December Research Meeting

December 18th, 2012 by Glyn Mottershead in Research | no comments

Excellent two day research meeting in Birmingham in late December. Only regret that I didn’t have time to check out the German Christmas Market – a destination of choice for school trips from South Wales.

We were delighted that Professor John Hartley, our international mentor,  now based at Curtin University in Perth, West Australia, was able to join us for the whole two days. In a closing discussion, he urged us to think about creative citizenship as an “imagined future” as well as a current civic reality in its numerous forms, from individual and abundant forms of local citizenship to more debatable concepts such as global and corporate citizenship. Professor Jonathan Dovey led a session on “value”, one of the most intensely contested terms in our central research question.

John Hartley leads a brief session at our December research meeting

In advance of the meeting, each of our three research strands circulated an update on progress in the seven months since we started work. Our hyperlocal research team has already made an impact on Ofcom’s statistics-keeping about local media as well as conducting the largest content analysis of hyperlocal output undertaken in the UK.

Our community design workstream has been busy identifying really great communities with whom we can work in the next phase of the research, as well as testing their prototype of an asset-mapping tool, which aims to help communities understand the strengths they bring to their shaping of design and planning issues.

Asset Mapping Exercise

South Blessed, our community partner in the St Pauls district of Bristol, has  identified an intriguing graphic novel project  as the focus for co-creation activities with the research team, which has also been conducting interviews with the network of people who support, in one way or another, Vince Baidoo, South Blessed’s  young founder and leader.

On day two of the the meeting, we gathered at the Moseley Exchange in Birmingham, which enabled all of us to see for ourselves an important research site, where Caroline Chapain of Birmingham University is leading an investigation which aims to understand better the ways in which work-space hubs like Moseley add value to creative communities. Caroline’s research update provides an excellent desk research overview of co-working hubs.  Her interview programme at Moseley is now well under way.

'Defining hyperlocal' breakout at December research meeting

It was great to see all of our partners well represented in Birmingham. Ofcom, Talk About Local, Nesta, Glasshouse Community-led Design, South Blessed and Moseley Exchange.  We were also pleased to welcome Professor George McKay of Salford University, who is now a Leadership Fellow in the AHRC-led Connected Communities programme of which our work is part. Mark Pearson, an Ofcom secondee to Nesta (and so involved with two of our partners at the same time) gave an excellent lunch-time session around his forthcoming Nesta paper on definining hyperlocal.

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