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20 SEPTEMBER 2013

The Mass Observation Archive: a UK social history writing project

"The Mass Observation Project (MOP) is a unique UK–based writing project which has been running since 1981. ... [it] differs from other similar social investigations because of its historical link to the original Mass Observation and because of its focus is on voluntary, self–motivated participation. It revives the early Mass Observation notion that everyone can participate in creating their own history or social science. The Mass Observers do not constitute a statistically representative sample of the population but can be seen as reporters or 'citizen journalists' who provide a window on their worlds.

The material is solicited in response to 'directives' or open–ended questions sent to them by post or email three times a year. The directives contain two or three broad themes which cover both very personal issues and wider political and social issues and events.

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TAGS

1937198120th century21st century • Charles Madge • citizen journalismconfessioncultural heritagediagramdiary • directives • drawingseventseveryday lifehistorical archiveshistorical chronicles • Humphrey Jennings • letterslistlongitudinal studymapMass Observation Project (MOP)material culture • memoir • open-ended questionsopinion • ordinary people • personal experiencephotographsplacespolitical issuesposterity • press cutting • qualitative researchresearch resourcesself knowledge • self-identity • self-revelationsocial historysocial issuessocial researchstatistically representative samplestoriessubjectivitytheir storiesthematic patterns • Tom Harrisson • UK • University of Sussex • voluntary participationwriting project

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 SEPTEMBER 2012

The9Billion: Sustainability, Clean Technology News and Views

"Here at THE9BILLION you'll find the latest news, information and opinion related to living a happier and more sustainable life, one day at a time. Main categories cover Earth, Technology, Living, Business, Politics, Culture, Entertainment, and the Social aspects of life.

It's estimated that the world's population will reach around 9 billion people by 2050, and then begin to fall. We are currently approaching 7 billion. Many of us living today will still be around in 2050. The question is: given our many social and environmental issues, how are 9 billion people going to learn to live sustainably by 2050?"

(John Johnston)

Fig.1 "Greenaid Seedbomb Vending Machine", SpontaneousInterventions [http://www.spontaneousinterventions.org/project/greenaid–seedbomb–vending–machine].

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20112050 • 9 billion people • clean technology • connectivityemerging technologiesenvironmentenvironmental issuesenvironmental responsibilitygreen • happier life • information and opinion • John Johnston • learn to live sustainably • living sustainably • mobile technologiesnews • news and views • online communicationonline communitiesopinionsocial issuessocial media • social media advocate • social media strategist • social responsibilitysocial softwaresustainability • sustainable life • The9Billion • world population

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 APRIL 2012

Richard Sennett: The Architecture of Cooperation

"The theme of the lecture addresses a question: how can we design spaces in the city which encourage strangers to cooperate? To explore this question, I'll draw on research in the social sciences about cooperation, based on my book, and relate this research to current issues in urban design."

(Harvard Graduate School of Design, 28 February 2012)

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TAGS

2012Adam Smithagency of access and engagement • architecture of cooperation • autonomybelongingbordersboundariescity • city living • civic engagementclosed systemcooperationcraftwork • declarative forms of expression • declarative mode • designed spaces • deskilling • dialogicdialoguedifferent strata of society • edge condition • edgesempathyencounters between peopleengagementforms of expressionforms of human cooperation • fruitful cooperation • Harvard Graduate School of Design • Harvard Universityhegelian dialectic • kinds of skills • La Marqueta • large cities • lectureMikhail Bakhtin • mode of domination • non-placeopen-endedparticipationpowerproblem findingRichard Sennettsocial constructionismsocial exchangesocial interactionsocial issuessocial relationssocietyspace of ambiguitystranger • subjunctive forms of expression • sympathy • unclosed system • urban centreurban design

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 MARCH 2012

Autumn 2012: Design and Social Innovation

"There is a growing interest in the role that design can play in catalysing, harnessing, spreading and scaling social innovation around the world. This is expressed in two key ways:

> by a growing number of professional designers and design disciplines applying their skills to addressing social issues; and

> by the adoption of design tools, techniques and methods by a growing number of other disciplines focused on developing social innovation.

