The project develops our ongoing collaboration with HIRO and the residents of the Havelock Estate in Southall, west London, where we will be working closely with Kevin Harris of Local Level and Bev Carter of Partners in Change. Between April 2006 and February 2007 we will be introducing to local residents a range of techniques such as Bodystorming Experiences, and tools such as StoryCubes, DIFFUSION eBooks and the DIFFUSION eBook Generator and, of course, the new Urban Tapestries system now nearing completion.
Our uses of different media, including emerging technologies and more traditional media, are designed to make the visibility and communication of these relationships and the knowledge and information they connect transparent and tangible to the participants in the project. By reflecting the needs and capabilities of the residents in choosing the types of media whereby they can contribute and access knowledge to start building the connections between them, we aim to encourage the widest possible participation.
In developing this project we will also offer a demonstration of the kinds of cross-sector thinking and transdisciplinary methods used by Proboscis and Local Level, and our role as critical intermediaries between people at grassroots and government policy."
One of the key challenges we will be addressing is what counts as democratic participation, who defines this and why. Our aim is to gently propose a richer and broader understanding of what participation can mean (beyond voting in a formal election or residents meeting) by working with different age groups and interests to reflect a variety of strategies for making a difference in the local environment. Specifically we will be focusing on what might be seen traditionally as cultural activities (music, video and image making) as vital and potent forms of democratic engagement.