impact – on Day 1 of new series ranking #1 of 532,000,000 on searching “sex education” (where it has resided since the last series in Sept 08) and #2 of 731,000,000 on searching “sex”!

In search of Sex Education

In search of Sex Education

Searching for Sex

Searching for Sex

Update 7.iv.09:

Nice piece in Broadcast about this today

Porn to be Wild

Anna Richardson vs Porn

Anna Richardson vs Porn

With headlines like “Porn Scandal Minister Faces Axe” in the press yesterday (they have a Minister for everything these days), what a great day to launch the next phase of Sexperience which accompanies the new series of The Sex Education Show: The Sex Education Show vs Porn.

The Sun ran a double page centrespread as only the Sun can – an outraged “Pornification of Our Kids” headline, bridling at the impact of porn on teens, laid over the torso of a stunna in black lace bra and panties, head cropped off not that any objectification was going on.

The site, updated for the new series, got off to a cracking start with

  • 414,000 pageviews in the first 3 hours!
  • 60,000 visits in those 3 hours
  • over 1,000 questions submitted by users in the same period

The Sex Education Show continues this evening at 9pm on Channel 4.

Pornification

Pornification

Osama Loves Loved

Osama of Love global hunt Doctor

Osama of Love global hunt Doctor

Osama Loves, as previously mentioned in this august organ (dontcha just love both those words?), is a participative online documentary I commissioned last summer from the breath of fresh air that is Mint Digital and Menthol TV. The interactive documentary came about in response to a request from my fellow commissioner at C4, Aaqil Ahmed, who looks after religious and multicultural TV programming. He had commissioned a season of television programmes about the culture (rather than the politics) of Islam, including a flagship primetime doc on The Koran. The underlying theme of the season was that Islam is not a homogeneous culture but a diverse and multifaceted one. Aaqil asked me to come up with an online project which conveyed the heterogeneity of Islamic culture and, after some great conversations with Andy Bell, Jeremy Lee and the MintFolk, Osama Loves was born…

In an interesting iterative dynamic, the interactive documentary which was born of the TV season in turn gave rise to a TV documentary commissioned through Janey Walker, Channel 4’s Head of Education. It’s a beautiful film entitled Osama bin Everywhere (and sub-titled Searching for 500 Faces of Islam). It follows the progress of Farrah Jarral and Masood Khan through the participative Web travelogue that is Osama Loves, on their mission to track down 500 people called Osama in just 50 days. The two intrepid explorers uploaded blog posts, tweets (a relatively early application of Twitter to enable our protagonists to publish by mobile when out of PC-based internet range), photos and videos each day,  asking the public for tips and advice to help them complete their challenge and get the most from the countries they were visiting (including Nigeria, Egypt, Indonesia and Canada). As they backpacked across the Muslim world their search offered a window into the everyday life, culture and belief of the Muslims they met.

They asked each Osama they met “What do you love?” The idea was to transcend clichés about Muslims – the most well known Muslim on the planet being a certain Osama who epitomises these clichés and is not normally linked with Love. So Osama Loves sought out as many other Osamas (previously a popular name in Islamic countries) as they could in the time and showcased the rich diversity of their hopes and beliefs, concerns and perspectives.

When the spin-off TV doc aired again recently in the C4 morning slot it prompted a mass of positive feedback from viewers including:

“I am a Catholic and father to 6 children. Having just watched Osama bin Everywhere, I feel this programme should be shown to every child in every school in the UK regardless of religious belief. How refreshing it was to watch. This young woman deserves public recognition and a national award. The comments made and feelings expressed by all the Osamas were a true insight to Muslim people and the meaning of their religion.”

“Not really a press enquiry but please pass my congratulations onto Farrah – I taught her at school in the 1990s. Watched today’s Channel 4 programme whilst at home recovering from surgery. Very, very proud of what she’s become – but not at all surprised!”

“The programme was a joy to watch and I’d love to see more programmes like it. The presenter should be very proud of the programme – she is a great ambassador for her religion.”

“In a time of ‘reality TV’ which seem to be centered on Channel 4, finally a program that I could call brilliant! I was at work during my break and caught Osama bin Everywhere. I can honestly say I’ve not been so engrossed in anything in such a long time. This was a pleasure to watch.”

“What a fantastic programme! A real eye-opener, but I only saw it because the TV happened to be on when it started. Why was such a positive, heart-warming program hidden away on morning TV? Have you shown this in an evening slot? Please do!”

