Monday, 9 January 2012

BROWSE Video Specs

Creative City was launched in 2008 for a project dear to our hearts 'The Newspaper House'. You can read all about it here.

Photograph © Sumer Erek

The idea for it stemmed from a pressing local environmental issue that a group of artists clubbed together to translate into an impacting artistic project. Thanks to Artist Sumer Erek's artistic vision, and also thank to a great team, volunteers, and visionary stakeholders and funders, the Newspaper House became not only a great participatory project, but a remarkable public artwork, capturing the imagination of visitors, viewers, readers worldwide.

That was 4 years ago! Incredible, yes. Creative City was registered on 8 Jan 2008! Happy birthday Creative City.

New project

4 years later, it would be nice to explain a little more about where Creative City has been, and how our new project BROWSE Video Specscame about.

2011 was amazing as regards to working with a new medium : the Video Specs. The result of a year long R&D, working out what, how, who, etc. is a fresh, user-centred way to engage people on topics which is of interest to them, and gage their feedback on issues which they ought to be consulted on.

Photograph © Karen Janody

BROWSE has been finding its feet slowly. it first started as a proposal as a programme of engagement in response to a local regeneration Masterplan. Whilst this was never commissioned, the idea of collecting the opinions of residents was worth pursuing. I set about talking to members of the local community, asking them to put their thoughts on video (an alternative to putting thoughts on paper). It's very interesting to pick up on individual responses to a same space/place. It allows people to answer questions in their own time, and in their own words. The pressure is less, and the enjoyment of participation is more.

A number of participants have taken part, and their videos were published on this blog and on the Youtube channel , and on Vimeo

This is leading to questions about residents' responses to their local spaces and identity, and how changes to the local landscape affects residents' identity and sense of belonging. It is also of interest to turn the tables around, and start the process of video commentary to inform the planning design…

BROWSE in & around

Last October, Creative City carved out their first workshop for young people using Video Specs to collect their views on the state of their local environment. 6 Young people from the BlueHut youth centre participated. Very keen to contribute their opinions, they took Video Specs on a journey, naming and shaming on route.

Photographs © Katy Dawe & Kirsty Allen

Art Against Knives, who hosted the workshops under Designing OurSpace, one of their programmes, have shown the video in BoxPark receiving very positive feedback from young people and adults alike.

In 2012, we want to see a much more curated approach to BROWSE Video Specs as a means to collecting valuable opinions of members of a community.

Indeed, the technique is also an asset for audience engagement of other sorts.

The project was invited to Birmingham for 6 Summer Saturdays, covered the Friends of Arnold Circus 'Swap & Share Picnic', and reviewed exhibitions, such as ' Two Rivers' at Studio 75, 'East Pop West' by the Red Gallery, "Moniker Frieze' by Moniker Projects and 'True Defiance' at Amnesty International UK.

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