Working With Me: Co-Producing Community & Environmental Resilience
Whether you are third sector, a public body, educational institute or a private enterprise; we are all increasingly needing to implement, co-produce social equality, resilient economies and environmental sustainability. Be it delivering education, creating inclusion, delivering services or sustainable environmental practice, policy or campaigns, research or interventions. Working with any of these elements, include yours and a communities voice to tell relatable authentic stories that will be persuasive and engaging.
1hr 30 secs in “There has to be a greater engagement with local communities. When it comes to the question of public engagement in the democratic process, don’t just keep asking how you can get people to join you, or how you can get people interested in what you are doing. You are asking the wrong question! Ask how you can get interested in what they are doing, how can you join them!?”- Michael Sheen
Communities need to trust, value, be included in external intent. End users need to be the co-creators, value the potential, understand the benefits and returns, of ‘resilient communities’, living within ‘environmental limits’. What is the vision, what does that look like, where are the exemplar models? Community needs to understand what this looks like, to get involved and to see positive outcomes.
- Social/environmental documentary photography
- Photo essays / storytelling
- Co production / community engagement
- National & community exhibitions
- Online content, blogs, social media memes, informational display
- Assistance with social media strategies
- Public / cross sector dissemination, publicity beyond the usual circles (see social media accounts below)
- Knowledge of the related sector
Briefly me: born to a typical Welsh market town, I experienced a high street that met the communities needs, a community that virtually ran its own affairs. I had the privilege to wild swim in the local rivers, I witnessed an abundance of ecology within and around those waters. When a supermarket came within a hours drive of my home town, the local economy dwindled. Running in parallel, so did its ecology, and the community construct. I now take my children back to those same places. The rivers alone I would estimate 80% of the ecology has gone. ‘State Of Nature' Report. Our high streets are now missing so many features it once had. Those elements required for a localised resilient economy and environment.
Wales "Overall biological diversity is declining, and no ecosystems in Wales can be said to have all the features needed for resilience."
Leaving Mid Wales to pursue the Arts, I found myself drawn to social documentation that tackled social justice and championed environmental causes. I started to use my lens to highlight social and environmental issues in Wales, and those that were trying to address it. Instinctively looking for the narrative the emotive. I have campaigned on social and environmental issues on many fronts. I have embraced social media as the vehicle of shared conversation. I have reached out to as many related organisations as possible, looking to understand why we are at this ever increasing precarious position of needing to implement sustainability and resilience. I acquired a broad knowledge in the Transition economy, the foundation economy, resilient communities, living within environmental limits.
Let us shift ‘business as usual’ which finds us all approaching, under current policies a disastrous 3.4º rise in global temperatures by 2100
Social Media Accounts
Twitter: admin personal and campaigning accounts
Facebook: admin accounts
- Nigel Pugh - Photography
- Cardiff Transition
- Frack Free Wales
- Egnio Cymru
- Roundhouse Partnership
- A Sustainable Wales For Future Generations
Methods of working/frameworks: Climate outreach research -
“ Most communication happens via anecdotes and stories, not graphs and statistics. Although there are limitations to the impact of ‘one-way’ message-based communication strategies, identifying the right linguistic tools and narratives for starting more productive climate conversations is a critical aspect of effective participatory engagement. There are no ‘magic words’, but there are better and worse ways of starting climate conversations. Framing messages to engage with diverse communal values is important, and narratives about climate change that can engage beyond the ‘usual suspects’ and across the political spectrum can shift climate change from a scientific to a social reality. The third principle for public engagement is to tell new stories to shift climate change from a scientific to a social reality.” Climate Outreach
Building trust: in who you are, in what you wish to achieve, and for what reason? What are the local wins? Who are the main influencing local organisations, individuals, third sector, employers, educational establishments, volunteers, community leaders to collaborate with? Where are the dots to be joined?
The Human Story: Creating trust and value in you
Illustrating and telling an individuals, organisational or community story. Including beliefs, motivations, struggles, failures, successes, recommendations and visions.
