With the podcast still playing, I want to note this RSA event: The Big Society: Challenges and opportunities for membership organisations. (I wasn’t expecting to tag anything with ‘Big Society’, but as the term gains currency and becomes more clearly defined I’m more comfortable equating it to models of civil society that I’ve looked at in the past.)
Another week and another slew of podcasts down the wires from the RSA. Of note to me recently has been the discussions that focus on some of my favourite themes, yet apply them to subjects other than events. Two of note have been:
As it happens both of these discussions are built around religious focuses, primarily Christian as Loyd puts forward the idea that churches are the natural home of the Big Society (which others point to libraries, schools, etc.). It is while listening to these discussions and other such podcasts that I propose to myself swapping out the <place> or <faith> or <building> and inserting <event> or <festival>. The common themes of community, identity, power, network and capital are pretty clear to see. That they are often linked to online relationships and the achievement of shared goals further convinces me that there’s merit in this work.
Can I yet sum up my proposal in a pithy aim? How about an investigation into… the impact of communications technologies on the live event and festival experience, reflecting on the development of communities, social networks and social capital as a result of these forms of interaction.
Following hot on the heels of a long post wrapping up disparate thoughts collated over a few weeks, this shorter post is little more than an annotated reading list: a to do list of thoughts and contributions.
Building on his work with Robert Palmer on Eventful Cities, Prof. Richards is starting up an ATLAS Special Interest Group for events research. I have been very fortunate recently to exchange a couple of emails with him and even to get my hands on his inaugural address on taking on becoming Professor in Leisure Studies at Tilburg University (8 October 2010).
The title of the address: ‘Leisure in the Network Society: From pseudo-events to hyperfestivity?’ …I think that’s just great, and what a starting point for my interests! I swear I didn’t know about this before I first blogged about ‘Events in the connected city‘, but you’d say there’s got to be some relationship between the two. I could be on the verge of switching to ‘events in the network city’, which it’s direct references to relevant theoretical underpinnings. As I say, reading is required.
@aleksk has just kicked off a new series of essays in The Observer titled ‘Untangling the Web‘. From the blurb: ‘How has the most revolutionary innovation of our time – the Internet – transformed our world? What does it mean for the modern family? How has it changed our concepts of privacy? Of celebrity? Of love, sex and hate?’
Plenty to think about there, and of course contributions are welcomed: please do talk amongst yourselves.
A busy few weeks has seen me slip behind in my RSA podcast listening, which distresses me somewhat. Just when I was getting into some selected older talks of particular interest and relevance. But no matter for I shall overcome such setbacks with nought but an iPhone and long train journeys over Christmas.
In the mean time, the RSA has been discussing networks and communities of late. Their journal for autumn 2010 leads with a piece from Paul Ormerod on social networks influencing social policy; there’s also an article on networks from the prolific Krotoski, naturally, as well as others.
This is in addition to a major piece of work from the RSA titled Connected Communities. Here are some arguments on why you (and I) should read it. It seeks to link social networks, the Big Society, community regeneration.
It is my hope that there is sufficient reading above and in the referenced sources that follow to compile an initial literature review. When combined with some of the standard event management texts, central texts of my chosen theories and some relevant examples I’ve probably got enough. I hope I’ll have enough.
It’s helping me settle on the themes that I value: events, festivals, social networks, social/open media, cities, communities and organisations.
– First: ‘Read OR Listen?‘ (suchitra)
– Next: ‘Un libro, una sensación, una canción.‘ (Xanetia)
– Next: ‘Information overload‘ (Stephen Cummings)
– Last: ‘focus‘ (pastaboy sleeps)
This event, led by a keynote from RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor (which is available for download from their site) looks at the role of membership organisations in creating links between people. Social capital makes an appearance, human fulfilment, the renewal of such organisations’ goals and objectives and there are references to Putnam and such commentators. The part played by social media in affecting relationships between people is touched on, likewise the reciprocal nature (or otherwise) of what motivates people to invest in membership of the organisations in the first place. ‘Experiences’ play a part, if for no other reason than the appearance of the National Trust’s Director-General: they can boast a membership of 6.6% of the population of England, Wales and N. Ireland.
And its relevance to me: what would happen if ‘events and festivals’ was swapped in for ‘membership organisations’? Events bring people together, help them find common cause with others, can exemplify the relationships between people in a formal hierarchy (which may stifle them or set them free), and events provide opportunities to develop some of that social capital (bonding and bridging?). Festivals, particularly if led by a particular theme, set up the relationship between the executive and the membership: director and audience.
Does technology get a look in: absolutely, if it can provide the means, the media, by which these relationships are played out. In partnership with face to face gatherings, sure… that’s city life after all.