Shared Spaces booklet

people making videos at a community allotmentShared Spaces: How to use all sorts of technology to help get things done in your neighbourhood

Over the last three years, people in lots of local neighbourhoods have been experimenting with how best to use web sites, text messages and other useful tools such as timebanking to help them get things done. Together, we’ve created some new spaces (both online and offline) where everyone can share what they know.

We’ve also worked out an approach that’s helped people from lots of different organisations – including community forums, food growers, social enterprises, tenant groups, council officers, neighbourhood police and organisations who support vulnerable adults – to get things done.

In the Shared Spaces booklet, you can find out more about this approach and some of the tools that are available to help you in your neighbourhood. The booklet is useful for community and voluntary groups, community activists, ward councillors, council officers and other public service officers who are working in neighbourhoods or with the voluntary sector.

Please share it with anyone who might be interested, and please get in touch if you’d like some printed copies.

Shared Spaces booklet (pdf)
Shared Spaces text (pdf)

Andrew Wilson & Diane Sims

Social Media Surgery – 24th January 2011


Huddersfield Social Media Surgery
Monday 24th January
from 4.30pm to 7pm

In Cafe Ollo at The Media Centre
Northumberland Street
Huddersfield HD1 1RL

Are you interested in using blogs, text messages, Facebook, Twitter and other free web sites (sometimes called “social media”) to help a voluntary group or organisation that you belong to? Want to find out how you can use free web sites and services to organise activities, promote events, collect feedback and keep a record of everything you do?

Please come along to our free drop-in advice sessions for community and voluntary groups, clubs, societies, charities and small arts organisations.

At the surgery you’ll get chance to sit down and have a cup of tea with someone who understands about web sites and tell them about your group or organisation and what you do. Then you’ll be able to look at the kinds of web sites and services that you might find helpful, and see what similar groups are doing.

Thinking of getting your group online? Already got a web site that is difficult or expensive to update? Looking for an easier way to share information, photos and videos online? Drop in any time for free advice.

Social media surgeries leaflet – September 2010 to January 2011

 

Social Media Surgery – 22nd November 2010

 
Huddersfield Social Media Surgery
Monday 22nd November, 4.30pm to 7pm

In Cafe Ollo at The Media Centre
Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL

Are you interested in using blogs, text messages, Facebook, Twitter and other free web sites (sometimes called “social media”) to help a voluntary group or organisation that you belong to? Want to find out how you can use free web sites and services to organise activities, promote events, collect feedback and keep a record of everything you do?

Please come along to one of our free drop-in advice sessions for community and voluntary groups, clubs, societies, charities and small arts organisations.

At the surgery you’ll get chance to sit down and have a cup of tea with someone who understands about web sites and tell them about your group or organisation and what you do. Then you’ll be able to look at the kinds of web sites and services that you might find helpful, and see what similar groups are doing.

Thinking of getting your group online? Already got a web site that is difficult or expensive to update? Looking for an easier way to share information, photos and videos online? Drop in any time for free advice.

Social media surgeries leaflet – September 2010 to January 2011

Upside-down democracy

Our ‘All sorts of technology and democracy’ discussion on 16th September 2010 was a bit of exploration on our part, a bit of setting off on a journey without knowing quite where we were going, how long it might last, or who was coming along with us. We didn’t know what sort of a response we’d get on the day (not least due to our last-minute promotional efforts), or where the conversation might take us, but we’re grateful to The Media Centre (who hosted the event as part of their ‘Knowledge Sandwich’ series) for giving us the opportunity to find out.

For starters, we discovered that lots of people are interested in this subject – our discussion was over-subscribed, with some very welcome ‘gatecrashers’ (their word, not ours) and several other people sending their apologies. We had an interesting mix of participants, including members of charities and community projects, council officers and people who work with digital media.

Andrew valiantly led the expedition with a look at some different democratic models (which you can find out more about at: www.delicious.com/fisharepeopletoo/all_sorts). This got us thinking about what we mean by democracy. Some suggestions were that democracy is about representation, that it’s about choice, or that it’s maybe about everything. Most people seemed interested in very local action (or interaction), but we didn’t reach any consensus about what democracy means to us on a local level.

What quickly became apparent to me was that we were exploring two very different ways of looking at democratic engagement. Some people talked about how we might use technology to have a say about what (or where) services are provided – how to influence the existing system. Others talked about how we might turn the whole thing on its head by creating alternative ways of doing things that aren’t dependent on service providers at all – how to help people get things done for themselves.

The conversation made me realise that my own view of democracy is the upside-down version, because I’ve already seen alternative models working in my own neighbourhood. Timebanking is one such method of valuing what people have to offer and of building up community networks. Alan made the point that this is a very different approach from most service provision, which starts with looking at what people don’t have – with gaps and deficiencies – and fails to value those things which we have in abundance. I’m interested in finding out how we can use technology to do more things that build on the skills people already have and to make connections between them.

