I like to work with music when I am typing.. recently I have been listening to Spotify playlists. This afternoon I am putting the finishing touches to a proposal which I hope is successful. I like this playlist called ‘creativity boost’, it has a nice mixture of uplifting, happy and hoppy songs, with some artists which I had not heard until today. What would you put on your playlist? What does Creativity sound like to you?
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:
Said free/ donation breakfast (which was lovely, as were all the people in the pop up cafe):
Library exhibition on wartime experiences:
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:
International peace garden:
Community baths (I had visited these at Doors Open Day before):
Wonderful tenements, a Glasgow architectural icon:
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:
Happy Twitter dogs!
— Caitlyn Keller (@CatierayeK) January 13, 2014
More dogs (but Vine):
The wonders of Islay:
— Emma Revie (@EmmaReviex) January 16, 2014
The fabulous benefits of creating enthusiastic online communities!
— Molly Shields (@ShieldsMolly) January 18, 2014
Happy exploring, creating, learning and sharing!
I previously blogged about the Glasgow image I found, but there are literally millions to see, from all over the world! You can also add tags to any of the images yourself, and use the usual “favourite” tool in Flickr which will make it easier for you to re-find what you’re after again.
For previous unconventional advent calendar entries see this link.
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?
My other unconventional advent calendar entries here.
I am currently enrolled in a cultural planning course and uploaded some content reflecting on some of the approaches mentioned in the 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).
— AlisonMcCandlish (@CrenellatedArts) September 11, 2013
At a Renfrewshire Witch Hunt day conference I also heard a little more about the stones and community projects
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This weekend I spent quite a lot to time glued to my screen, but I was interacting with people from all over the world through the marvel that is Mozilla Fest. This is a conference and event, celebrating all the things which Mozilla do (the festival ran in London, but I was able to interact via Twitter and also through watching the Keynotes online (live stream video), and audio on SourceFabric).
I deliberately sought out ways to get involved from afar, as I wanted to learn some new things and find out about all the great things which people were doing around the web. I love projects which integrate analogue and digital elements, I recently did a project which retraced the steps of my family history using illustration, photography, writing and a book on iBooks (look under the tag “are you here” on this blog for more info). With this in mind, when I found out that there was a Mozilla scavenger hunt at the event, which allowed for remote participation, my first challenge was to draw the Mozilla Fest logo:
— AlisonMcCandlish (@CrenellatedArts) October 26, 2013
This was an easy one for me… and a few points! I also started following others who were taking part and browsed some of the great online info. The evening keynotes had some really interesting points about the concept of digital natives, yes, many people who have grown up with the internet (and never done homework without it) are comfortable with using all sorts of online platforms and sharing posts with friends, but do people look underneath “the box” and see what is going on? (Mozilla makes it easy to do this with various online tools such as Webmaker, Thimble and Xray Goggles). You can view this (and other evening keynotes, including the launch of a new tool called Lightbeam for checking where your data is being shared) here.
That evening I also tried out some code in a collaborative storytelling project. I am not a natural coder (I know the simple things like embedding codes, changing fonts and links etc, which I have learnt from years of tinkering with things like basic web design editing alongside WYSIWIG tools as early on as Netscape Composer up to Adobe Muse combined with Dreamweaver but I have never been “taught” it in a structured manner, I’ve just picked things up here and there and like to play with the results, which is why I like Mozilla Webmaker so much as it gives you challenges to remix or start from scratch). I have not yet made my Github project join up with others, I think I am a little stuck on the terminology at the moment, but one learns over time, so any hints how to make this work, add and collaborate welcome!
The Twitter feed #mozfest was really busy all day, and people were getting creative with the Firefox logo in their coffee:
One off the challenges was find a fox.. soon a new papercraft analogue-digital Firefox will be gracing my desk:
— AlisonMcCandlish (@CrenellatedArts) October 27, 2013
If you would like to make one, there are a few variations on a theme here
I also tried out the challenge on HTML poems, using mixtures of code I know, an HTML cheat sheet from web monkey and the visual interface which highlights things when you make errors (forgetting “/” to end things, or putting things in slightly the wrong place) but also changes as you edit on the right hand side of the screen so you instantly see the results of your input. It was fun to try and make things rhyme and add the real text to make code.
The next challenge was to open source your food. As I couldn’t give away a coffee and muffin to a fellow conference attendee, and wanted to do something digital, I used Webmaker postcard creator to make a recipe card. I uploaded a photo to Flickr, then worked out how to embed this with the instructions in the remixer… I rather like the results and reckon I might send a few more of these. You can remix it yourself too, it’s open source… go play!
Amazingly, I found myself with a little short lived mozbug glory at the top of the leaderboard at one point.. please don’t think I’m boasting, I just hope others will see more of the project and join in! There’s still time… go to #Mozbug on Twitter or check out the Mozbug adventures for more details on the challenges.
— MozBug Adventures (@MozBugging) October 27, 2013
I am hoping to have a play with some more of the challenges before the end of the day, it has been a lot of fun trying out creative ways to respond to the scavenger hunt, and explore more of the amazing things going on. Thank you Mozilla and all the volunteer Mozillians for a great interactive weekend of inspiration and web making, but most of all learning through play; I do like a challenge.
The Mitchell Library… Wonderful source of inspiration and information. A beautiful place by day or by night, as anyone who has passed by whilst it is illuminated would agree. The famous landmark dome is part of the 1904 fabric, and I did not know until today that it is rumoured to have been included after Council requests, not as part of the original design which was undertaken after a competition (heritage leaflets, another great thing within the Mitchell!).
Part of the library has a huge cafe, where one can browse the newspapers and use the wifi. There is a good selection of food, from simple snacks to more substantial mains, and some particularly tasty coffee. Adjacent to the cafe there are public computers, free to use, and really handy even if you have your own at home, because these give access to a huge range of electronic resources; I did a lot of family history research here as part of my most recent art project, you can research worldwide records at no charge. Glasgow libraries also subscribe to online magazines, so back at home you could download electronic versions of your favourite magazines; I love that I can read .net, Countryfile, Marie Claire and Olive on the move from my iPad now, Zinio is so handy!
If you are more of a paper fan, head upstairs where one can browse technical journals and magazines from a wide range of publishers. I have spent many a happy hour lost in obscure but fascinating articles.
The Glasgow room is a wonder, part book store and part archive. Have you ever wanted to see street plans for before your home was built? Photographs or postcards of Glasgow transport? Wondered what that shop looked like many years ago? This is the place to find out. You may even find original plans to a famous building, or your house! The Virtual Mitchell gives you a taste of some of the digitised resources to discover. The staff are all really knowledgeable and will help you find what you need, just ask!
The main hall of the Mitchell is home to temporary exhibitions, some of my favourites have been George Wyllie, Alasdair Gray and also a history of Loch Katrine. The Hall and some reading rooms also play host to Glasgow’s literary festival, Aye Write.
Always something to discover, a quiet place to stop and spend time browsing, a place for some serious study or just popping in for tea, happy days at this lovely landmark. This is part one of a series I intend to post about what I love about some of my favourite places, just look out for the “things I love about” category on the side of my blog. I’d love to know what you love about your favourite places too!