I joined Kirsten Wyatt of the US Emerging Local Government Leaders’ GovLove podcast to talk about scenarios, strategy, foresight, play and the power of drawing.
On the blog this week, I’m joined by Dr. Philippa Collin, a Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University’s Institute for Culture and Society. Philippa is a social scientist who previously worked at www.reachout.com, the world’s first online suicide prevention initiative aimed at young people. She researches the role of digital technology and media in young people’s lives, including a focus on political participation, identity, and exclusion.
I hear a lot of concern from public institutions about the notion of “making better citizens” right now. Political upsets, fear of ‘fake news’: the powers that be are concerned about the nature of citizenship in the digital age.
Institutions could adapt their structures to meet the needs of people they perceive as “disengaged”. Or, instead of the institution adapting, they might try to help people develop the skills & capacity to engage with existing structures.
What pitfalls are there for organisations seeking to engage the (apparently) disengaged?
I come from a community of scholars who have actively argued against the normative framing of ‘politics’ and ‘participation’. For example ‘politics is about what happens in parliament’ and the ‘good’ forms of participation are to vote, join a party or get involved with set activities or processes – usually all designed by adults! Read more
Over at Public Libraries News, Rachael Rivera of Auckland Libraries in Aotearoa New Zealand talks about how her central city library developed services for homeless people.
Blame it on Jerome; it started with him.
Jerome Rivera, aka @jeromical, is Community Library Manager at Ranui in Auckland, New Zealand. He’s smart and thoughtful and highly accomplished, and one of the sharpest dressers I’ve ever seen. Jerome and his wife Rachael form something of a library power couple: she manages Auckland’s central city library and her teams have been responsible for amazing projects such as specialised services for homeless people and bespoke one-to-one encounters with Kiwi musicians for NZ Music Month. But I’ll have to get to the full story of Rachael’s greatness another time, because today is about Code Brown, and Code Brown starts with Jerome.
You see, being a librarian today is about all kinds of things. Access to information. Bringing communities together and giving them the opportunity to share their skills and stories, or create new knowledge. Offering new technologies and the skills to explore those technologies.
But, as Jerome pointed out on Twitter, when you work in a space like a library which is open and welcoming to all members of the public, sooner or later, you end up dealing with a Code Brown. Read more
From May, I’ll be joining the University of Southern Queensland for six months supporting “proactive, strategic, and sustainable engagement with key stakeholders and communities internal and external to USQ.”
Working with Professor Helen Partridge and her fab team in USQ’s Scholarly Information and Learning Services division, I’ll be acting as a coach and catalyst to raise awareness, understanding, and capacity in maintaining a sustainable community engagement program.
This new adventure is going to be cracking good fun – but there’s still a few more exciting things to come out of my extended residency with the State Library of Queensland, so watch this space.
I just finished a seven-day stint at the rotating Twitter account @wethehumanities, where scholars, researchers, and practitioners from across the arts and humanities get to share their work and thoughts with around four thousand people online.
If the humanities are a creative and critical conversation about what it means to be human, who are “we” having those conversations with?
What opportunities do scholars create for members of the public to have a go at what they do? And to *fall in love* with what they do?