We also talked about the value of connectedness. As we were discussing ways of people getting things done for themselves, Steve asked the question of whether there are really enough people within our neighbourhoods who are willing to take on the responsibility of power. He quite rightly said that taking responsibility for doing something where you live is about far more than joining a social networking site – standing on your head can be quite a strain. So how can we use technology to grow those essential offline networks, to build confidence, strengthen our communities and find new ways of doing things?

It was a thought-provoking discussion, which could have gone on much longer, and which has kept us thinking (and doing) since. It was only afterwards that I realised how little we’d talked about councillors (I think councillors only got a mention once, with a comment that most people don’t know who their councillors are) and that we’d barely touched on issues of accessibility and inclusion. You can get a good sense of the full discussion by looking at our Tweets from ‘All sorts of technology and democracy’.

Most of all, this was a conversation about how to get things done, perhaps with some wildly differing views but also with a common will to use technology in a way that helps people to achieve things. So really we had to conclude our discussion by deciding to do something. And what we decided to do was to make a collection of places to listen, to find out what’s important to people, and to look for the people who can tell engaging stories about the places where they live.

And I decided to carry on standing on my head – who knows, I may eventually find my balance.

Andrew’s blog:

Any Plan Will Do. But We Came Up with a Good Plan

Summary of our discussion:

Tweets from ‘All sorts of technology and democracy’

Themes from All Sorts of Technology and Democracy

Models of democracy:

www.delicious.com/fisharepeopletoo/all_sorts

Notes from All Sorts of Technology and Democracy introduction

Example of a local Timebanking project:

Newsome Ward Timebanking

The ‘triple bottom line’ approach:

nef (new economics foundation) – Valuing what matters

Tweets from ‘All sorts of technology and democracy’

Messages that we posted on Twitter during our ‘All sorts of technology and democracy’ discussion on 16th September 2010, as an image:



———————————————————————————————————————-
& as plain text:

We’re at The Media Centre talking about different democratic models and how technolgy is being used in Kirklees at the moment.

How does participation happen and why? Do people only engage when they need services? Do we focus too much on what people don’t have?

If we focus too much on deficiencies, we fail to value people’s skills and what they can contribute – we under-value things in abundance.

Why don’t we approach neighbourhoods by asking what people can offer – start with what they have and their passions.

Consultations that ask what people want maybe less effective than asking what people do.

Conversations are different from a Q and A. Social media involves listening, not leading.

“There is a problem in Kirklees – the name”. People don’t identify with the name, online or offline.

People need to identify with the place they live in order to engage with their community.

We’ve been tied up with service delivery thinking so long that it’s difficult to change.

What if we made the whole thing a game? Farmville with the winner affecting change in their neighbourhood?

Lot of support here for working with neighbourhoods. Engagement = local.

Are there enough people in neighbourhoods who want to take on the responsibility of power, rather than be happy for someone else to do it?
We need to look at the triple bottom line – economic, social and environmental value. Cash isn’t going to solve all our problems.

Can we use techonolgy to create an asset base?

Do we know where / how to listen?

“I hear Facebook mentioned on the bus every day.” But the bus is a social platform too – people are talking about all sorts on the bus.

I think we’re talking about connectedness again.

Is democracy about representation? Is it about choice? Is it about everything?

People taking responsibility for doing things in their own neighbourhoods is about more than joining a social networking site.

Are we due a revolution?

We need to put the Social before the Media – we have to build up community networks. Do we have the right tools for that?

There is a bird’s nest community way of communicating that outside organisations tend to screw up.

Are reciprocal systems managed as well offline?

“Local communities don’t exist.” I beg to differ…

We’re going to make a collection of places to listen, to hear what’s important to people.

We’re also going to look for the people who can tell emotional, engaging stories about the places where they live.

We have a plan.

Social Media Surgery – 20th September 2010

 
Huddersfield Social Media Surgery
Monday 20th September, 4.30pm to 7pm

In Cafe Ollo at The Media Centre
Northumberland Street, Huddersfield HD1 1RL

Are you interested in using blogs, text messages, Facebook, Twitter and other free web sites (sometimes called “social media”) to help a voluntary group or organisation that you belong to? Want to find out how you can use free web sites and services to organise activities, promote events, collect feedback and keep a record of everything you do?

Please come along to one of our free drop-in advice sessions for community and voluntary groups, clubs, societies, charities and small arts organisations.

At the surgery you’ll get chance to sit down and have a cup of tea with someone who understands about web sites and tell them about your group or organisation and what you do. Then you’ll be able to look at the kinds of web sites and services that you might find helpful, and see what similar groups are doing.

Thinking of getting your group online? Already got a web site that is difficult or expensive to update? Looking for an easier way to share information, photos and videos online? Drop in any time for free advice.

Social media surgeries leaflet – September 2010 to January 2011