Commitment of A Thousand Hands #1kHands #pcic4

“Would you be kind enough to put up your hand if you feel the human side of care is under unacceptable strain in today’s healthcare systems.” 

Hands Title Hashtag

This is the statement posed by  Dr David Reilly at NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s (HIS) Learning Session three, November 2013. Reilly goes on to say,  “I’ve nicknamed this for myself as “The Conversation of A Thousand Hands” because all of the hands are going up.”

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week (27 + 28 May) I’ll be working at HIS Learning Session Four at Glasgow’s SSEC. My commission was to create an graphic illustration that captured the journey of the collaborative and the two day event, from speakers, attendees thoughts and responses.

Inspired by Reilly’s “Conversation…” I was keen to make the illustration about ‘action’ – my solution I call “The Commitment of A Thousand Hands” (#1kHands). The hands I hope to document are not hands in the air signifying their discontent with a system but a show of hands intent on transforming the system.

hands pledge

In the words of HIS website, “The aim of the learning session is to provide support, encouragement and inspiration to make sure attendees have testing activity in all five areas of the “Must Do With Me” elements.”

“…support, encouragement and inspiration” are all very well at an event and without a doubt ideas will be formed and promises made. However, in the cold light of day, back at work, in isolation, our promises seem much more onerous and perhaps insignificant.

And so “The Commitment of A Thousand Hands” aims to instil a vision in the attendee’s minds of many hands together – It references the idea of “aggregation of marginal gains” – that while small individual efforts may seem almost insignificant, when gathered together these commitments have the potential for significant transformational change.

So get involved – on the coloured paper provided draw around your hand and write your pledge/commitment on the palm of your paper hand. I’ll then take the hands, cut them out and create the collage of hands reaching upwards. You can post as many times as you like…

 

The Commitment of A Thousand Hands is about collaboration, diversity and the practicality of action, doing and work. Each hand is as unique as the commitment associated with it. As an individual you are not simply committed to a single piece of work on your own, but a collective work (with the support in spirit) of a thousand hands.

There will also be a postcard at the event (below). Again, write your pledge onto the a pre-printed hand and fill out the information on the back – please do both and feel free to use the same idea/pledge on both.

HQI Pledge Postcard

To illustrate the #1kHands process I have made a short film – please share it as widely as possible with those at the conference. Also look out for your contribution on Twitter using the hashtag #1kHands alongside #pcic4

Here you can watch Dr David Reilly from last November’s session. (This link will take you directly to the statement at 1:38)

Are you coming to #pcic4? What do you make of #1kHands ? Comments below please…

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Instagram Victoriana

victorians - actors

Fun times were had at The McManus, Dundee’s Museum and Art Gallery last Saturday evening (17 May) as we presented Victoriana Dundee as part of the Festival of Museums.

The Museum, opened late for a special evening and, with the help of Artemis Scotland, brought Victorian Dundee to life once more as the various galleries were hosted by local Victorian celebrities – amongst them, Bessie Maxwell and Marie Imandt told us about their ground breaking journalism for DC Thomson seen here:

My job was to ‘channel’ the spirit of Peter Feathers Jnr who just over 100 years ago was a photographer an filmmaker in the city. The Youth Action Group at McManus had found a lot of inspiration through his work for their Sense of Place project (currently on display at The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh).

victoriana props

Above: Victoriana selfie with my Victoriana props. (I’m not quite that portly) This pic was taken with my GoPro super wide angle camera :/

Bringing some of our ideas from the project together for last Saturday’s event we decided to have a Victorian Photo Booth where our visitors could dress up and we would photograph them and post to Instagram. Given that Peter Feathers has been remembered for his films more than photographs I opted to use an app called Vintagio. Equipped with my authentic Victorian clockwork iPad I took 5 second shots – similar to the moving newspaper images seen in the Harry Potter films. You can see the results on the McManus Instagram page or arch a montage of snippets in the Youtube video below.

victoriana - dressing up

We were very busy for the solid two and half hours – the continual posting to twitter (check out the has tag #FoM2012) didn’t go unnoticed:

So, I heartily recommend any opportunity to encourage folks to dress up and have their picture/movie taken – adults and children alike, I’m sure we could have stayed open for another two hours!

Were you at McManus last weekend – or any other Festival of Museums events? Tell us all about it below…

Social Innovation is… in The Melting Pot

On Thursday of last week, representing SSSC, I joined a group of people from the world of Scottish Government, NHS, Social Work, Social Enterprise and private social organisations, at The Melting Pot, for a day of conversation and activity around the question:

How can we put social innovation to work for the people of Scotland?

