2. Starting Off On The Right Foot

Day: Thursday, October 23, 2014


Our second day at The Big Issue office included a meeting with our liaison, Trudy Vlok. This was an important meeting for us as it was the first time we talked to Trudy about what she envisioned for our project. We had spoken with her during our preparation term, but we were not sure if her plans or our role had changed. We had spoken to the vendors the day before to explain our vision for the project, but we were a little apprehensive that what we had told them was not truly what Trudy wanted.

Cast of Characters

  • Trudy Vlok – The Big Issue South Africa Managing Director
  • Chelsea Clark-James – American volunteer with background in street papers, film, and production


The Big Issue South Africa Offices


Today was the day that we were prepared for on Wednesday. Although Wednesday had taken us by surprise with the sudden, unprepared introduction to the vendors and only a brief discussion with Trudy, we felt that we were ready to have a true discussion of thoughts, ideas, and logistics with our liaison.

We met with Trudy as well as Chelsea, an American woman who will likely be a co-researcher for the project. We initially met with Chelsea at a cafe in Woodstock before we walked to work. We were able to discuss with her many thoughts and aspects about the project while learning a lot from her about Cape Town and her past experiences working for NGOs, street papers, and the film industry. Not only do we feel that we’re gaining a co-researcher in Chelsea but we also feel as though we are gaining a friend whose experience from living in Cape Town since January 2014 will prove priceless while we try to adapt.

Upon meeting with Trudy we quickly realized that we were on the same page as far as our vision for the project. We discussed what we had researched and planned when working on the proposal back at WPI and we told her what our vision for the video would be. During our preparation phase we learned that The Big Issue was planning on creating an online platform for the vendors. Trudy explained how they hope to create some form of template that could be used to create vendor biographical videos that they could create for every vendor’s page. They hoped that they could do this in an easy, inexpensive manner. This was great because we mentioned that in our final outcomes, we had the desire to create some sort of guideline that they could use to continue the project after we have left. We came to the conclusion that they could create a standard format and list of questions to be answered by vendors in videos so that all the videos could be short and follow a recursive theme. Trudy suggested this would be good because it allows The Big Issue to build a new aspect of their brand which, in turn, helps the vendors sell their magazine.

Overall it was a good meeting and we discussed many ideas along the lines of the logistics, the planning, and people who may be able to help us with our project. At this point, we’re all excited for our meeting on Tuesday which will include every single person who will be working on this online platform. This includes people on their idea team, website team, editing team, management team, our advisors, and the off-site developers working on the backend for the platform. It should be a productive meeting and we should be able to talk to everyone who we could consider a character in this project.


Ari: This meeting was a fantastic meeting! We really connected with Trudy and found out the direction we wanted for the project. It felt really nice to know that we were all on the same page and could understand each other and what was needed from the project itself. It was nice to find out that Trudy really wants to use PhotoVoice. We did a lot of research into this main idea and it’s nice to know that what we learned will be able to be used with the Vendors.

Gianna: I am really happy with the meeting we had with Trudy today! Yesterday I was nervous that Trudy would not like our plans or want to change them drastically. After speaking with Trudy, however, I was surprised to see how she was almost exactly on the same page as us. I felt like she sat in on every meeting we ever had during the preparation term. I was happy to see how excited she was to hear our ideas and work with us. She is going to be very fun to work with.

Jordon: This meeting was phenomenal! It was really exciting and empowering for us to find out the that The Big Issue and more specifically, Trudy, is on the same page as us. We had a fantastic time figuring out some logistics and planning some of the finer aspect of the video and website. We’re mostly looking forward to Tuesday at this point since that is when we will be having a major meeting with all of the teams involved in this project. Trudy also helped us find some key individuals who will help us facilitate interviews as well as translation. I can’t wait until Tuesday!

Nadjia: Through this meeting we learned that we were on the same exact page as Trudy and this could not make me happier. She seemed really excited about the project and the potential it had. She had great ideas to improve the ease of this, such as using Andy, one of the interns, as an intern. The only thing I’m concerned about is the whole look and feel of the website that Trudy wants. Because of this aspect the whole participatory video idea was not something Trudy wanted. This was a bit disappointing just because we had done so much research on this and this was the main focus. But Trudy did like the whole idea of PhotoVoice which we had researched a little bit, so more research will need to be done, so she gets a better idea of what it is. But I am excited about this project because Trudy just can’t wait to get started.

Continue to Scene 3: Getting Techie