I write these pieces every 6 months, usually for the Centre for Social Informatics’ all-centre meetings. (I’m usually incapable of speech by the time it’s my turn to report.) Really miffed that we can’t get together in person this time. Click this link to see all the pieces in this series. Continue reading
This was originally written as a ‘reserve’ presentation for RIVAL event 3‘s ‘sharing our skills’ section. Fortunately enough people who are good at presenting volunteered, so Hazel Hall suggested I turn it into a blog-post.
So here it is. The first part is a whistle-stop tour through my current ‘life under lockdown’; the second part is some lessons from recent online conferences I’ve attended, and from many community council online meetings. It’s meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but with some genuine lessons and realisations.
I should admit that the title of this post is a deliberate misnomer. I’ve despaired over many things, but turning RIVAL events virtual is not one of them. (It has been a lot of work though.)
Click any image to see it full-size in a new tab or window.
I recently attended an European chapter of ASIS&T Information Science Trends online conference This year it focussed on health information hehaviour. The following are my digitally-assisted memories of #AECIST20, i.e. adaptations of my live-tweets from the event. As ever, this report is mostly to help me sort what I need to do from what I want to do after being stimulated by many fascinating presentations. Any mistakes or misrepresentations in the below are of course my mistakes. Continue reading
- The RIVAL network: I’m PA to the ∏, administrator, map-creator, videographer, data-analyst and much more
- IL measures paper: Peter and I are contributing a section to a paper by Gunilla Widen. This will report on the survey of community councillors, and how (not to) measure workplace information literacy.
- marking: some marking of students’ placement reports.
- information avoidance in diabetes: because I don’t want to know about my diabetes, but because I do want to know why this is. And I want to to help others with this bad combination, and to maybe generate some theory!
- SFC GCRF map. This is to create a web map of SFC-funded GCRF projects. Draft version is here: http://bruceryandontexist.net/SFC/VA42-2019_11_19/. <insert moan about administrivia>
- Failure: REDACTED
- Still minutes secretary and web-weaver for 3 Edinburgh community councils
- But I’ve worked out how to cut down on the hours while still doing what they want.
- £eithChooses PB event: publishing, IT, web, admin…
- Community Councils Together on Trams: minutes and asking important impertinent questions
- Failure: I didn’t cease smoking. Instead Varenicline made me vomit.
My personal side has been blowing his trumpet:
|When||What||outcome and notes|
|December to early January||marking Work-based learning mid-year reports||Success: Marking was done, including handling students’ queries, and writing and delivering a presentation on how I will mark final reports.|
|January||PB in Brazil: whether and how PB benefits the very poor in Sao Paulo||work on a paper was stalled for ages. It took until late June to get a focus-group transcribed. Translation is to follow…|
|February to May||running WriteNow! sessions on Wednesday afternoons||
|February onwards||RIVAL: 4 networking events in 2019-2020 for Library and Information Scientists and practitioners||See project website for details.|
|March onwards||GCRF map/database The Scottish Funding Council wants a map of all of the GCRF projects it funds. Image of possible look-and-feel is here||awaiting contract-signature|
|February, May||Internal examiner for 3 BIT MSc students||All three passed. (Credit belongs to the students and their supervisors!)|
|April-May||Writing RFC funding applications||
|May||Marking Computing in Contemporary Society courseworks||Work was done.|
|June||Marking Work-based learning final reports||work in progress|
|January onwards||minuting meetings between Community Councils Together on Trams and Edinburgh Council’s Trams Team||better citizen-involvement?|
|September 2018 onwards||member of £eith Chooses steering group||Success! See website. Survey on possible improvements due to close soon.|
|since time immemorial||minutes and websites for three Edinburgh community councils: Leith Central, Leith Harbour & Newhaven, New Town & Broughton||Success, I think: better recording and publicising of hyperlocal government activities|
|ongoing||taking part in various democracy events, e.g. practical democracy project, Democracy Alive||Some better understanding of what various bodies are doing to improve democracy. I’m not sure how effective they will be, or what my role should be.|
This afternoon I was at a seminar on Deliberative Innovation: Research and Practice at Edinburgh University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. This was presented by Oliver Escobar and Stephen Elstub, and chaired by Sara Drury. It was great to to meet and learn from Oliver, Stephen, Sara, some of Sara’s students from Wabash College and others in a very varied gathering.