Suggested questions: In creating human story & authentic voice
- What brought you to this?
- What is your vision?
- What have been your struggles?
- What are your recommendations to alleviate those struggles for others?
- What and where are the current exemplar models that represent your vision?
- How will you enable resilient communities or ecosystems?
- How are you trying to address ‘business as usual’?
Deep mapping an investigative tool: “deep mapping goes beyond simple landscape/history-based topographical writing – to include and interweave autobiography, archeology, stories, memories, folklore, traces, reportage, weather, interviews, natural history, science, and intuition. In its best form, the resulting work arrives at a subtle, multi-layered and "deep" map of a small area of the earth." Profiling influence, nurturing, passion, intent, place, sounds, *cultural heritage.
*Cultural heritage: The legacy of physical science artefacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. Cultural heritage includes tangible culture (such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artefacts), intangible culture (such as folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge), and natural heritage (including culturally significant landscapes, and biodiversity).
Using common language: What is the common language, the romance, the emotive to engage people? Wales' environment, its ecology, nature, its culture, heritage, or its strength in community? The economics, the job creation, where wellbeing to be derived. Anyone of these that has been lost, though not yet forgotten. The romance of things that have passed. The romance in the things to be regained.
“each of us, exactly as we are, with the values we already have, has every reason we need to care about climate change." Or the worth or strong resilient communities, living within a healthy thriving environment.
- What are the local emotives?
- What are the localised stories that weave in a bigger picture?
- Where are the local authentic relatable voices?
Achieving sustainability: Common language and values can unite us behind the construct of wellbeing, strong local economies, in creating empowered resilient communities. Let the people involved tell the stories, aiding us in finding answers and solutions to questions. The wider promotion and dissemination is easier, because the localised human story delivered by authentic voice is done.
Gain, Loss and Value: What does community value
- that has been lost, or is being lost?
- that has been gained that is valued?
- that it would reinstated?
- what are the mistakes not to be repeated?
Creating a narrative: Conversational questions in exploring community values and lessons
- What did your local High Street look like, what does it look like now?
- What was right and wrong in your community growing up?
- Where do you meet friends and family?
- In what way are you involved with your community?
- What is your community trying to achieve?
- Have community facilities changed?
- What is life like now in comparison to when you were a child?
- In what way has work life changed?
- In what way do you think food has changed?
- Has waste increased?
- In what way has your environment change?
- Has littering increased?
- What changes in weather patterns have you noticed?
- Do you have access to nature?
- What nature did you see as a child, what do you not see now?
- What has improved for your children and grandchildren?
- In what way has your financial security changed?
- How has you home life changed?
- In what way has travel changed, work and leisure?
- Culturally past and present what do you identify with?
- What makes your area and community unique?
- Is your community welcoming and inclusive?
- What does your communities future look like?
- What do we need to do now for our children and grandchildren?
The value of story telling
Things might of physically left, diminished or changed for good or bad.
If once valued, the romance, the lament of things that have been lost remain. As long as that generation that witnessed them remain. I worry that when a generation is lost that witnessed abundance, its restoration is that much harder. Remembering we live in a time of climate change urgency. I witnessed an abundance of nature, and a self sustaining community. My father witness a greater abundance of nature, which he expounded to me. Naturally I have expounded those values to my children. Values and stories from a trusted respected voice. They now too carry those values. The value of self sustaining inclusive communities being supported by a healthy resilient environment.
Change only really happens when enough people demand it. What are the respected stories, where are they to be told, what is the positive change we wish to collectively demand? What does the story look like and who is enabling it?
I acknowledge that nothing is new, but somethings we forget, to work with the voice of those lives we are trying to improve.
Interviews: ffoton Wales
Buzz Magazine - ‘Creating Sanctuary’ review
Western Mail - ‘Creating Sanctuary’ press coverage
Get The Chance - Creating Sanctuary
Testimonials - see