The Melting Pot Question

The pitch I received was: “Join a conversation to explore this question, make new connections, and be a part of creating the conditions for social innovation to flourish in Scotland!

What is Social Innovation…?
Funded by Scottish Government, The Melting PotScotland’s Centre for Social Innovation – are “…opening up a national conversation on how to meet the challenges and opportunities surrounding social innovation in Scotland; how to enable and support social innovation so that it fuels positive change across all aspects of Scottish society and economy. The results of these events will help inform policy thinking across Scotland ahead of preparations for a new wave of European Structural funding.

It was a busy day of workshopping and conversation – with welcome, strategically placed, breaks to chat to the other attendees and make new connections. The Melting Pot facilitate using the ‘Art of Hosting’. I haven’t had chance to Google or investigate further but I understand it to be about creating the appropriate environment for the task at hand – just as you would if hosting a party. anyone familiar with ‘good’ collaborative and visualisation techniques would have been as comfortable with the approach and activities as I was.

The aims of the conversation were:

  1. To share learning about what might be meant by social innovation and what is already going on across Scotland
  2. To build a vision collectively about how social innovation can be put to work for the people of Scotland, and to begin to address the conditions that need to be put in place for this vision to be realised
  3. To build and extend connections and networks between social innovators and influencers
  4. In these ways, to build a stronger basis for moving forward and maximising ability to ‘grow’ social innovation across the country, and for that growth to make a difference to the people of Scotland

The Melting Pot Dear Granny

Social Innovation is… in need of definition?
The first session of the morning was spent in small groups (of 5/6) attempting to answer the question, “Social Innovation is…”. The challenge is that both of those words can be very, very broad by definition. I’m of the opinion that ’Social Innovation’ is about understanding and agreeing on the outcomes, benefits and successes within a specific context – within an organisation; within the confines of a project; or as part of the values and vision of a team of people. If we know what we mean by it – in our context – then maybe we’ll be clear on what we expect from it, and (most importantly) we’ll recognise successful social innovation when we see it.

Social Innovation is… in the small things.
The potential of social innovation is huge, and so it rings true that the ‘cover-all’ term be huge too. But while the impact has the potential to be huge, insight and understanding is to be found in the small things. People not organisations; increments and not broad strokes.

The Melting Pot PledgeSocial Innovation is… going to take a while..?!
The day at The Melting Pot was a positive start at what, potentially, could be a very long process. It would be great if the next step was to synthesise the ideas from the day to create themes under which participants, and perhaps a wider online community, could submit practical project/initiative ideas to prototype and pilot.
A common denominator of people interested in this kind of work is a desire to get-our-hands-dirty. Let’s dig in with the people we aim to serve through this process and find out what are they looking for; what needs to change; and how do we make an impact?

Social Innovation is… wrong..!?
Of course listening is important. It’s essential. But sooner or later there needs to be action; inclusive, collaborative participation to gather as open and honest a conversation as possible, upon which to act and make a difference. But. Reserve the right to be wrong. Innovation brings a certain amount of risk and no one ever created anything radical knowing ‘beyond certainty’ that it was going to succeed. So learn to recover from risk, not avoid it.

The Melting Pot quotes

Social Innovation is… on Twitter
But then what isn’t?
You can follow @TheMeltingPotEd, and for your convenience clicking on #NationalConv will take you directly to the feed of the soundbites from the day and help you catch up with the conversation.

Images from top to bottom: 1. The Question, 2. Reading our letter from 2050, 3. Pledges from the end of the day, 4. Reflections no stories of social innovation.

Death of the Selfie?

group NY selfie

Do you remember when taking a selfie meant using the tiny convex silver blob on the back of your phone as a guide?

Well, the ‘selfie’ is so common place now that at the end of 2013 ‘Selfie’ was named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries and even the Pope was in on the act.

Such is the fickle world of fame that having reached the pinnacle the only way is down; and, thanks to a gaggle of the movie world’s finest, it may be that last weekend brought about the beginning of the end for the poor old selfie.

Oscars superfly'd

Whereas the Pope came across as obliging and benevolent the Oscars pic has an embarrassing ‘dad dance’ feel to it. And then, with this being the internet, we see the ugly truth – that no one let Liza Minnelli (at the back in the blue dress) push through!

liza minelli Oscars

The one saving grace was that Matt Groening rattled off a spoof…

simpsons selfie

Pop, as they say, will eat itself!

