Tagged: technology

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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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.

Unstable buildings and cultural festivals

Today’s unconventional advent calendar is very unconventional indeed as it is long weekend of cumulative entries.  I may well devise some bonus content later for those of you who might have missed the last two days of usually daily pics and musings.

I was taken by the art featured in the calendar as someone who endeavours to unite art and planning issues; often we find ourselves working with various people who have ideas for new uses for buildings where the previous use has for some reason ceased, and unfortunately there are a lot of examples of buildings which are at risk due to continual neglect and decay.  From a cultural planning point of view these can also present themselves as opportunities as well as problems, there are many innovative examples of property re-use and reimagination.  Our towns and cities are constantly changing, instability can mean an area reinvents itself in various ways.   The Liverpool biennial is the largest contemporary arts festival in the UK (see website), and when I first visited in 2008 the city was the European capital of culture.  Interestingly, Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores Universities devised a methodology for assessing the impact of cultural festivals (download here), covering cultural access, economy and tourism, cultural vibrance and sustainability, image and perceptions and governance and delivery.

amazing art shop in liverpool

Art and architecture, Liverpool

Previous entries for the unconventional advent calendar can all be seen on the UWS Cultural Planning blog where a community of cultural planning practitioners doing the 2013 short course are recording and sharing their reflections and thoughts.

Gdansk to Govan

Today’s unconventional advent calendar is a visit to Poland, where I recently had the fortunate opportunity to take a study tour based around the shipyard area.  How would you show people around your own area on a cultural planning tour?

I have been thinking about the similarities and differences between Gdansk and Govan, reflecting on this in a photographic manner.  I used photographs taken whilst on the study tour, but also older images which I had from 2009 (taken from the Glasgow science tower) and I gave a presentation on this today at the University of the West of Scotland Ayr campus, copied below.

Girvan Rocks!

Girvan

Girvan harbour with its bright colours

Girvan is a pretty seaside town in the west coast of Scotland where I spent a happy summer holiday once when I was wee.  I revisited it this summer, and was surprised how much of it I could remember (and was delighted to see that the little aviary and gardens called Knockcushan park were still there).

Knockcushan Park

Knockcushan Park

Knockcushan Park

Knockcushan Park

Knockcushan Park

I did not know of the history of the gardens, this must have passed me by last time as I was looking at the animals and birds when I was ten!  That said, I do attribute my career choices to the fact that I was always taken to historic places and used to enjoy spending time looking at castles and drawing things related to my holidays… if blogs had been about then no doubt the very tattered scrapbook I made would have been digital with scanned copies of tickets.

Daytripper

Daytripper- July, it was hot!

Summer seems so long ago now, with Christmas almost here, so this is a very unconventional advent calendar entry indeed for December 10th although you can consider the character of a place at any time of year!

Girvan has a wonderful view of Ailsa Craig, which is famous for its special seabird colony and also for being used to create curling stones (see gallery above, and for photos of these see my Partick curling club photos) The Glasgow 2014 baton also features a special Ailsa Craig “gemstones” in the puzzle mechanism, an exciting Commonwealth Games link for the area.

To me, Girvan has fantastic seaside memories; parrots in the park, boating pond outings, beach sandcastle building, chips munching, 2p fruit machines (although I think they may have been 1p then?!?), big high street with shops selling buckets and spades and postcards, lovely colourful harbour, seagulls and other birds along the pier wall.. Girvan rocks!

Flavoured rock

Flavoured rock

What do you think makes up the character of your favourite place?

Previous unconventional advent calendar entries can be found here.

The unconventional advent calendar

I’ve been creating an unconventional advent calendar related to cultural planning

UWS 2013 Cultural Planning Course

I have been playing with devising an alternative advent calendar with a daily cultural planning thought, comment or notable bit of news, as I enjoy making web projects and also wanted to continue reflecting on some of the points which were raised in the course.  My project presentation as part of the course was about considering how to use online tools to make cultural planning accessible and understandable to a wide range of people, I felt that using a thought a day type approach was perhaps one way of doing this so I’m experimenting to see what results.  The cards are designed using the Firefox web maker programme, a free online tool which allows you to create various creative and interactive items for the web (templates are provided for you to remix, where you create half of the page in code then watch the result on the other half…

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Playing with You Tube capture

Today I have been playing with You Tube capture, an app I only recently downloaded (most of my video editing has been done in iMovie or Premier Pro, with the odd session of Final Cut Pro thrown in for good measure).

I find that although you can only do a minimum of editing with the app, it is good for stabilising the video and also trimming the clips. It is also quick to upload via wifi, and you can add the main details such as titles, keywords and privacy levels. It also lets you share directly from the app, which could be handy for quick sharing. I used my iPad mini to record an unlikely Edinburgh Tourist attraction, the great glass elevator in Waverley Station. This gives you a handy panoramic shortcut to get to street level from the station concourse. Not the most conventional of tourist attractions, but worth a look!