A virtual arts festival to raise the spirits of people in a neighbourhood

In our neighbourhood, a place called Chorlton, in Manchester, UK, we (a group of residents, chaired by me a community psychologist) organise a community arts festival every year. This year, after planning and scheduling over 200 artists to engage in creative activities across 60 community places, we had to cancel. Then a local resident came along and offered to curate a digital or virtual festival. This went ahead in October. We worked with 20 of the original artists to prepare virtual galleries, and virtual streets of Chorlton, learning as we went, and opening the festival to all.

Over a 3 day period, residents visited galleries, specially created ‘rooms (one about art-from-rubbish in a rubbish bin!), listened to virtuoso performances and bands on a large screen in a festival field where they could also chat with each other, played games in the virtual streets – and all of this virtual – and free! There were activities for all ages and embraced many different cultures.

Whilst the festival had no barriers to inclusion, of course digital capability was an issue – Like everything else in this COVID year, digital inclusion enabled participation but exclusion did the opposite. If people could not attend uring the 3 day festival, they could access the virtual worlds afterwards. As follow up activities the virtual festival field and local streets were transformed for Halloween. In recognition that not only was digital exclusion an issue, but navigating the virtual worlds was challenging for anyone over the age of 25, we have mounted some learning opportunities in collaboration with a local college.

Story and pictures shared by Carolyn Kagan, United Kingdom.

For more info here or please contact at cmkagan@gmail.com

The human potential – uncertainty into action

Since our main festival got cancelled due to Covid19 Covid19 created an online series with Alex Grey, Marianne Williamson, Charles Eisenstein, Daniel Pinchbeck, Kaypacha Lescher, A.H. Almaas, Gay Hendricks, Jamie Catto, Liam Forde, Anjum Rahman, Karen Johnson. Part 1 of the Human Potential Series weaves together a multitude of viewpoints from artists, authors, activists, teachers, thought leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs focused around how we can Transform Uncertainty into Action. This is the first of many initiatives to come around new ways of living, community support and involvement.

Picture retrieved from here

In our first live session with Alex Grey we had hundreds of people tuning in to draw inspiration and use tools to transform uncertainty into action. We now creating a forum to discuss how to action ideas and initiatives that will promote life, freedom, acceptance and accountability.

That we are diverse and different that currently we are in the most challenging times in human history due to growing divisions and separation. We realized that we fear death and not coming to acceptance with this as well as our differences. We feel it is time to reimagine our relationship with ourselves, our communities, our appointed governments. This time we need to see beyond our fears and differences to be able to truly reach our potential. This will be through hosting discussion panels, community activities and invite as many people as we can to take part.

Story shared by Issac Oron, New Zealand

More info here or at issac@earthbeatfestival.com

Social Hackathons vs Corona

Around March 15, 2020 German Start-Up-Companies, the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Social Entrepreneurship Foundation, Impact Hub Berlin and a large group of ‘Techies’ collaborated with the German Government in a call on a nation-wide hackathon to cope with social consequences of corona. Within one week, more than 40.000 participants, more than 2.000 innovators and 3.000 mentors registered and joined in a 48-hour hackathon.

As a result, hundreds of project ideas how to cope with corona have been developed within one weekend, 200 projects have been selected for a short-list and 20 projects received funding awards.

As a consequence, regional coworking spaces and other urban and rural initiatives are planning social hackathons in their region.

Social Hackathons may be future tools for addressing challenges in communities and local regions. May attract specifically young people of the area who could collaborate with administration, politicians and business people. Easy to be supported and funded by local companies and administrations.

Story shared by Wolfgang Stark, Germany.

More info here.