Monday, 2 September 2013

Local is um....

The process of getting involved in parish politics needs to be much more appealing! 
Sitting in a village hall and putting our hand up when we want to be heard is not the way to get people involved any more. We need help from a younger generation to change this but they are the ones who are least likely to get involved. 

I am trying some new ways of provoking a reaction to local issues. One experiment has been to make a short video about my village and posting it on YouTube. Using my impending move to this new parish I used Google Streetview to take a look around, noticing things missed on my physical visits.
Made without the knowledge of the community it was an outsiders view of their place.
This film observes some of the issues in Hemyock and if it provokes a reaction may help highlight topics which can form part of the parish questionnaire. 
This could equally be of a district in a town or city. I hope this is the first of many experiments which will evolve into some new tools to help parishes use Localism in a productive and positive way that involves the whole community.

A huge thanks you to the multi talented Thomas Hughes who composed the music and helped bring it together with editing help and support.

I would like to commission a short story written specifically about the places and characters in the community highlighting topics of conversation and much that gets missed in the local paper and district council chamber. This could be published in the parish newsletter with an invitation from the author to attend a workshop on creative writing and express their own views on the neighbourhood they live.

I have recently used another YouTube video attached to a planning application to explain what I want to do and make the planning process more accessible to those living near the site. More of this in a blog on the planning system and my eco house soon.

I'm worried the Localism bill would not bring positive benefits unless it engaged a new much wider cross section of a community. I have started exploring how art could attract those not normally involved in local issues to get them engaged in the process of local democracy. 

The way people are attracted to take part makes a huge difference to how positive their ideas and participation will be. According to Oliver Letwin MP, the architect of Localism, it will be a reactionary process. If so there is a risk the whole process becomes negative and appeal to a narrow and short sighted band of aged semi professional protesters.

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