“I truly appreciate what you set out to achieve. Everytime I watch a programme on the television about Islam, it highlights the “bad apples”. I am only 18 years old, but have lived all my life in Britain. Having only visited Pakistan once, and at a very young age, you have driven me (in the most positive way) to go back to my country of ethnic origin. The programme itself has opened my eyes to how shallow people can be, relating everything bad to one name. I hope one day that I will have the power to enlighten people, just as you have to me. May you have all the health and happiness in the world, Inshallah.”

And here are a few other reactions to Osama Loves from more pressy sources:

Mike Mendoza, BBC Radio 2 website of the day
This is interesting – a Dave Gorman-influenced quest from 2 London-based Muslims (in collaboration with Channel 4), to find and meet 500 people who share the same name. In the process, they hope to change many people’s perception of Islam. Long-standing listeners will know that I like a pointless quest, so it’s nice to see a quest/travelogue which aims to do something a bit more positive.

Islam Online
Islam doesn’t provoke much interest unless they [Muslims] are burning flags or pillaging embassy workers or holding insulting placards. It won’t provoke much interest outside of Muslims, but Muslims worldwide will be grateful for the positive break. Put it this way, at least it’s better than their annual masterpiece, Big Brother.

The Sun
No doubt the FBI will be keeping a close eye on the site – especially for any entrants expressing a love of the Tora Bora caves in eastern Afghanistan.

Toronto Star
None of this is sponsored by the CIA – the aim is to give dignity back to a much abused and reviled name.

More Evidence of Body

Embarrassing Teenage Bodies

Embarrassing Teenage Bodies

As the dust settles in the wake of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies (broadcast in October) and we start cranking up for the next series in March 2009 it’s been a good moment to take stock and assess what kind of impact we had, this time with teens in particular.

In a previous post, Evidence of Body, I pointed out a special characteristic of this cross-platform initiative – unusually you can see, after very little time, evidence of immediate, positive changes of behaviour. That was with reference to the week long series of Embarrassing Bodies in April/May, but the recent 4-part series focused on teenagers yielded much the same kind of clear evidence of real public value.

A quick and pretty unscientific trawl through the comments on the website – this time there were 11,000 submitted over the 6 days around transmission! – reveal actual changes of behaviour; the building of confidence around illnesses perceived as ‘embarrassing’; the prompting of increased openness in discussing such matters; reassurance; clarification; and the encouragement of peer-to-peer support.

Here’s a brief selection to give a feel for the sorts of impact evident across the site:

Changes of behaviour

From Ellie [in Vulva Gallery]
thanks teenage bodies thanks to you i’ve had the confidence to go and have a std test

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From kathryn [in Am I Normal? video]

GREAT show. It encouraged me to go get something checked out =) & I’m sure it encouraged a lot of other teenagers to get stuff thats bothering them checked out!

Thanks so much

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Building confidence

[in Vaginal Prolapse]

This site and video is soooo useful and informative!!! I feel more confident to see my GP and look him/her in the eye and state my problem.

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[in Am I Normal? – Vagina]

I was worried about how i looked “down there” but this video made me realise everybody is different and that it’s completely normal to worry.

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From Alice [in Breast Gallery]

I always thought, since my breasts our a coned shape and not fully shaped yet or may stay like this that it isn’t normal…but in fact it is!
Gosh it is amazing to see all the different variety 🙂
TV models or whatever can go stuff themselves, they fooled me into believing that mine weren’t a good shape!
I feel more confident now, even if they are small 🙂

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From Isabella [in Enlarged Labia]

This is obviously alot more common then what people think, so lets not feel embarrassed!! Because like alot of you, I am pretty relieved that i’m not the only one! lol. and it’s never affected my sex life

🙂 Hope everyone feels alot more confident, by reading everyones stories. Thanks Channel 4

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Saving lives

From Sinead [in How to Check your Testicles]

After watching your show, my husband decided to check himself one night whilst having a shower. To his shock he found a lump. He went straight to his doctor and within a week he had surgery for testicular cancer, needs to have a few more scans, but thanks to the show he managed to find it in time.

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Encouraging openness

From Sarah

I think this programme and website is the best thing for young and older people. Theres not alot of publicity about embarrassing problems espesh about problems or worries down below.

Yes theres GUM clinics and doctors you can talk to but just knowing that doesnt make you feel comfortable talking about it. Maybe no one will feel confortable talking about it, i know that i didnt but i think the more publicity about it, the more people will talk about it.

