Tagged: creativity

Experiments and reflections on digital media community exploration

As someone with a huge passion for  exploring my local environment and digging into the history and architecture of an area, and ways of presenting this creatively I am rather taken by a project which I found on Twitter called “Walk My World”, the invention of William O’Byrne who is based in Newhaven, USA.  The idea is that you carry out a journey, once a week, and then record and share that using various digital media tools (he suggests Twitter, Vine and Instagram and produces a handy guide for newcomers to these on his site).  There’s still an opportunity to take part if you wish… join in!

I personally have not used Instagram much as until fairly recently I didn’t have a phone with a very good camera (it was quite a low resolution), preferring to play with my SLR, but since I got a new phone in November I have been playing with the many free and low cost apps which allow you to snap, shoot and share your view of the world.  The Walk My World project seemed a good time to try out Instagram.. so I took a wander around Govanhill in Glasgow.

A wonderful multi-lingual community cafe, in an Evangelical church hall, which asks for only donations for breakfast:

Multi lingual coffee

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Said free/ donation breakfast (which was lovely, as were all the people in the pop up cafe):

#walkmyworld coffee stop!

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Library exhibition on wartime experiences:

library exhibit on wartime life and stories #walkmyworld

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The library history exhibition, including a little alcove devoted to R D Laing, an influential psychiatrist born in the area:

The many languages of Govanhill:

Some of the many languages of Govanhill #walkmyworld

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International peace garden:

International peace garden #walkmyworld

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Community baths (I had visited these at Doors Open Day before):

United we swim, community trust wellbeing centre including baths refurbishment #walkmyworld

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Wonderful tenements, a Glasgow architectural icon:

I love tenements, even in the rain they are beautiful #walkmyworld

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I discovered a lot about the area, even from this short walk!  I had not created a video in Instagram before, and also played with the tagging and mapping functions.  I know Instagram is not exactly “new news” but it is funny how sometimes we need a reason to play with new stuff.  I also learnt that embedding Instagram posts in WordPress only needs the URL, not the embed code.  I like to learn through play, and this sort of project is “right up my street”, thanks William!

I completely agree with the comment in William’s blog post that educators should create an online brand for themselves (thinking before they share), I am quite aware of my “digital footprint” and in some ways my background may appear somewhat diverse (town planning, conservation, education, creative media) but I am lucky enough to be able to combine all of these through the various strands of my professional work (on reflection, I am needing to revisit my own website to better represent this; although I was very happy with it when I created it at the time and I have gradually added content such as my “Are You Here” project exploring family history links and the environment of Bristol and Brighton, my professional practice has evolved to represent a variety of skills).

As well as undertaking freelance illustration and digital interpretation projects in arts and heritage, and volunteering my time for Planning Aid Scotland, in my other professional persona I am currently working as Educational Co-ordinator at the University of the West of Scotland, on the Digital Commonwealth project.  This is a project which is designed to help marginalised communities (such as those who live in areas of socio-economic deprivation) develop digital media literacy skills using readily available technology and tools.  The project is framed around the digital reporting of Queen’s Baton Relay for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, with projects based around the topics of people, place, culture and exchange.  I have been really impressed with the creative results of the #walkmyworld project beginning to be shared on Twitter and it made me even more excited about the possible results of planned creative digital media projects which will take place as part of the Digital Commonwealth project!

Here are some of my favourite #Walkmyworld posts so far:

Vine poetry:

Happy Twitter dogs!

  More dogs (but Vine):

The wonders of Islay:

The fabulous benefits of creating enthusiastic online communities!

Happy exploring, creating, learning and sharing!

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Clubs, societies and organisations- people and cultural planning

window with posters

Window in a community cafe with a call for events (Edinburgh, Forest Cafe, Tollcross)

Today’s unconventional advent calendar for 9th December is all about clubs, societies and organisations going on within an area, featuring a notice board in Cove and Kilcreggan in rural Argyll.  Virtually every area will have local clubs and societies for any type of subject, from sports to literary events to music and heritage, long established and part of a bigger organisation or perhaps small and informal and entirely independent.  People are a big part of cultural planning, they are cultural planning assets.  Whenever I go on holiday I tend to gravitate towards the small cafes and end up picking up lots of leaflets to have a nosey at what is on (libraries and parish notice boards are a good source of information too, and tourist information centres).  I have ended up going to fascinating events by serendipity taking a role, happening to be in the right place at the right time and chatting to someone or seeing a stray flyer.  Of course, internet research is good too.. but when you’re a cultural planner on holiday it pays to hang out in lovely little community places, for people watching and good coffee, and pop up events may just be coming your way.   Bike tag, anyone? Pop up street food market?  A community choir in a reclaimed warehouse arts space?

Islington Mill

My other unconventional advent calendar entries here.

