hand-held an [un]conference – harnessing digital storytelling to improve health

hand-held an [un]conference - harnessing digital storytelling to improve health
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HAND-HELD is an [un]conference that explores how digital storytelling and new media can be harnessed to improve health care when the tools of creation are placed in the hands of citizens.

The day-long event is the culmination of a three-year experiment in socially-engaged media-making undertaken by the National Film Board of Canada – a filmmaker-in-residence project at St. Michael’s Hospital.

The event will showcase the remarkable results of an 18-month participatory media project, I WAS HERE. We put digital cameras into the hands of young mothers who have experienced homelessness to document their lives, and their experiences with the healthcare system. Their photography and video work will be the starting point for the conversations during the day.

[From hand-held an [un]conference – harnessing digital storytelling to improve health]

Canada, the Martin Paradox, and The Opposable Mind

A fascinating consideration of the “Martin Paradox”, Roger Martin’s observation that Canadians are incredibly creative and innovative as individuals, but often not creative in groups. (Hat tip: Kevin Stolarick at The Creativity Exchange)

My guess is that what is happening here is that Canadians suffer here from the devotion to consensus. Much more than Americans, Canadians think they have to agree. Much more than Americans, Canadians think they have to approve. One of the things I love about Americans is their pragmatism. You will be hammering away at a problem in a boardroom and it becomes clear that we are not looking for a consensus, we are looking for something that is “good enough for television. Let’s get on it.”

[From This Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics: Canada, the Martin Paradox, and The Opposable Mind]

My thoughts after the jump…

Continue reading “Canada, the Martin Paradox, and The Opposable Mind”

Cocreating the Creative City Ignite @ DemoCamp

I delivered a Ignite version of Cocreating the Creative City to the DemoCamp community at DemoCampToronto16. View full screen on Slideshare if you want to be able to read the speaking notes.

If you aren’t familiar with the Ignite format, it is 20 slides, 5 minutes, 15 seconds per slide on an automatic timer. The format enforces quite a lot of discipline on you – and decisions about what to communicate with images, text and speaking notes are fun to play with. This was the first attempt, and I’d love to practice it some more to improve my delivery.

As a follow-up, I am challenging interested members of the DemoCamp community to take the open source code behind FixMyStreet and localize it for Toronto and the GTA. FixMyStreet is a bug tracker for city services that sits outside government control. Users identify, report and map local issues and the system forwards them onto the appropriate local authority for action and follow-up. If some developers in the community want to take this on, I will work with them to connect this to city halls across the region.

Richard Florida on “Every Single Human Being is Creative”

The most recent column by Richard Florida in the Globe and Mail triggered a small storm of confusion and vitriol by commenters on Globeandmail.com. Some context from the article:

I recalled those Saturdays recently when I had my hair cut in Toronto. It turned out that the hairdresser, a stylish young man in his late 20s or early 30s, was once a resident of Birmingham, an upscale suburb of Detroit that I knew well because my wife lived there when we met. Without thinking, I said, “My wife used to get her hair done in Birmingham; what salon did you work in?” “I wasn’t a hairstylist then, man. I worked for General Motors,” he said. “Really?” I said, trying to dig myself out of a hole. “What plant did you work at?” “Plant?” came his reply. “I didn’t work in a factory — I’m a mechanical engineer and I worked on new product development.”

My jaw dropped. This man had quit a high-paying job in a good company so he could cut people’s hair. He had left the creative class because it wasn’t creative enough for him and had gone into a service industry to express his creativity.

Commenters were confused and took Florida to task for mixing the idea of a creative class with the idea that we are all creative. No question, there are tensions between these ideas and I think Florida himself would acknowledge them. The language is slippery. Many people who cite Florida haven’t read him fully, and don’t pickup on this second idea in his work at all.

It is a problem that is partially of Florida’s own making by emphasizing the word “class”. By drawing a huge circle that puts starving artists living in poverty and investment bankers in the same economic class, we lose some key distinctions that are beyond industry and occupational classifications. I argue that to understand who the creatives are, we need to look at another level of analysis: that of values.

There are a set of creative values that tend to be held by creative people. Our companies, industries, economies and societies have for too long ignored those values as frivolous – or a necessary evil when working with creative teams on ad campaigns. As the cultural/brand/design value of products and services in the economy increases relative to functional value, the values held by those that create culture are increasingly difficult to ignore. The group of people who hold this set of values (25% of the U.S. population) is the subject of The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, by Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson. Cultural Creatives share values that distinguish them from Traditionalists and Modernists. I just picked up the book and look forward to digging deeper.

I believe further insight into what is emerging can be seen by combining Florida’s economic lens with Ray and Anderson’s values lens. It is the combination of these two ideas plus the impact of enabling web technologies that I’m interested in exploring in what I call open creative communities.

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Arts Consultants 2.0: Where are you?

At Greg Baeker‘s invitation, I was asked to speak to Arts Consultants Canada, an emerging association of consultants to arts organizations. I introduced them to some ideas about how the web is transforming the context and (perhaps) the practice of arts consulting and the work of arts organizations.

I am concerned that the lack of awareness in the arts community in general about the changes happening as a result of the Web is putting at risk their long-term sustainability and relevance. There is a massive generational shift underway, and I am concerned that because of profoundly different uses of media, much of our cultural heritage is at risk of not making the leap across the chasm in a way that can sustain relevance for the future.

We’ve had the Cluetrain Manifesto for 8 years now.
Who is developing a Culture Manifesto for the Web Age?

