Tagged: places

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!

The azure sea and beautiful white sands of the Outer Hebrides

Today’s unconventional advent calendar is a short in words but rich in imagery; in today’s rather dark and dreich weather I was thinking about the wonderful colours I saw on a happy trip to the Outer Hebrides.  It was a kind birthday gift, and a rare treat to see the world from an entirely different perspective as  we got to go on one of those tiny wee planes out to Benbecula.  The weather was stunning, we flew over lochs and islands and felt very privileged indeed.
Uist and Harris link

From a cultural planning perspective, I was considering the links between the islands and their shared heritage, but unique identity.

For other calendar entries, have a look at these posts.

December 16th unconventional advent calendar

Image taken from page 59 of 'Gill's Imperial Geography ... Illustrated with ... maps and ... woodcuts ... Revised edition'

Today’s unconventional advent calendar celebrates archives and the release of over 1 million images owned by the British Library on Flickr.

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.

Some of my favourites are below, this time with a tourism and transportation theme… for cultural planners this is an amazing research resource.
Image taken from page 233 of '[Our own country. Descriptive, historical, pictorial.]'

Image taken from page 5 of 'Wensleydale and Swaledale Guide ... Illustrated'

Image taken from page 328 of 'A Text-book of Ore and Stone Mining ... With frontispiece and 716 illustrations'

Image taken from page 313 of 'Pariserliv i Firserne ... Med talrige Illustrationer'

Image taken from page 2 of 'Paterson's Guide Book to England and Wales. With maps and plans ... 1886, etc'

For previous unconventional advent calendar entries see this link.

Romantic stories and cultural planning

Blackpool tower by CrenellatedArts
Blackpool tower, a photo by CrenellatedArts on Flickr.

Today’s unconventional advent calendar includes a wonderful story from Blackpool. I loved seeing the little plaque (featured on the calendar), which is from the Winter Gardens, acknowledging the stories as part of the  character and history of the building.

Earlier calendar entries are listed in a previous blog post.

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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Things I love about Glasgow, number 1

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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!

West Pier, Brighton, a sad shell of its former self

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I had heard about West Pier before (and indeed glimpsed it from afar on a previous visit to the city) but I went for a closer look yesterday and was deeply saddened to see its demise.  Only the seagulls can view those iron beams and beautiful decorative elements properly now.  I have created a slideshow of the images so you can see different views.

When my relatives were here it would have been a wonderful sight to behold, and also the “new pier” opened in 1899 (the one which now has the flashing Brighton pier sign on.. as this postcard from the Old Stratford Upon Avon Brighton section shows).