It is always gratifying to see ideas put into action and to witness experiments unfold and produce unexpected results. The folks who produced Amplified Leicester just spent the past year in a community-based prototyping project that provided the city of Leicester with some great learning about using digital media to expand the sharing, collaboration, innovation capacities of its residents.
The project was born from the vision of Professor Sue Thomas at DeMontfort University and her work in transliteracy at DMU’s Institute of Creative Technologies and NLab. Two years ago I spoke at NLab’s small business conference and discussed how digital media can amplify individual social and collaborative capacities and ultimately reshape and amplify groups at a larger scale like organizations and communities. A year ago I addressed the Nlab group about how amplified organizations can begin to develop more flexible social and economic platforms that infuse resilience into community infrastructures.
This year, Amplified Leicester put it all into practice and engaged a group of Leicester residents in a process of learning how to become amplified through digital media and then use that knowledge to innovate at a grassroots level and develop practical applications of collaborative media in Leicester. The participants included artists, moms, local politicians, city service employees, non-profit directors, a librarian, and even a police inspector.
On April 15, 2010 Amplified Leicester welcomed the public to a showcase of all the projects that included various workshops and presentations by the participants and their team. The archive (linked to above) includes my keynote presentation about community response to the resilience imperative, remarks by Project Director, Professor Sue Thomas and Thilo Boeck, Sr. Research Fellow at DMU’s Centre for Social Action, and descriptions of the participants’ projects.
The showcase, while marking a milestone for the project and celebrating a lot of hard work, was just the beginning. It kicked off an ongoing engagement with the broader community of Leicester about amplifying for innovation and resilience. Every two weeks the Amplified Leicester community meets to discuss questions, ideas, and lessons about how digital media can help them sense their world, create shared resources, and act collaboratively.