Are you an arts consultant who needs to understand the web? Are you a web person who wants to work with arts consultants? I encourage you to identify yourself in the comments to this blog post, and hopefully we can bring these two solitudes together in some useful way.

I’ve uploaded my slides, feel free to share them:

World Cafes: Conversations with Your Creative Neighbours

The Creative Convergence Project (I’m the Project Manager) is conducting four World Cafe events to engage a broad cross-section of creative people into conversations about themselves, their creative practice and their neighbourhoods. These events allow us to gather fascinating qualitative data for our research study (take the survey) and are also experiments in new ways of engaging the so-called Creative Class into a conversation that has been stuck inside policy circles for too long.

What do an artist and a software developer have in common? What are our shared dreams for our neighbourhoods and our city? We invite you to join a unique conversation, meet the creative people in your neighbourhood and hope that you will leave with new perspective and new opportunities for your own work.

Download the invitation. Join the Facebook Group.

Vancouver Speaking Gig: “Co-creating the Creative City”

UPDATE: Slides posted on SlideShare:

I will be in Vancouver this Friday, November 2nd speaking as part of the Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival. My talk will be followed by some open dialogue at Gallery Gachet Friday at 4pm:

Co-Creating the Creative City
Presenter: Mark Kuznicki (Toronto)
Friday November 2nd, 2007 4:00pm-7:00pm
Gallery Gachet, 88 E. Cordova

The creative economy and the cultural ecology of the city can be mutually supportive or at odds with one another. The creative city movement has so far failed to engage the passions, energy and values of creative people, or to unite them towards a common goal. Merging ideas from the creative city movement with emergent properties of “open creative communities�, Mark Kuznicki will explore how government and these diverse groups can engage each other towards a shared vision of an inclusive and sustainable 21st century creative city.

Presented by Gallery Gachet, DTES Community Arts Network, Stantec, CCTCA, and Fearless Media. Mark Kuznicki is a researcher, writer and strategy consultant working at the intersection of technology, culture and public policy. He has consulted to the Ontario Min. of Culture, the Dept. of Canadian Heritage, Toronto Artscape and the Ontario College of A&D.

If you are in Vancouver on Friday, please come by and say hi. I hope to see some of the Vancouver BarCamp crowd come out and mix it up with the Van-city downtown culture scene. My experience in Toronto is telling me that linking these two forces together is a powerful way to transform the sense of community and place among a diverse cross-section of creative people.

Facebook Event

Nuit Blanche=Christmas+Burning Man+Halloween

I am very excited for Nuit Blanche again this year. I am amazed that last year’s first attempt has quickly become a highly anticipated Toronto institution. I love it for the way it just transforms the city for a night as thousands of people take to the streets and wander from one captivating experience to another.

Nuit Blanche

For the inside scoop on what to see, check out Andrea Carson’s blog, View on Canadian Art (VoCA).

Creative Convergence Research Study: Take the Survey!

Take the Survey!

Participate in a major collaborative research initiative that explores the unique characteristics of communities, neighbourhoods and districts in which talented artists, entrepreneurs, firms and organizations thrive. Help inform public policy makers on how to better protect and promote these critical local habitats of infrastructure and services that sustain Toronto’s cultural and creative sectors.

Ecology Image
The Creative Convergence Project is a major collaborative research project being undertaken by a consortium that includes: Artscape, MaRS, Evergreen, OCAD, Canadian Film Centre, Toronto International Film Festival Group and funded by partners OMDC, City of Toronto, TEDCO, Waterfront Toronto and with the participation of the University of Toronto Cultural Economy Lab and a long list of partner organizations. I’m the project manager for this, and it’s really fascinating work. I’m lucky to be involved and am enjoying working with the amazing people at Artscape: Tim Jones, Reid Henry and Lori Tesolin.

Join the Community!

We’ve started a Facebook group for the project. While Richard Florida may now call Toronto home and the “creative city” is on the lips of many among Toronto’s chattering classes, it is the many thousands of creative and passionate Toronto citizens that will cocreate a city where every individual’s creative passion is nurtured and developed for the benefit of our long-term sustainability and quality of life.

Make art. Build a building. Create software. Tell stories. Push the boundaries of perception and knowledge. Perform, dance and play. All this needs space, place, people and connectivity to make it come alive.

We hope you will join us in writing the story of a city embracing its future.

Making Space for Culture in Ontario’s Cities

Yesterday, Ontario’s Minister of Culture Caroline Di Cocco came by the Centre for Social Innovation to give her thanks and congratulations for the work of the Municipal Cultural Planning Partnership commemorating an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant of $230,500.

BubblebattleMunicipal cultural planning is an emerging global practice designed to support the development of culturally vibrant cities, towns and villages: the arts, creative industries, cultural tourism, downtown revitalization, for social inclusion and engaging youth. In a province where for many citizens big-C “Culture” is seen as a big city frill, this shift is nothing less than a revolution. (Dare I call it a “renaissance”?)

The power of the tools and practices of cultural planning comes from their authentic, grassroots, community-driven approach.

The community defines what culture means to it. For citizens of the lovely Lake Huron town of Goderich, a walk down the beach and the unique octagonal town square are cultural experiences. For communities with strong connections to native roots, the preservation of oral traditions is more relevant and critical than the next performance of The Marriage of Figaro at the Canadian Opera Company’s fabulous new opera house in Toronto. In communities everywhere, providing young people with the tools of creativity and self-expression is critical for our long-term prosperity and social well-being.

I look forward to working with this group as we develop a community strategy for a province-wide community of practice as well as a communication strategy that makes good use of a new website currently in development to be hosted at http://www.ontariomcp.ca/.

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