Perhaps the most recognisable facet of this interest has been the rise of 'design thinking' not only in business, but increasingly in public service and policy fields. Fuelled by design agencies such as IDEO in the US, non–profit bodies such as the Design Council in the UK, and education institutions such as Stanford's 'd.school', design thinking has begun to be recognised as a key ingredient underpinning innovation (whether that be social innovation or not). Indeed, according to Sir George Cox, past chairman of the Design Council, design is what bridges creativity (the generation of new ideas) and innovation (the successful implementation of new ideas). In other words, design could be described as:

'the human power to conceive, plan, and realize products that serve human beings in the accomplishment of any individual or collective purpose' (Richard Buchanan, 2001)."

(Ingrid Burkett, Knowledge Connect)

Fig.1 AT.AW [http://www.at–aw.com]

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2012action learning • catalysing social innovation • change observercitizenshipcivil societyclients • collective purpose • community services • conceive ideas • constituents • consumersCourtney Drake • critical insight • critical literature • critical thinking • cross-sector • d.school • deign approaches • design agenciesdesign approaches • design bridges creativity and innovation • Design Council (UK)design disciplinesdesign fielddesign innovationdesign methodsDesign Observer (magazine)design techniquesdesign thinkingdesign toolsdesignersdifferent perspectives • diversity of disciplines • education institutions • George Cox • harnessing social innovation • idea generationIDEO • individual purpose • Jacqueline Wechsler • Joanne Hutchinson • logframe • logframe analysis • long-term change • NESTAnew ideas • Open Book of Social Innovation • plan ideas • political reactionism • previous learning • professional designersprototypingpublic policy • public service • public services • real change • realise products • Richard Buchanan • scaling social innovation • School of Management • School of Visual Arts in New York • service implementation • serving human beings • significant change • social design • social ills • social innovation • Social Innovation Branch in DEEWR • social interventionsocial issuessocial policysocial sciencesocial sector • spreading social innovation • Stanford Universitystrategic planning • strategy and planning • successful implementation • the role that design • underpinning innovation • User-Centred Design (UCD)users • Vera Sacchetti • William DrenttelYale University • Young Foundation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
13 JANUARY 2012

Equator: interdisciplinary research centring on the integration of physical and digital interaction

"The IRC brought together researchers from eight different institutions and a variety of disciplines which address the technical, social and design issues in the development of new inter–relationships between the physical and digital.

A series of experience projects engaged with different user communities to develop new combinations of physical and digital worlds and explore how these may be exploited and how these may enhance the quality of everyday life.

A series of research challenges explored (a) new classes of device which link the physical and the digital, (b) adaptive software architectures and (c) new design and evaluation methods, which draw together approaches from social science, cognitive science and art and design. Equator involved over 60 researchers, with a range of expertise encompassing computer science, psychology, sociology, design and the arts.

Equator aimed to forge a clearer understanding of what it means to live in an age when digital and physical activities not only coexist but cooperate. This is the age we are now entering, and it promises radical change in how we communicate, interact, work and play–that is, how we live. But to fulfil that promise requires more than new technology. We need equally new ways of thinking about technology, and thus also about ourselves.

Everyone recognises that the computer is moving beyond the workplace. As digital systems (like the Web) converge with computer networks and cellular phone communications, new devices and services proliferate–many of them mobile, or embedded in the environment. Yet few people fully grasp the potential impact of such technological fluidity and ubiquity. Most current research is still rooted in the workaday world of the desk–bound PC. But look at the possibilities–for our home life, our schooling, community care, even our city streets.

These are just some of the areas which Equator explored, through the development of coherent new systems and devices. Ultimately, however, we were less concerned with solutions to specific design problems than with the bigger picture these solutions entail. This is what united so diverse a community of researchers. For it is only by sketching the bigger picture that we can begin to fulfil the promise offered by our new age, and so improve the quality of everyday life in years to come."

(Equator)

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TAGS

adaptive software architectures • art and design • city streets • coexist but cooperate • cognitive sciencecommunicatecomputer networkscomputer science • design and evaluation methods • design issues • devices • digital and physical activities • digital systems • EPSRC • Equator (research) • everyday life • experience projects • HCI • inter-relationships • interact • interactioninterdisciplinary • interdisciplinary research collaboration • IRC • new devices • new servicesphysical and digitalphysical and digital interaction • physical and digital worlds • psychology • quality of everyday life • radical change • research challenges • researcherssocial issuessocial sciencesociology • technical issues • technology proliferationubiquity • user communities • work and play

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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