– – – – – – – – – – –

While working on the the Sense of Place project at Dundee’s McManus we were looking at how cinema developed locally in the early 20th century. At a time when only a few dozen people on the planet had access to a movie camera they were filming the most mundane of activities; people coming out of work; trains coming into stations. It took the magician George Melies to spot the entertainment value of the medium.

With the creation and sharing of photography and video being so ubiquitous and democratised through smart phones and social media we live in a constant avalanche of selfies and dinner plates. But surely it’s the same phenomenon.

It’s interesting that many of the people who complain about the number of people sharing their breakfast on Instagram are also glued to the Great British Bake Off; I’m sure there’s some shared DNA in there somewhere.

And of course the Oscar selfie became the most re-tweeted Tweet of all time with over 2  million RTs before the end of the show.

ancient selfieFinally, my favourite selfie. Apparently the picture on the left dates back to the 1850’s (?). Although it could just be an early iPhone using a grungy Instagram filter. It’s so hard to tell these days.

Sense of Place – part three

electric theatre

I started using QR Codes in 2010 – firstly to see if I could add any value to advertising. I then became more interested in education and developing the ‘game’ element (of what were essentially digital treasure hunts) to engage children in learning activities.

Conveniently, in the middle of this diversion from advertising in education I was asked to create a trail for an eTouirsm PhD Summer School at the School of Computer Science at St Andrews University. One of the lecturers had been watching the NEoN Knights QR Game unfold on Twitter and got in touch.

QR page mini-banner

His brief was for my trail to achieve two things: 1) An example, on day one, of technology enabling tourism that would prompt discussion and encourage the students to design their own ‘products’ throughout the remainder of the week. 2) An ice breaker, an introduction for the students (most of whom would be travelling from across Scotland) to St Andrews and to each other.

The aim of the eTourism trail, from my perspective, was a combination of both advertising and education. For a city like St Andrews those tow things are inseparable because the majority of the tourism is heritage and history.

St Andrews Space Hop

It was also an opportunity to engage with a Twitter/Social Media active community of independent traders across St Andrews who would value the interaction with tourism in a technological way and boast about it through their online channels.

The combination of these three opportunities has prepared me with the experience to create at least two other trails (though their have been more) that both educate and entertain:

dighty-dair4

Dighty Water – A vital stretch of water in Dundee’s history; rich with stories that have been gathered and tagged to QR Codes that will be dotted along portions of the walkway that follows the water.

And now:

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Sense of Place (SoP): The McManus, Dundee

The McManus has a fantastic permanent collection, curated under the title of The Making of Modern Dundee (MoMD). This collection is situated down stairs at The McManus includes remnants of the original Tay Bridge that collapsed in 1879, through to video games from the 1980s created in the city. Many of the objects in this collection inspired work created for Sense of Place. Without moving them, we wanted to acknowledge them as part of our exhibition. QR Codes were the simple solution.

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Throughout the SoP exhibition programme visitors will find QR Codes alongside project descriptions. These codes deliver additional content and help visitors understand the connection to MoMD – you may even find a sample hide here…

However, should you wander into MoMD knowing nothing about SoP there are QR Codes on the display cases that point you to the relevant work in our exhibition.

mcmanus-qr-codes2

For me, it is the richest combination of physical and digital artefacts that I have worked on and another accomplishment in the image of the model I established with my Masters ‘Mystery Boxes’ project during 2011.

As if this wasn’t enough, the content behind some of the QR Codes are pieces of work that could constitute an exhibition for themselves. Trips across the Tay Bridge replicating a journey made, captured and shared over 100 years ago. Besides that you can share in the tour of MoMD that we made as a group with Brian Cox and hear him recounting memories of growing up an living in 1950s Dundee.

mcmanus-qr-codes

The thread through all of this is a desire to preserve memories, stories and experiences. While this feels very new, because the technology is so ubiquitous in 2013, we learned that our capturing and sharing activity is no different, in practice, to that of 1897. More people have access to the tools but the majority of them are filming the mundane processes of daily life as the pioneering filmmakers of the late 19th Century had. Train journeys. People at work. Children at school.

So, I am very grateful to ‘Sense of Place’. As I’ve said before, working with the young people was rewarding/entertaining enough. But in addition to that, together we’ve worked on projects that we will talk about for the rest of our lives – Tay Bridge journey, SmallPetitKlein, Brian Cox, the BIG Print, and so on… Finally, the fact that we’ve had the opportunity to bring it all together for the exhibition is the icing on the cake. But not just any old icing. Elaborate, swirly, multicoloured icing with adornments of sweet decorations covering a beautifully hand-made cake. That’s what it’s like.

