Search Results for: social artist

All posts collaboration

Lloyd Davis becomes a social artist in collaboration

I’m so pleased to see that Lloyd Davis of Tuttle Club fame will be working at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, and doubly pleased that he is being called Social Artist in Residence. It’s a terms I first heard from Etienne Wenger a year or so back, applied to people “who can create a space where people can find their own sense of learning citizenship”. Lovely term, for a lovely guy. Now … anyone like a social reporter in residence?

Update: Tessy Britton asks: Do social artists need patronage? read more »

All posts citizenship leadership Organisations politics

Could blogging bosses '08 become social artists '09?

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA,  is writing about new progressivism in a series of blog posts this week. I particularly like the suggestion that he makes for greater focus on political ends instead of means, and a shift in the nature of debate. I believe that the 27,000-strong membership of the RSA could be an excellent testbed for the social artistry needed to achieve this. read more »

Social reporters (and anyone else) as social artists

I’ve come away from the Powering a New Future conference in Lisbon with three interlocking reflections on developing the concept and practice of social reporting – and a new conclusion about what it means to be a social reporter.

My conclusion, inspired by Etienne Wenger – above – is that social reporters can aspire to be “social artists” who help create social learning spaces where people can work together on social issues. It’s something anyone can do, with the right attitude and some skills, but I think social reporters should definitely make it a key part of their work. read more »

RSA shows how social networks can support Changemakers

Over the past few years the RSA’s Connected Communities project has developed methods for mapping who knows who in neighbourhoods, and how they can form a social network. It is fascinating to see the maps that emerge … but how can this approach be turned to the advantage of the community?

Social network analysis now forms the basis for an innovative programme in Peterborough, where the RSA’s Citizen Power project has used SNA to identify Changemakers who could work together for the benefit of the city. Their recently published report says:

Among those we identified were members of the clergy, artists, head teachers, social entrepreneurs, housing officers, charity workers, police officers, businessmen and everyday council officers. The results of our surveying indicate that such individuals are adept at driving positive change in their local areas. They appear rooted in their communities, have an impressive repertoire of capabilities, and are instilled with an appetite to apply their skills and knowledge to address local issues.

As Ben Dellot explains here, it is particularly important to identify people who can drive change at a time when public services are being cut back. Some will know each other – but many won’t have connected across public, private and voluntary sectors.

Together they should be able to achieve more than they could without the benefit of wider network connections.

The network is already meeting, as you can see from this report on the Citizen Power online community site. In true networky style, they ran the event as open space session rather than a committee

The aim is for the network to be self-sustaining, as the RSA withdraws. The initiative has been supported by RSA Fellows (members), and this makes it easier to replicate the process in other areas and eventually build a network of networks through which Changemakers can find others with similar interests.

I think it is going to be fascinating to see how people from different organisational backgrounds work out how to organise within a networked context … and how any projects teams they form on a peer-to-peer basis can then work with more formal organisations in the city.

Will they operate on a purely voluntary basis? If they do need funds, how will that be handled? How are application to join the network made? Will they be criticised as an elitist group? How will decisions be taken?

All of these are issues that I think we’ll have to face more widely as we try and make the most of the human and social assets in our communities, and move beyond, or re-invent, the civic structures developed over the past century.

Of course, there have always been social networks in civil society. What’s perhaps different here is the attempt to develop ones that deliberately connect across sectors and disciplines. As the RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor blogged recently:

It is in spaces and processes which bring together people with different interests, expertise and resources that innovation is most likely to occur. It is also here that we can identify ‘the hidden wealth’ (a capacity for creativity, generosity, trust and solidarity) which often lies dormant trapped between specialisms and hierarchies and crushed by narrow incentives.

The Changemakers network in Peterborough looks as if it will be an excellent test of just what is possible through this approach.

Socialreporter resolutions: Make Sense, Be Positive, Help Out

I came up with the term social reporter a couple of years back to bundle up my experiences in journalism, community engagement, partnerships, and social media. But what’s the essence? A neat little iphone mindmapping app (via Neill Williams) helped me distill three social reporting principles, as you can see here. Given the time of year they could be resolutions: Make Sense, Be Positive, Help Out. read more »

Reflections on social reporting an event

After a couple of days social reporting at a conference in Lisbon, my co-reporters Bev Trayner, Josien Kapma and I decided we should turn the camera on ourselves and reflect on what worked well – or didn’t. read more »

All posts Big Society

Popse! takes think tanking onto the street

I have to confess that I wasn’t paying much attention to the tweets this week from @popupthinktank … until I met up with Nick Temple at the On Purpose party. It was an occasion where the formal presentations were interesting, but the chance to sit outside and have a quiet beer with a few old and new acquaintances was even more engaging. It is these conversations that most often leave me with the new idea or connection.

