On January 19, 2021, MATV will officially changed its business name to UMA, an acronym that stands for “Urban Media Arts.” For those who have been following our journey, you may be saying “Well it’s about time! We’ve been hearing ‘MATV, soon to be UMA’ for over a year now!” And you would be correct. We first announced the new name fifteen months ago at our Annual Celebration in October of 2019.
But becoming UMA turned out to be more than a new name and a logo change. Though the reason for changing our name was borne from the evolution of our growth from a cable TV station to a multi-media center serving the community both in and beyond Malden, defining our new identity involved a lot of hard work and exploration. Reflecting back, it was actually the pandemic that helped us hone in, crystallize our mission and define who we are becoming.
When life as we knew it ground to a halt, we had to find new ways to fulfill our mission to “connect community, promote civic engagement, and nurture arts and culture in the city of Malden.” The first order of business was to get critical local information regarding the coronavirus out to the community. We worked hand in hand with the mayor’s office to produce the (then) weekly Coronavirus Update show, and distribute it on cable television, video-on-demand and social media platforms.
Our Neighborhood View citizen journalists stepped up to report on a wide range of stories about how the pandemic is affecting our community. From the very start of the lockdown to the present day, we have been documenting the stories of our local residents, businesses, organizations and institutions. For most communities, this crisis was the final straw for the death of local journalism, but Neighborhood View has been re-invigorated as our team steps into the gap and tells the unfolding story of this historic time in our city’s history.
The need for connection was never greater. We found ways to use virtual platforms, creative thinking and new technology tools to outreach, engage and foster meaningful connection in our community and with people and places across the globe. Working in collaboration with Tom Flint, founder of the Filmbuilding initiative, we are using a discovery-based approach to co-creative filmmaking. Currently done in an all-virtual format, Filmbuilding crosses boundaries of cultural differences and creates a shared experience that deepens our connection and sense of common humanity. Likewise with our storytelling workshops, collaborative programs and virtual events that bring people together from all walks of life to explore the terrain of the human experience.
UMA, it turns out, is more than a physical place – a location at 145 Pleasant St. It is an interconnected hub of evolving community that can transcend boundaries of time and distance and the challenges of a pandemic to explore our histories, share our stories and foster meaningful dialog. Working together as a community hub, we provide opportunities for shared experiences that encourage creativity, collaboration and problem-solving.
Though we will change our logo and our name on January 19, we are still becoming UMA. YOU are a part of becoming UMA. We hope you continue to join us on our journey.