Harbinger Consultants

Creative Sustainability :: Place, People, Product, Potential, Partnership + Pollinating

PROJECT | A cultural and values-based response

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Starting out on a walk in Christchurch, NZ as part of Long Time, No See?, October 2013

Yesterday’s post reported on recent events exploring environmental and socio-cultural risks. The interwoven issues of culture, values and engagement require urgent and ongoing attention in the face of such pressing risks. This appreciation of culture and values is an integral part of our working process, particularly in our engagement with communities. The appeal to values and culture also means that social scientists, cultural producers and communicators are vital in research and response to risk and sustainability.

For the past year we have been involved in the broadband arts project Long Time, No See? which explores futuring and sustainability. We have been involved in testing, designing and delivering a participation process as well as catalysing community involvement through a values-based and conversational approach as part of an interdisciplinary team.

The participation process and project have been presented in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Dunedin and, informally, Christchurch. In a subtle way, the project invites participants to explore their values and how that inflects in their perceived, conceived and lived experience of space and place. The project promotes an engagement with difficult and complex issues at the level of the local and everyday. We understand that values and behaviour are closely connected. For the Common Cause project, Tom Crompton writes that “cultural cues contribute to activating and strengthening intrinsic values”. He further explains that:

Values can be both activated (for example, by encouraging people to think about the importance of particular things), and they can be further strengthened, such that they become easier to activate. It seems that one way in which values become strengthened is through their repeated activation. This may occur, for example, through people’s exposure to these values through influential peers, in the media, in education, or through people’s experience of public policies.

The participation process for Long Time, No See? is designed to activate and appeal to values by bringing participants into a conversational space to explore ideas about self, care, world and future. From there, participants creatively engage in a walking and mapping process using a fieldbook and app. There is a distinctly communicative and social dimension of the process and the participation process was designed with reference to innovative practices such as resilience circles, framing and dialogue. The conversation process – as a group dynamic – is also stand alone and can be implemented easily by any community or group using or adapting the online guide.

At present the Long Time, No See? project is undergoing review with major revisions of the iPhone app to ensure compatability with iOS7 ahead of presentation of the project at The Cube, QUT in early 2014.

See the project blog at: http://long-time-no-see.org/community

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