#6 Imaging a future for community centres, local food, listening and saying what’s OK

1. Imagine…a future for community centres

Imagine…a future for community centresCommunity buildings and spaces have a big potential to help make great things happen, to act as catalysts and shared resources for our city. I captured a few of my thoughts about what the future of community spaces could be (can be? will be?) in a short digital story last year. It was one of several digital stories about community asset transfer made with the help of the brilliant Alex from Curiosity Creative as part of the Ouseburn Trust’s Open Doors project.

2. How to grow a local food movement

Devita Davison from FoodLab Detroit is on a mission to improve access to food, start new businesses, help grow the local economy, and make the best use of Detroit’s land and resources. One of the ways she did this was work with local churches to open up their underused commercial kitchens to local food entrepreneurs. I was also amazed to learn that Detroit has over 1,400 community gardens and school gardens. FoodLab Detroit is running as an experiment and is sharing their work as they go. At its core is hope for the future of Detroit and its people. You can read more in her interview with StrongTowns.
We don’t have to go across the Atlantic to find examples of people working to help others have good food. There’s Food Newcastle, Food Nation, The Comfry Project, Scotswood Natural Community Garden, Go Local Food, The Magic Hat Café, Edible Elswick, Greening Wingrove and more, many more.

What would happen if we opened up our community buildings’ kitchens as a platform and common resource to local people — food entrepreneurs, bulk cookers, people who have tiny kitchens, others — to enable them to build a business, cook together, eat together and build communities together? If you want to talk about this, I’m in.

3. Listening and noticing

Sound recorder Chris Watson has worked to create a year local audio portrait of Newcastle. The playing of the work finished a couple of weeks ago but we haven’t missed the chance to hear Chris talk The Colour of Sound, in a short German film with Chris talking in English. He said: “Listening in a positive way, that is, actively taking a decision to focus on certain things and reject others is a very positive and creative thing to do…for me…it stimulates my thought process and helps me think, perhaps more laterally, about problem solving or how I can achieve a creative output for something. It makes me think in a different way.” It’s a lovely, gentle film about noticing tiny sounds and paying attention to the world around you. A true listening exercise. Chris also made a series of soundscapes for Radio 4 called Soundstage including one at St James’ Park.

4. What’s in my diary

I’m going to/helping out at/hosting a few things in August and September 2016 that you might be interested in too. And between them you’ll get a chance to be challenged, to learn and to dream big. You need to register for all of them.

I might see you there!

5. And finally…

…it’s OK to say it’s OK, a poster from GDS to help their new staff settle in. What’s it OK to do in your workplace?

GDS It’s OK poster

Cheerio for now!


August 2016

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