Been there, got the T-Shirt

If you'd like a Swindon Viewpoint t-shirts or mug we have them for sale now in our shop on cafepress. These are the same classic designs that Viewpoint used in the 70s and 80s!

And we've also got mugs available:

A new year, a new feature. Meet our timeline explorer

We've just launched a brand new feature on the site, the ability to find videos in our library on a timeline.

We have a huge archive of film and video which we are continually placing online. As this grows it is quickly becoming clear that we need a way to present these videos in the context that they were produced relative to each other. This is a great resource for local history groups, schools and just those of you who want to learn more about the history of the Swindon area. You will find videos on the timeline produced all the way back to 1913 and right up to last week!

The timeline explorer is pretty straight forward to use, just jump right in and start dragging it from left to right to see what you can find. Click on the items in the top pane to view more details and watch the videos on our site.

We'd love to hear how you get on with this, if you have any problems or can see ways to make it even better just get in touch!

Season's Greetings from Swindon Viewpoint

Season’s Greetings to all Swindon Viewpoint’s registered users, Facebook friends and followers on Twitter.

2010 was a productive year for Viewpoint and saw a general increase in activity in many areas. We made great progress with extending coverage of the social and cultural life of the town, and 23 contemporary musicians, bands or solo acts were added to our already extensive roster from previous decades; - coupled with 20 fascinating local visual artists now profiled in the ‘Artpoint’ series.

Perhaps the greatest push of the year was made for the ‘Big Arts Day’, held at Lydiard Park in the summer. For this special event in Swindon’s calendar, stalwart Viewpoint producers Ana Kelly and Colin Radbourne were supplemented by Will Bryant, who provided a much valued extra camera, along with Michelle Barron and brilliant new young interviewers Rhiana Young and Pearce Barron. We all enjoyed ourselves immensely, gathered miles of footage, and so far 40 videos have resulted, ranging from up and coming talent at the Youth Music Tent, - to Swindon’s already very successful Beatbullyz: Local artists and craftsman showing their wares - to street dance. Thanks also due to Paul Bullimore who helped with sound at the main stage.

On a sadder note, Viewpoint recently lost an ardent supporter, Roy Cozens, who died in early December after several years’ illness. Roy served as one of the Directors of Viewpoint for almost 20 years. He never swerved in his belief in the value of Viewpoint to Swindon, even during the darkest days and turned out to help time after time; - beginning with weeks of physical labour to help convert the top floor of the Town Hall to a production studio for Viewpoint in the early eighties.

With just a few glitches, the equipment we are using to digitise our archive of past recordings has remained mostly reliable and we have made steady progress on the treasure trove, managing to put out about half a dozen new (old!) videos each week. The aim is to try and keep this up as a complement to current videos that are produced. We have many more amazing visual documents of our town to make available as resources permit.

That said we could do with more volunteer involvement to really make things swing, so if you would like to get involved in making TV programmes around and about your town, do get in touch. It’s a lot easier than you may believe; - and very satisfying. There are all kinds of roles you can play and you don’t have to be a technical wizard, but for those of you who would like to learn to use a camera better, we can provide training workshops in video production. If you would like to take advantage of this, please register your interest via the contact form on the website.

There are now approaching a thousand videos on so if you haven’t checked in lately, do take the time to explore beyond the front page, try some searches, or use the ‘Tag Cloud’. We aren’t solely about local film and video either, volunteer Judith Wilkinson has been steadily working away at the ‘Then and Now’ area of the site, which we provide in co-operation with The Swindon Society, and this collection of historic photographs of Swindon, complemented where possible with a contemporary angle, is now very extensive indeed.

Visitor numbers to the website have increased steadily since its launch, and in the middle of this year we climbed past a benchmark 2,000 unique visitors a month. So at last we can say we have thousands of viewers!

Here’s hoping you share our view that Swindon Viewpoint is very special indeed. The rest of the internet excels at serving communities of interest (those that cluster around particular subject areas), whereas we are pioneering making it serve a geographical community.

So continue to use the service, get involved if you can, and let us know of any ways we might improve… and of course have a very enjoyable holiday and a Happy New Year.

Martin Parry

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