Who We Are

A COLLABORATION OF STORY TELLERS & CHANGE AGENTS

Mycelium Media Colab is a co-operative of multimedia creatives and regenerators working together towards a healthy and sustainable world. We’re a collaborative enterprise with a strong focus on communication for change, producing compelling content and experiences that shift people’s mindsets. We collaborate with academics, activists, dreamers, big thinkers, movers & shakers, and those who want to grow a regenerative world. Bringing together the talents, skills, resources and energy of multimedia creatives, we offer a networking, support and income-generation platform for members and affiliates. We provide a range of professional services and also develop and implement our own initiatives. Mycelium was established as a co-operative in February 2018, and operates in a horizontal, transparent structure with a focus on positive solutions-based thinking and action. Our innovative practice explores participatory commons in media, with an aim to connect media engagement with action in the world.

The pressure and pain our earth is experiencing now has reached a point where change has to come about and I’ve been wondering for the longest time how would I be able to make a difference. Through this co-op I’ve finally found my voice and I believe that we can create a better planet through working together.

Kia Johnson, Founding Member & Presenter

Collaborative envisioning and portraying of an inclusive, equitable and abundant future is key to disrupting, re-imagining and transforming current harmful ways of living on the planet.

Stef Swanepoel, Founding Member, Researcher & Writer

Collaboration is not about glueing together existing egos. It’s about the ideas that never existed until after everyone entered the room.

My focus is on creating a better world, through connecting like minded communities, creating new systems and sharing information & stories about alternative options, so that we can work towards the tipping point that can truly shift things.

Natalie Nolte, Founding Member, Designer & Film Maker

We can only open our eyes and hearts to the wilderness and the wisdom it is trying to teach us, by knowing, understanding and being aware. The fast-paced modern world we live in often creates a veil over everything and it’s not always easy to connect. By sharing stories, wisdom and ideas with everyone, we can create shifts within people to ‘renature’ and ‘rewild’ themselves.

Jacqueline van Meygaarden, Founding Member & Film Maker

My drive has always been to share stories that uplift and shift thinking and this is one of the profound aspects of Mycelium – through sharing projects and experiences, we aim to create a sustainable future and to have fun whilst doing it!

Lara Taylor, Founding Member & Film Maker

Creativity is our greatest gift as humans. It springs from the creativity of evolution and life itself. As regenerative storytellers, we are part of that creativity as life defends herself from destruction. So for me, Mycelium is life regenerating through creativity.

Jemima Spring, Founding Member & Film Maker

What We Do

MULTIMEDIA COMMUNICATION FOR REGENERATION

The co-operative holds a networking and support space for people and organisations working in the environmental and social regeneration sectors. It provides income-generating opportunities through the creation and distribution of content as well as offering services including:

  • Video production and content creation
  • Copywriting and research
  • Graphic and web design
  • TV presenting
  • Live events and facilitation
  • Digital storytelling platforms
  • Event media coverage
  • Social media campaign management
  • Photography
  • Media skills training
  • E-learning material development
  • Communication strategy development

We also create our own initiatives and hold our own media presence. Further to this we aim to help young talent grow their skills, share their unique stories and make the necessary contacts to enter into the workspace. Ownership of projects is shared between the creators and the cooperative.

Our Ethos

CREATIVE, POSITIVE & SOLUTIONS-BASED

Vision

The world is facing an unprecedented crisis, significant environmental degradation, deepening social inequality and economic collapse. These interlinked crises are exacerbated by man-made climate change. We will only overcome these challenges and be able to bring about a sustainable and regenerative world by working together to rebuild our connections and relationships with natural systems, and with each other.

Our vision is a healthy, regenerated world, and a wholesome future for the next generation.

Our main goals are to:

  • Produce content and experiences that educate, empower and support the creation of a regenerative world
  • Create and maintain a network of multi-media practitioners and communicators
  • Find and create income-generating opportunities for members
  • Assist content creators to be sustainable in the sector

We can bring about positive societal change by collaboratively producing and amplifying quality socio-environmental content through creative mediums. This content aims to shift ways of seeing and relating to the world around us.

Values

Our values are based on those of the International Co-operative Alliance: self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. We also embrace the values of collaboration, honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. Our value system acknowledges the need to combat the significant levels of inequality in South Africa, particularly those related to race and gender.

We have chosen to work through the cooperative model because it offers economies of scale and scope, increased bargaining power, a space for learning, and the ability to offer value to our members and broader society.

Our values guide the way we approach our collaborations with each other and the wider world, this includes the messaging we put out as Mycelium, the projects we create, and the meetings we hold internally and with the network.

We are disruptors that take a gentle and peaceful approach with high impact. We focus on positive, creative, problem solving for regeneration. We are mindful, compassionate, respectful and inclusive. We listen, and create space for all voices and views to be heard equally, in a conscious and open way.

Members

TOGETHER WE CAN DO MORE

CO-OPERATIVE MEMBERS

There are six founding members involved in the day-to-day running and growing of the co-operative. These are the official co-op members who work as co-directors in a horizontal leadership structure. They oversee all the projects that are run through Mycelium, and also manage the Mycelium Network, and host the mixer events for participants. Each member brings their own unique skills, knowledge and experience and embodies a vision to create regenerative change through a collaborative approach. Their biographies can be found below.