Go along. Have a look. Let me know what you think.

Thanks :)

Find out more about:

NEoN Knights (Digital Arts Festival) – St Andrews Space Hop (St Andrews Uni PhD Summer School) – Balmullo Primary School (Permanent Heritage Trail)
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Welcome to the Real World

Matrix Agents in the code

Morpheus said it best when he first met Neo in person!

However, Neo’s alter ego, Mr Anderson, had previously been living life as a Duracell for deluded A.I. machines who had taken over the World and was getting out even less than the geeky-recluse had realised! Clearly not a real life!

So it nips my head to see “IRL” (in real life) used in reference to off-line activity, as if on-line activity is unrelated to anything real or valid. Like taking the blue pill!

And while it’s mostly well intentioned internet speak there’s a valid point here…

My social media activity is mostly limited to my this blog, Twitter, and Instagram. Occasionally I dip my toe elsewhere but these are my regulars. And I’m quite certain that what I post is real life.

below – Instagram post from July 2013

Instagram post july 2013Instagram for example: My tendency to take ‘snaps’ pre-dates digital capturing, let alone digital networks! It’s something that I’ve always done – an enthusiasm that was elevated by digital – first by the cameras and now by mobile and the ability to share on the spot!

What about Twitter? Well Twitter provides the ability to share widely what I do for a living; as often as not while I’m in the middle of doing it. But more than that it allows me to pepper that feed of activity with other stuff like, personality, links and likes, recommendations, etc. – it’s not all about me!
But if you need tangible evidence of its value then let me tell you that Twitter has brought me a lot of work over the years by making me visible to the people that matter.

Twitter Feed July 2013right – a snap shot of Twitter posts from July 2013

Collectively my blog posts, tweets and Instagrams’ all reflect real-life; as real as delivering a presentation; as real as bus-stop banter; as real as water cooler conversations! Not all of those conversations would I rate as valuable in themselves, but building real-life relationships is complex – it’s over time that the value emerges.

We also need to be careful of the message that we send to young people about how they use their time – a lot is invested through on-line communication and to demonise it as the root of all modern day social deficiencies understates the real issues (see update below).

Characterising off-line as real-life and on-line as meaningless un-reality is just daft. It suggests that our life on-line is always irrelevant and has no value and that all real-life (off-line) activity is implicitly genuine, relevant and valuable. No one can assume either of those states, off-line or on-line can be inherently genuine or in-genuine!

And of course, to drive the point home, those of us who have experienced the cross-over between on and off-line worlds will recognise the buzz from meeting an on-line contact in person. And that’s great because, clearly (as we’ve already learned from “The Matrix”), the combination of genuine relationship and in person is near impossible to beat.

But for as long as we’ve been sending letters, crafting smoke signals or banging on drums, the world simply hasn’t existed exclusively in in-person relationships. And while it’s not all good, my positive on-line experiences have resulted in: learning new skills; online collaborations; (and most significantly) food on the table!

So to underestimate the potential of connecting on-line is foolish; and tagging it IRL only perpetuates the myth.

Its 2013. We know better. Or do we?

UPDATE: Since writing this I saw a post relating to the tragic suicide of teenager Hannah Smith in the UK. It presents a balanced view on the relationship between the internet and bullying and, as someone who endured a (relatively short) stint of bullying at school, to me it rang true.

Included in the piece is a similar point regarding “IRL” and, in this context, adds significant weight to the argument for acknowledging on-line activity as ‘real life.

Totally Recall

smart phones

Philip K Dick already had some ideas up his sleeve on memories and what ‘they really mean’ when he wrote ‘We can Remember It For You Wholesale‘ which later became Paul Verhoven‘s 1990 movie Total Recall. (Remade in 2012 lest we forget!)

In the vein of my blog post from last summer ‘Is anyone Watching?‘ (which draws on a couple of posts from 12 months before that – link are in the above post) the BBC today are asking if ‘smartphones are killing memories?‘!

It’s worth a watch, if a little mellow-dramatic!

I don’t think it’s a good idea to live life watching through a 3 inch view finder – however, I’d agree with the chap in the BBC report from the National Portrait Gallery (Sandy Nairne, Director of NPG (very Scottish sounding name!) ) gets the balance just right…

What do you think? Are you or members of your family missing out on experiences through a need to share what’s happening through your digital devices or do they help you remember more vividly in a way that you can share time after time?