Already thinking about next summer

This week’s meeting started off kind of slow. A long week had us collectively feeling strapped for good ideas, but we had a specific task list in front of us. Looking at the calendar, an idea we had talked about not all that long ago, suddenly has a pressing deadline.

We’re looking to put together another residency of sorts. This time, it’s going to be shorter, but more collaborative. Everyone who comes will have the chance to work with everyone else on a project that we sort out all together. The residency will be 5 days long, and then there will be a 2-day conference at the end of the residency where we’ll talk about everything that happened and more. There will be a couple of keynotes at the conference too.

To be able to pull off this conference though, we’ll need to write another grant. The deadline that we have to hit is October 15, hence the pressing deadline.

We talked for a long while, somewhat unproductively. We had written down some notes at our last meeting, but they didn’t feel like they had the glue or the weight to really pull an idea together. Josh read back what we had talked about last time and started taking notes on whatever we brought up this time.

Michelle pulled out some large paper we had lying around and started doing one of our favourite things — making a mind map.

Michelle and Rosina wrote down some of the main ideas we had from before and earlier in the evening.

We were really at the point of looking for how to frame the residency and conference. Last year’s SRSI looked at vacant space, alternative development and economic frames, and collaboration at a meta level.

Generally, we were looking at some of the constants in our research — things like collaboration, social practice, and the consequences embedded in working in either of those directions, Andrea Carvalho inspiring us to look further into place and non-place, localized history… strangely we didn’t put borders on there, but ultimately, we were working with these large things, but failing to place one umbrella over them all, or avoiding putting one of them out in front of another. We drew lines, circled ideas, but nothing was clicking.

Then came systems. I’m not sure how it was brought up, but it seemed right. Applying a level of systems thinking as the theme and approach for the residency and conference seemed like an incredibly good fit. We’re interested in this approach for problem-solving, for understanding collaboration, new means of organization, and of course the make-up of a city and place and the things that go into generating locality.

So, after a couple hours of talking in circles, I think we all felt like we got to the right place with it, and we now have a plan to move this idea and proposal forward.

On a side note, I’m using Evernote as a way of collecting these ideas and more. Seems to work well-enough so far, but haven’t sorted out a level of collaboration for anyone else on it yet. Above, you can see some of the first titles and ideas we had, some of it coming from a similar direction of Open Engagement, some of it seeming to frame ideas around place specifically, but we’ll be scrapping a lot of that to rewrite this frame under the idea of systems.

And finally, the last set of letters. Moving ahead, we’ll be working with papier-mâché to cover up the seams on the letters, finding a really good red (Rosina is on this), and she’s also ordered some retroreflective glass micro-bead things that we’ll apply on top of the paint. Still some work ahead, but seeing all of these letters finished is a huge accomplishment, on which Rosina did the vast majority of the work… can’t wait to see these painted!!!!

And, this post wouldn’t be complete without saying a goodbye to our old design (BCL v3). We held onto it for a long time, but it was time for an overhaul, a renovation, something cleaner, and with fewer distractions to the main content. We’re still moving in though, so please excuse the mess.

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