NETWORK MEMBERS

The Mycelium Network is an informal connection space within the co-operative that is open to all multimedia storytellers, creatives and regenerators that share our vision of bringing about collaborative and transformative change. Its purpose is for participants to creatively cross-pollinate while sharing skills and inspiration. Biographies of our network members can be found here, and you can follow this link to read more about network benefits and how to join.

Co-operative Members

CO-DIRECTORS & CORE TEAM

KIA JOHNSON   |    Public Relations

Quirky and ambitious Kia Johnson is a radio presenter on Smile 90.4FM she hosts Smile Saturday Breakfast 7-10am and Smile Cape Town Classics 9-11pm. She’s also your your traffic-eye in the sky on MetroFM, SAFM and Radio 2000, and has you streaming on weekdays, exploring real-life women’s issues on the online talk show All Woman TV. Johnson presented and produced for the Expresso Morning Show on SABC3, then went on to launch her own TV show, Life of KJ, a show that excelled in profiling individuals in the community who have turned their unfavourable conditions into stories of hope. She’s also an MC, blogger and WWF South Africa Ambassador. 

Natalie Nolte
NATALIE NOLTE   |    Communications

Natalie has a love for multimedia as a tool for transformation. Born into a family of artists, creativity runs through her veins. With 20 years experience working in various media from graphic and web design to film, she has a vast overview of how these channels can pull together to create material that is engaging and has effective messaging. Her passion lies in using these tools to create change towards environmental and social regeneration. Natalie has vast international experience, she has worked in agencies in London, and continues to work with organisations around the world. Her creativity is complemented by her efficient, proactive and organised approach which makes her highly proficient in the roles she takes on.

Jemima Spring
JEMIMA SPRING   |    Co-Chair

Jemima is a director, writer, editor and consulting producer, with 25 years experience in film and television. She is a passionate believer in the transformational potential of storytelling and collaboration as powerful tools for personal and social change. Jemima’s work has been broadcast in South Africa and internationally, and shown at festivals. Recent credits include Bornfrees Turning 18 and Generation Free for ETV; and Disney Cookabout, which was awarded a Safta in 2016, and in 2017 nominated for a Safta and an International Kids Emmy. A career focus has been showcasing inspirational South Africans in different ways, and she has a personal commitment to sustainability and regeneration, and to the role of media in creating a viable future for humanity.

LARA TAYLOR
LARA TAYLOR   |    Secretary

With a background in Social Anthropology, Lara has dedicated over 20 years to sharing human stories through the lens of a camera. Her journey has been a heartfelt exploration, taking her on adventures around the world. She brings a strong sense of vision and determination to her work, coupled with an innate ability to connect with people at a deep level. Listening is her superpower, allowing stories to naturally unfold and voices to be heard. In addition to traditional filmmaking, she has worked with stop-frame animation, mobile phone videography, and producing creative e-learning courses. Regardless of the medium, her focus is always on creating impact. The heart of her motivation lies in the incredible individuals she meets and the stories they entrust to her. She is driven by the opportunity to leave a lasting impression and influence positive change through the magic of storytelling. She collaborates with Mycelium members on various projects including Kos Gangsters, which won best Documentary in 2020,  5050 inserts, as well as their currently in-development TV series, Wild Pantry.

STEF SWANEPOEL
STEF SWANEPOEL   |    Treasurer

Stef is an experienced writer, researcher and lecturer with a focus on sustainable and regenerative systems, in particular food and farming systems. She has conducted work for organisations such as the World Bank, United Kingdom Department for International Development, Oxfam Germany, United Nations Environment Programme and the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Facility. Local projects include researching and drafting sustainability reports for the Shoprite Group, researching African food systems for the African Centre for Biodiversity and videography production for the Western Cape LandCare programme. She lectures on food systems, activism and creative expression at the Sustainability Institute. Stefanie is a director of African Earth Rights, a communications consultancy, and is the communications manager for the German government-funded Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture in Southern Africa, the French Development Agency’s Biodiversity Partners Program Southern Africa and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation’s Green Action Week campaign.

JACQUELINE VAN MEYGAARDEN
JACQUELINE VAN MEYGAARDEN   |    Co-Chair

South African producer and director, Jacqueline van Meygaarden has over 20 years of experience as a storyteller, initially in multimedia feminist visual theatre, then switched to non-fiction filmmaking to reach wider audiences. Jacqueline was awarded the Commonwealth Vision Award (2007) for her short film Free Energy; produced climate justice campaign content for 350.org in Africa; produces factual content for the SABC; and has directed a number of short documentary films. Her company, Cosmos Productions produced and toured visual theatre shows on sustainable development to schools around the Western Cape in 2011, and she continually develops stories on environmental justice and climate change.  She is currently co-producing and directing on HOTSPOT, a series of documentary feature films about climate justice in Southern African. She co-directed on Temperature Rising (2023), the first film to be released in this series, which will be part of a nationwide impact campaign.

Founders

Mycelium Media Colab was co-founded in 2018 by Kia Johnson, Helena Kingwell, Natalie Nolte, Jemima Spring, Stef Swanepoel, Lara Taylor and Jacqueline van Meygaarden.

Founding members celebrating the official signing and launch of Mycelium Media Colab.