Some thoughts on cultural planning

I am currently enrolled in a cultural planning course and uploaded some content reflecting on some of the approaches mentioned in the course

UWS 2013 Cultural Planning Course

Since we did the last session of the course I have been periodically tagging things on Twitter with #culturalplanning; some of these have been my own posts with photos, and others retweeting things of interest.  I thought I would compile all of these in one place for easy reference and discussion next week.

I enjoyed the visits to Paisley and Govan, particularly the new Govan Stones exhibition as the last time I visited was some time ago (2011, I had written a short blog post about the day out, also exploring some artistic and community facilities nearby).

At a Renfrewshire Witch Hunt day conference I also heard a little more about the stones and community projects

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Are You Here- An Exhibition Documentary

This is a short video on the recent art exhibition I had at Gladstone’s Land, Edinburgh. It was filmed by Bad Monkey Films, and shows the installation process, opening night event and a short introduction to the project featuring comments from some of the attendees.

The wall of inspiration

So, this is what part of my studio looks like at the moment after two weeks of research away for my Are You Here Project.  I thought I would share it for a bit of fun (I liked the way the printed out photographs all sat nicely together), and also ask how other people who do creative work get inspiration and plan out projects.

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An energising, creative, community weekend of Glasgow West End Festival events

Returning from my study trip (and having recently enjoyed Bristol Mayfest and the Brighton Fringe) I felt it would be a nice way to start June to visit some of the  Glasgow West End Festival goings on. This is is an annual event which is now in its eighteenth year, offering a huge range of events, talks, music recitals, plays and other activities, many of which are free.

The Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church is somewhere I have wandered past many times and peeked up at from Byres Road but I had never been in.  They are open most weekends during the Festival, so do go and see this building if you can; what windows!  There are several Cottier windows and also one designed by William Morris.  I have never seen stained glass sunflowers before; beautiful.  The roof is quite spectacular as well, the whole church is actually modelled on the Sainte Chapelle in Paris.

Let Glasgow Flourish- in Stained Glass

Let Glasgow Flourish- in Stained Glass

Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church

Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church

Kelvinside Hillhead parish Church

Kelvinside Hillhead Parish Church

For lunch we popped into Waitrose and purchased some suitably sunny snacks, and sat in the Kibble Palace under the heat of the glass enjoying some Mediterranean themed sustenance. Saturday had moments of extreme sun with some scattered showers, so the Kibble was full of happy, dry people.  We went for a nice wander around the west end conservation area, admiring the beautiful bay windows and detailed ironwork en route to Rio Café where the Partick Monkeys were playing.  I had not seen them before and as fans of ska we were happily dancing along to tunes old and new (take a peek at their songs on their soundcloud ).

On Sunday we visited the Gibson Street Gala, which is a community event where part of the roads are closed off and made traffic free for the day.  I was pleased that they had a nice day for this, another glorious Glaswegian sunny day, just the thing for a street party.   One of the great things about the Gibson Street Gala is that it has so many activities for young and old, but also (for those of an architectural persuasion) that you can have a sneak peek at what tenement back courts could all be like as GOW residential backcourt opened up their gardens for the day offering tea from Tchai Ovna, relaxing music and interesting “half hour art” sculptures.

West End Festival and Gibson Street Gala 2013 GOW Backcourt

West End Festival and Gibson Street Gala 2013 GOW Backcourt

A swan sculpture in Gibson Street Gala

A swan sculpture in Gibson Street Gala

St. Silas Church was giving away fairtrade coffee and also running fairground games, with some atmospheric singing and piano accompaniment inside the church (which also has some rather wonderful stained glass, what a treat.)

St Silas Church Free Fairtrade Coffee

St Silas Church Free Fairtrade Coffee!

As you can see from the photograph I took from the top of Gibson Street hill, we were not the only ones out enjoying the day!

Gibson Street Gala, West End Festival 2013

Gibson Street Gala, West End Festival 2013

One of the many things I like about living in the city is that some libraries are open on a Sunday, this weekend was particularly busy at Hillhead as Mairi Hedderwick was doing two talks, one for children (and the young at heart) on the Katie Morag books and one on the art of travel writing.  I have always enjoyed her style so it was nice to meet her and hear stories of her travels around the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, with a little “behind the scenes” insight into how she prepares those beautiful illustrations.  There are quite a few author events on during the festival, detailed at  http://www.westendfestival.co.uk/events.

The Granny Would Be Proud” craft and vintage fair was on at Hillhead Bookclub, with bargains and one off pieces to be found.  I was taken aback by the beauty of this building, as the ceiling is quite something to behold (the mezzanine means you can get quite close to it).  This was another “why have I not been here before” moment as it is a place which has a lot of events (many specifically for the Festival) and offers an interesting selection of food and drink in a rather wonderful category A listed former cinema setting.

This was only the first weekend of the festival, many other delights await for the rest of the month!

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