As usual, this post is mostly composed of my tweets, slightly edited for comprehensibility. Larger amendments and additions are in [square brackets]. The block-quotes are my thoughts.
I spent most of today working on a presentation. One of our partners, Leandro Ramos, has contacted the relevant department of São Paulo’s city administration. It turns out they are very keen to hear how participatory budgeting (PB) works in Scotland. This is great, because
- I’m involved in setting up and running this year’s LeithChooses PB process, and so can speak from some experience of how a small group of dedicated, unpaid volunteers are working together to run and improved version of a civic process.
- We can hear from some people who know how PB in São Paulo really works.
|#||When||What||outcome and notes|
|1||July||RIVAL: community event on the theme of LIS research impact:||success!
Also enabled further funding application (line 5)
|2||July||applying for GCRF funding for PB in Brazil||success!
See line 7
|3||July||marking work-based learning 2017-18 final reports||——-|
|4||September||Drafting an idea for some public engagement/democracy work||to revisit in 2019|
|5||September||RSE funding application to follow up RIVaL: RIVaL network||success!
Work to start in Feb 2019
|6||October||marking work-based learning 2018-19 initial reports||——-|
|7||October to present||PB in Brazil: whether and how PB benefits the very poor in Sao Paulo Bruce going to Sao Paulo 4 to 27 Jan, Wegene 4 to 13 Jan||LitRev in progress
builds on CSI’s relationship with University of Sao Paulo
|8||November||marking BSAD coursework 1||——-|
|9||November||application for RIO funding to run WriteNow! writing sessions in 2019||success!
working with Frances
|10||December||marking work-based learning 2018-19 mid-year reports||——-|
|11||December||marking BSAD coursework 2||——-|
Could I offer a short course or other help to students’ improve their report-writing skills?
|12||July||contribution to 2018 Digital Governance in Municipalities Worldwide: A Longitudinal Assessment of Municipal Websites Throughout the World||fancy certificate of thanks|
|13||July to present||minuting meetings between Community Councils Together on Trams and Edinburgh Council’s Trams Team||better citizen-involvement?|
|14||September||Taking part in a follow-up to research by the Scottish Community Development Centre on community councils.||led to involvement in draft PB charter|
|15||September to present||member of £eith Chooses steering group||voting Saturday 23 February 2019|
|16||October, November||further participation in Scottish Government (SG) Online Identity Assurance stakeholder group||TBC|
|17||November||participation in debate/research on governance of and possible new powers for community councils||TBC|
|18||December||commenting on Scottish Government draft Open Government Action Plan||appreciated by SG|
|19||December||participation in Scottish Government/CoSLA event on mainstreaming participatory budgeting. Write-up of event is in a set of posts starting here||TBC|
|20||all year||minutes and websites for three Edinburgh community councils:||better recording and publicising of hyperlocal government activities|
There is currently debate about publishing community council members’ contact details. The following is based on my experience of working with 3 community councils for many years, and examining every CC website I could find in 2012 and 2014. From this, I’d advocate:
- publishing member’s names and roles. Ideally these would be accompanied with photos, as in this example. This could make CC members seem more real and approachable.
- each CC having at least one email address, perhaps something like hello@name_of_CC.gov.uk
- ideally, each CC having addresses for its office-bearers, especially the secretary.
- This would keep CC emails separate from personal emails, help ensure that the public can continue to contact the CC when office-bearers move on, and help ensure that people who have retired no longer receive CC emails.
- have all CC members’ personal addresses in a Google Group, MailChimp list or similar, so that it is easy to send emails to all CC members. (Reply-all can be a pain, not least because such recipient lists easily get out of date.) Such a list would have office-bearer’s CC email addresses rather than their personal ones.
- NOT have CC email addresses for each member (such as first name.lastname@name_of_CC.org.uk). One of my CCs asked me to set this up. It increased costs slightly, took a long time to set up, was a pain to show a number of members how to configure their computers and mobile devices to use these addresses, and the addresses are hardly used. (Most members do not need to email as CCllrs.)
- NOT publishing personal contact details such as personal email and physical addresses.
So what have I got wrong? Shout at me via the comments!