Identify Networks of Hope

By Amanda Raven |

This phrase was the IFF prompt sent to me on 22nd May.   It arrived in my email inbox on a morning when I was experiencing a particular sense of overwhelm about how to accomplish all the tasks and challenges that I have set myself this year.   These are, variously, and in no particular order, how to build the Studio in Morvern well with many practical, and financial challenges emerging; how to start a good conversation about making art to articulate the experience of place and community in Morvern; how to develop the Royal College exhibition research in ways that are valuable and have impact and how the feast and famine economics of a freelance curator can support all this!  

What this phrase did, was remind me that a sense of overwhelm in the face of personal, or ethical, challenge is not a sign of weakness, or uniqueness, but links to widely felt human experience.   These four words gave me a sense of connection, which encouraged a fresh practical engagement with the problems, and how I might use all my resources, and networks, in different ways to consider them.   The way that the prompt came, by email, through a well developed web resource, reminded me also of the value of the virtual network to new ways of linking words and actions.

I feel the same phrase, which seems to suggest both deep thinking and practical action, may have value for the forthcoming ‘Shared Space’ weekend.

We could all identify many networks of hope, before the weekend,  by a simple scan of the internet that shows how many people are considering what Shared Space means to them, internationally, and how we can share space better. Can we all come with our own finds to share?  For example, in April this year, the Royal Society published a policy report entitled, People and Planet.   The report challenges us to resist persisting with traditional models of economic development in the face of growing populations and diminishing resources.

Next week in London the Royal College of Art will be hosting a talk and discussion entitled "What if …artists and designers redesigned economics?” as part of the New Economics Foundation ‘s festival of transition.

In the Spring this year my sister-in-law Sarah Raven used her knowledge of plants and gardens, and her access to the medium of television, to demonstrate practical change in the urban environment in Birmingham.

All these activities draw together scientific thinking, and creative practice to consider how we document and understand the present as a way of modeling and imagining the future.   The participation in and communication of all this has been greatly enhanced by the media of television, film and web archives.

In ‘Shared Space’ 15 – 17 June 2012, this interdisciplinary network around Shared Space will be well represented through talks and activities which range from devised theatre to webcam monitoring of outdoor activities; audio boos to allow responses to talks on migration; art and place and some good old fashioned walking, drinking, eating and talking in the company of some 40 diverse others.  Shared Space in action.

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