However, while a wiki of this info could be a great resource, there is nothing very exciting about a spreadsheet. It might tell us who is out there but it doesn't indicate interest in our project. Also, we were concerned about where to stop when it comes to collecting information. Do we only gather info about professional artists and organisations? Or do we also include info about amateur ones? In two communities that are so culturally rich and diverse where would we stop? We agreed that it was important to gather as many names as possible but we wanted to come up with a way of doing this that was productive of new ideas, practices and information. We also want to establish relationships with those that we might work with on WP3. Time, process and relations are important considerations when thinking about community participation. So we came up with the following idea:
The week ending 22nd March 2015 is World Water Day. It's a Sunday. We thought that this might provide a good focus for some collective activity that would help us with cultural mapping and bring us into contact with lots of groups and individuals. On this day we would invite community members to gather together to participate in a discussion about our project and to present our ideas. We might take this opportunity to make an invitation to people to participate in whatever comes next. Leading up to this date (in the meeting we said over the course of the weekend, but upon reflection I wonder whether a week of activities might be better given that we would like to work with a range of groups and schools who might meet on different days and at different times?) we would draw upon a range of artistic methods in order to gather information related to water in Borth and Talybont. I'll sketch out a plan for this below.
Sara, Shelagh, Andy, Alex and I have different skills and expertise that would enable each of us to work with different community groups and individuals in the two case study areas and to collect lots of different types of data. Including oral history interviews, photographs, sound recordings, short films, poetry, stories, sculptural art works, music etc.
Each of us might take two or three groups in each area and work with them to produce materials that we would then upload to our online 'water map'. We looked at google maps and thought that it would be possible for users to upload photographs, videos, sounds and pieces of text... documentation of our activities over the course of the week. Over seven days our digital water map would begin to be populated by memories, anecdotes, scientific data and all sorts of other information that would, we hope, provide a really interesting cultural map of our area whilst also engaging as many groups and individuals as possible in the process.
We also thought that it would be good to engage some local artists (I'm using artist to refer to anyone working in creative areas) who might work alongside us, helping to gather data through a range of creative practices. We thought maybe 2-4 in each of the two case study areas. They might do 1-2 days of work each that would help us to engage with more community members and generate more content for our map. We anticipate that this week of collaborating would stimulate ideas, bring issues to our attention, help publicise our project and get people 'onboard' ready for more making in the next phase of our project.
During this week of activity we would take over one venue in each of the two case study areas. In these venues we would project the water map on a big screen. In each space it would be possible to see it grow in real time. Community members could then come to the venue at different times in order to take part in workshops and be shown how to upload their materials to the map. It would also be possible to upload data from anywhere with an internet connection so it would be possible for people to add remotely, or for us to run digital hubs and workshops in other places and upload data from lots of different computers. We felt that this process would enable us to make good use of digital technology whilst also making sure that our working process was accessible to those that might be more comfortable meeting us in real world environments. Plus, we thought that this process might provide opportunity for digital skills development.
A short intense period of activity would help us to make good use of everyone's time and make a good impact ready to 'launch' our project into the community.
Shelagh then had a great idea about Work Package 3 - the bit where we really start getting into thinking about the practical part of the project. You will be able to read more about this by visiting this forum discussion in the Cymerau group.
To read more by Tom visit his page on Hydrocitizens.