I discovered that Nick, formerly head of policy at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, had joined up with some other free agents, social artists, creative collaborators and generally sparky types and turned hanging out into a new form of Think Tank. Of course, there was a bit more to it than that, and I had to find out for myself with a trip to Exmouth Market, in Clerkenwell. read more »

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Objects from home connect local lives

Often the most interesting stories crop up by chance, and so it proved when I was looking around the other day for a new theme for this blog – now in place.

I found the Codium Extended theme, but needed to change a couple of things, and so looked at the list of fixes. There I came upon a reference to the Urban Words blog written by Sarah Butler.

I was fascinated by the many projects Sarah has worked on, exploring how writing relates to place – and amongst them saw that Sarah and Eva Sajovic were last week celebrating the end of an artist residency at the Cuming Museum in Southwark.  Their blog of the project, Collecting Home, explained:

We will work with residents local to The Cuming Museum, Walworth, to explore themes of collection, home, immigration and multi-culturalism, and to re-imagine, re-interpret and re-present the museum collection both within and outside of the building.

We are asking local residents to select objects from their own lives, which they would put into a museum: objects that represent themselves, their home lives, or the history of the area. Eva and Sarah will be making a new exhibition within the museum showcasing these local objects (either their stories, or the objects themselves).

I went along to have a chat, and found that the Home from Home exhibition associated with the project builds on the tradition of the museum, that was established in 1906 to house exhibits collected during the course of 100 years by father and son Richard and Henry Cuming. At first these were all stored and displayed in their home.

As you can see from the blog, Collecting Home has used photography, workshops, conversations around objects, and a host of creative activities to engage local residents and schools. I particularly liked the ceramic book cover designed in collaboration between Sarah and Eva and produced by Eva.

I have come upon the idea of “social objects” before … explained here by Hugh Macleod in relation to social networking online.

The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the rea­son two peo­ple are tal­king to each other, as oppo­sed to tal­king to some­body else. Human beings are social ani­mals. We like to socia­lize. But if you think about it, there needs to be a rea­son for it to hap­pen in the first place. That rea­son, that “node” in the social net­work, is what we call the Social Object.

By inviting people to share things from their homes, Sarah and Eva made their contributions social objects that stimulated conversations and helped create some new relationships in the neighbourhood.

I’ve now discovered that a blog theme can also be a social object, if you are prepared to get out of the home office.

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Joining The Amazings for street photography and sociability

I spent yesterday at An Amazing event on street photography … by which I mean in part that it was organised by The Amazings, a social enterprise in East London helping people  who have retired, or are about to retire, to share their skills. Also it actually was amazing, in a gentle sort of way.

The invitation was simple:

Spend the day with Andrew and learn all there is to know about the art of street photography.

Andrew is an exhibiting photographer and screen printer, who takes inspiration from the likes of Cartier Bresson. The session will start with a basic introduction to Andrew’s work, street photography and top tips on how to use your digital camera or DSLR. Then you’ll hit the streets, learning how best to choose a subject and how to take the perfect shot. Andrew’s activity is for experienced and beginner photographers alike who want to learn more about capturing the streets of Hackney.

The session will end at Hackney Central Library where you can compare each others efforts and learn from each others work in a creative critique session.

I paid my £25, turned up … and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Could I experiment with my iPhone 4s, and the add-on lenses I had bought from Photojojo? I had brought along a little Leica D-Lux 4 in case not. There were lot of rather more impressive-looking Canon SLRs …

In the event, Andrew Pegram explained that success in street photography wasn’t about the kit, but being unobtrusive, standing outside what is happening, looking for the moment. Choosing, framing and isolating. There were some useful notes to back up his talk … and then we went for a circular walk. Across London Frields, down Broadway market, along the canal, and back up Mare Street.

It was a delightful couple of hours. Partly because the route has lots to offer, including a great salt beef bagel in the market, partly because taking photos pushed me to look more carefully, partly because wandering about with a group of friendly strangers with something in common to talk about  soon becomes an engaging social experience.

I ended up using the Leica rather than the iPhone, apart from a little video I shot with Andrew. I regretted afterwards that I hadn’t used an exernal  mic … but then thought this might have reduced the spontaneity.

Back in the library, at the end of the walk, we compared shots, and I found I was a little envious of the long lenses on the Canons for some purposes.

I love the idea – and experience – of The Amazings because it is positive, simple, encouraging to older people, and inclusive of anyone who wants to share and to learn. I left thinking how those joining groups could carry on and share more of their skills. I see an Amazing network emerging. I’m in.

Get to know the neighbours through mediascapes

After the inspiration of AppsforGood in Tulse Hill, I found more evidence last week in another part of London of the scope for using mobile phones to engage people both young and old in thinking about their neighbourhood – and meeting their neighbours. read more »