This section of the web site will develop as interests accrue, time permits My main interest in this section is to encourage and help to develop what is already in the community. I am willing to do workshops in cross disciplines, chat, discuss, and learn from others experiences. In “learning ” I have included examples, topics, essays, links, books, in various forms and how workshops could be structured to get started. Take it or leave it. Plan your own. I’ll help
My interests and occupations have included photography, printmaking, painting, furniture and interior design, politics, philosophy, community welfare, ecology and music. I have worked on building sites as both labourer and tradesman, designed and constructed shops, porches, renovated and designed furniture. I have exhibited and taught photography on and off over the last twenty or so years, designed and built stage sets, organised and helped to organise political, cultural and community events.
Creativity and diversity of occupation was not too unusual some years ago, when the office worker became the amateur scientist, or cabinetmaker, in the evenings or at weekends. This is not to be confused with the contemporary condition, where a person has to take on three different jobs to make ends meet and hates each one of them which can be just as debilitating as having no job and doing nothing at all. The awareness of the therapeutic and creative stimulant of diversity in work and social situations is what made me decided to use it to formulate workshops and discussions concerning community awareness, citizenship, and the understanding of democracy; using creative templates to express ideas and connections
Basic principles of workshops
Through the workshops I will endeavor to connect the practical and therapeutic with the ethereal and thought-provoking and to imbue in participants the confidence to act, and through action gaining the confidence we all need to continue on our chosen path in day-to-day life. the workshops will attempt to find a common ground between participants or ideas by working through various mediums, experiences, experiments, talks and discussions that appeal to the group’s (or individuals) interests. the outcome will be to find like-minded partners with the same interests, or to help formulate a way forward in the individual’s personal goals, and to encourage creativity in the pursuit of them. to encourage an understanding of aspects of personal and public life and to discover the connections that bind them.
There are many ways to build confidence. From my own experience I know people respect you if you can fix things, doors, shelves, simple electrics and such like, and people who can fix things also respect themselves. It is important that people get involved and engage in practical and meaningful things in their community and family life, as well as developing the skills that offer a voice in environmental and community affairs, especially in an un waged environment.
It is also important that people in full employment realize that they have much in common with those less financially fortunate than themselves in a modernized poverty that robs even the well-off of the ability to do things for themselves. Instead, referring and placing such tasks the hands of professionals.
People can sometimes feel themselves useless unless tied to a waged job. The culture of the measurement of value only through financial terms is deep-seated. There are other useful areas of occupation which, although offering no financial gain in the short term, can fulfill other aspects of an individual’s life. This can, in turn, expose hidden talents and abilities hitherto unknown. having access to tools of conviviality, apparatus and sympathetic expertise helps to build a respectful and creative community.
creating a network that gives individuals the opportunity to share their current concerns with others motivated by the same concerns (learning partners).
encouraging teaching mentors (with or without formal training) with skills and life experience to share that experience.
Encourage the over worked and highly paid to see value in giving up or doing without something as a route to happiness rather than the accumulation of more possessions as they lock themselves deeper into the consumer cycle.
Constructing a Workshop – example
The groups or participants will be offered a variety of topics or subject mater in which to choose from, or alternatively ideas put forward by themselves in order to present the criteria for a workshop. For instance, a survey of the local environment, the study of architecture, street life, workspace, historical interest, housing, local events, problems, ideas for improvement and such like, could be the subject matter for a photography workshop or a writing project. A workshop on the construction and fallibility of consumer goods could be instructional and encourage the use of tools, sensible purchasing and repair rather than replacement.
creative use of computers and the net, study of the media, gathering information for workshops. The structuring and presenting of ideas, seeing who else is out there doing the same things. The computer can be both tool and tyrant. The Internet in its early days was described as the information highway, after privatization it soon became known as e-commerce. Workshops will emphasis the empowering qualities of the net, how to search for useful information that can be turned into useful knowledge.
the value of drawing/thinking as well as a leisurely occupation can be useful as a way of collecting information, shorthand for remembering ideas. Observation in drawing can help to strengthen observation in other matters. For instance, the organisation of forms and elements in drawing can help to illustrate the structural elements needed in expressive writing and composition.
Some possible interrelated topics
The understanding of things in a meaningful setting helps to encourage an interest in science, technology, product design and such like. Discovering how things work and how they shape your environment can be incorporated in a basic understanding of science and increase interest in an array of related subject mater.
The increasing negative view especially amongst the young is “politics is boring”. Workshops will explore the different ways in which political decisions affect our lives and how people can influence political decisions. Through conducting useful meetings, creating support networks, co-coordinating local opinion, citizenship, democracy, research.
History, in school, we are usually taught from the top down. Wars, Battles, Victories, Kings and Queens, charismatic leaders. The history of ordinary people tends to be rewritten to fit the established view or misinterpreted, sidelined, and sometimes ignored by the mainstream educational establishments. The study of history from the bottom up emphasis’s the real and progressive changes in our culture and communities by the struggle of ordinary people not by the gift of governments and authorities. Workshops will highlight and illustrate history from this perspective
The best way to see what is happening in your city is to take a walk. Not for the purpose of shopping as is usual, but for looking. It is a whole new adventure to walk the streets of the city for the only reason of observation. To explore the architecture, not only for its aesthetic qualities but also for its commercial and political values.
the fundamental importance of the project is not to hand feed but to backup and encourage responsibility for the participants’ own ideas. To create and help connections of like-minded spirits and a backup of information and progress reports through the use of a web site and perhaps a publication.