I never had any sex education at school, only to tell you about the different STI’s out there and i dont think schools really do enough.

This programme is amazing. Well done everybody 😀

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Prompting preventive health activity

From shannon [in Am I Normal?: After Sex]

these videos hav helped me check my self down below and now me and my friends have been comfitable talking to each other about our pubity problems!!!

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Reassuring

From Beth [in Anal Fissure]

Oh My!!! This Is Exactly What I Have Been Looking For!!!
I Was Worried Because I Was Told I May Have Colon Cancer 😦
Thanks Ever So Much Guys! x”

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From Katie [in Gonorrhoea]

Hi! This program was a great help to lots of teens and raised alot of awareness. i am 16 and have only had one sexual partner, … i am worried that i may have caught something but i am too shy to go to the doctors about it. i have read the above comments and am pleased i am not alone :S

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[in Ingrowing Pubic Hair]

I find this so embarrassing… but i’m glad to know i’m not the only one.

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Clarifying what is ‘normal’

From James [in Penis Gallery]

i think this page is great.
its good to know all the sizes out there and know i am normal
thank you so much

————————–

Peer to peer advice

From Chris [in Hyperhidrosis]

i sweat a lot under my arms, for no apparent reason. im not always even warm. i have driclor and have never properly used it because it stung. so now ive read these comments i think i’ll definately give it a go! thank you 🙂

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From Tom [in Dandruff]

Im 17 and I have dandruff and i use head and shoulders and it never seems to work. and its really embarrasing and annoying especially when im with the girlfriend
😦 thanks to everyone for the tips i shall try them out

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[in Enlarged Labia]

I have it too… Lol, This is well embarassing. I’m only 14 so I haven’t had any sexual experience but it does make me worry a little bit what a future boyfriend might think…however, some of these comments are quite empowering…thank you all, I feel a little better now!

—————————–

From Matt [in Testicular Cancer]

BLOKES, GO TO THE DOCTOR, IT TAKES LIKE NO TIME AT ALL, I HAVE BEEN ABOUT MY GENITALS LOOOADS OF TIMES AND IM ONLY 19.

NOW IM WORRY FREE =]

i posted this for some support :D”

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[in Enlarged Labia]

i am so glad i’ve actually found this website, because it has really helped me reading all these comments about other people that have this problem. i haven’t actually told anyone, and i’ve never been in a proper sexual relationship because i am so embarrassed about what they would think. … i’ve tried to mention it to my friends when we watched the program, but they all found it weird and strange – so i didn’t dare say that i had it too. i have no confidence but it has helped me reading all your comments! thank you 🙂

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Helping diagnosis

From Mellissa [in Tinnitus]

omg! hooray to your program for quite alot of years i have learnt to live with tinnitus not knowing what it was until now docters just say there’s nothing wrong and my ear is clean. i had explained i had a pulsing in my ear and i’ve been ignored watched your show and came on to your site only to find out what i have been suffering with im glad to say it’s not caused by loud music in teenage life i did bang my head really badly and i’m sure thats when it started i feel relieved but disgusted that my docter shrugged it off. … thank you so much i’m going to have it looked at anyway just to be sure. x

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Engaging content

[in Consultation: Breast Reduction]

A very very brave lady. that video is very interesting in fact i think all your videos are very interesting. good on ya girl

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From James [in Penis Gallery]

Great site. You just don’t see this sort of thing anywhere else and it’s really important

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Raising awareness

From Becca [in Problem Piercings]

Personnaly I think that teenagers in todays society need to be more aware of all aspects of problems in and out of the body. More needs to be done to ensure that this is happening. This programme is really helping me and my teenage friends. Thank you and please continue helping other people.

Update 17.12.08: You may like to comment on the above – or address some further questions about how preventive healthcare is most engagingly presented – over on The TV Show website at Channel 4.

Public Value defined

This comment was recently posted on the Embarrassing Bodies website:

“After watching your show, my husband decided to check himself one night
whilst having a shower. To his shock he found a lump. He went straight
to his doctor and within a week he had surgery for testicular cancer,
needs to have a few more scans, but thanks to the show he managed to
find it in time.”

by Sinead in response to the How to Check your Balls video

One of four Embarrassing Bodies Self-Check videos

One of four Embarrassing Bodies Self-Check videos

648,000 videos were viewed on the site during the week of broadcast of Embarrassing Teenage Bodies last week.

How to Check Your Balls has been watched nearly 300,000 times in the last six months.

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