Last night, I spoke at It’s Nice That’s #NicerTuesdays.

Photography courtesy of GT / Its Nice That

It’s their monthly creative talks event, and I stood alongside three other brilliant speakers, photographer Spike Visser, Kevin Haley of aberrant architecture and Hector Harkness from immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, all on the topic of participation.

My talk talked about a couple of projects I’ve run where participation is key, and generally focused on the importance of the role of Curator, someone who is responsible for guiding and directing effort and talent, into the best possible shape; the importance of ensuring that your community is looked after and feels a sense of co-ownership; and that participative projects which include collaboration with a wide group of people are sustainable, so that no-one person can decide they’re bored and give up on a collective group’s input.

All of the talks revolved around the role of the audience in a piece of work, and reminds us that everything we do, ultimately, is for an audience – and without understanding how they fit into ecosystem and the role they play, ideas can be disconnected and inauthentic. Without putting a person and their needs and interests at the heart of an idea, it falls flat.

There’s a larger description of the evening over at It’s Nice That’s blog: http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/nicer-tuesdays-participation-write-up

The 100 (+2)

Almost 2 years ago, I started a project called The 100.

I dreamt up the idea on Jan 1st 2012 to send 100 cameras to 100 people aged between 1 and 100, one camera per age, in order to capture a week in the lives of 100 different ages.

I intended to complete the project within twelve months, as a quicker project in comparison to the long running Disposable Memory Project (which is five years and counting), and wrap the project up on Jan 1st 2013.

Boy, was that an underestimate. In reality, I’ve effectively finished the project today, with the very last roll of film being published on the site. Whilst there will still be a bit of actively over the coming months, the project in its first state is complete with 100 (actually 102) rolls of film developed and shared, in addition to two special ages 0 and 101.

Why did it take longer than expected? I’ll write a longer blog post over on the project to explain, but in short:

1. Major Life Events. Not least of all, my wife got pregnant and we had a second child in 2012, I moved jobs, and a handful of other significant personal events took place which immediately consumed all of my emotional and cognitive energy.

2. The Post. It doesn’t work. Sending physical things all around the world is costly, hard work and unreliable.

3. Crowdsourcing. It takes a long time to find 100 people. It’s sort of chicken and egg. If people aren’t visiting your website, no-one will apply. No-one will visit your website until you have images online. If no-one visits your website, there are no images. And so on.

4. Major Life Events. This is worth posting for both 2012 and 2013. This year has been even more unsettled, with yet another new job, and a host of other challenges.

Needless to say, its great when a project concludes, and to see the complete set of images is really special.

Check out the complete project at http://the100.thinkplaymake.co/