So what has Bruce been up to recently?

Part of an occasional series of posts to try to show that I don’t lie around all day! This post covers the time since we got back from honeymoon in early September.  

At Napier

  • Working with my colleague Wegene Demeke on the initiation of a project to investigate some aspects of participatory budgeting (PB) in São Paulo [Wikipedia], Brazil. We’re particularly interested in whether and how PB benefits the very poor. This is going to be fun, not least because neither Wegene nor I speak Portuguese, but we have some excellent partners at the University of São Paulo.
  • Working with the Prof on a funding bid for some networking events. That’s ‘networking’ in the sense of connecting humans, not ‘plumbing‘! The bid has been submitted but we won’t know whether we’ve been successful for a while, so watch this space!
  • Taking part in a follow-up to research by the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) on community councils.
  • Marking courseworks for an undergraduate course.
  • Drafting an idea for some public engagement/democracy work. Again, watch this space!


  • As ever, taking minutes and running websites for Leith Central, Leith Harbour & Newhaven and New Town & Broughton community councils. These duties take around two full working days per month per community council. I remain amused that I don’t live in any of these CCs’ areas. (I was asked to undertake these duties for my local CC, but I didn’t have the time.)
  • Taking minutes for Community Councils Together on Trams. I am not opposed to trams on principal, but I am opposed to a transport-only, never-mind-the-public-realm scheme. Fortunately, the project’s senior engineers are clearly interested in the public realm and providing other benefits (although their remits may limit what the project can achieve), and are intelligent, open and capable people.
  • Applying for a job. I didn’t get it – I think I came second to someone who had more of the social experiences the potential employers wanted. However, this organisation is interested in working with me in other ways, and I’ve already had an idea for a relevant project. That’s the  public engagement/democracy idea mentioned above.
  • Taking part in the SCDC’s work on a charter for PB
  • Being a member of the steering group for the 2019 edition of the Leith Chooses PB event. This year the challenge is to ensure that funding reaches the most vulnerable groups and individuals in Leith, rather than last year’s less targeted aim of ‘benefiting the community / people of Leith’.
  • Visiting my mother for her birthday. (She lives about 350 miles from Edinburgh.) She is almost house-bound, but my brother drove us out to a local curry-house, which we all enjoyed.
  • Visiting my mother again: my wife couldn’t come to my mother’s birthday visit, but both of us we able to visit about 2 weeks after my mother’s birthday.

What I’ve not been doing

  • Not enough cycling, and no spinning, because the issues with my left foot and leg remain. They have reduced considerably over the last few weeks, coinciding with returning to wearing my SPD mountain-bike boots instead of my SPD sandals.

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