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I use the seasons to plan my work breaking them into three cycles of activity and delivery; spring, summer and autumn (pretending winter doesn’t exist as I live in Manchester!).  Normally the autumn period is the busiest with events, projects and activities crammed into a short period.  This year has been no different and as the seasonal break approaches I thought I would highlight three recent projects all developed by Fellows.

Todmorden Talks and Our Leicester Day are shortly to be featured in the December RSA Journal. Stoke Stories was real fun as it brought together positive community activity seeking out projects in the area.  Our Leicester Day and Stoke Stories events will return in 2012 and Todmorden Talks has evolved into an ongoing network of activity around the Calderdale area. Their next Tod Talks takes place on 15 December.  All of these initiatives used social media to continue connections and conversations; crucially they balanced online activity with events, face to face meetings and talks.

Each approach brought together individuals, groups and communities, connecting them with each other and thereby strengthen relationships and encourage collaboration.  Whether its food, a sense of place, or an important local issue, Fellows provided the stimulus to encourage community actions that deliver real impact.

One of the key features of Our Leicester Day impressed me with its emphasis on  evaluation, ensuring learnings were captured to help shape the next event in 2012. Having this evaluation element also gave everyone who participated the sense that this was something that would continue – it wasn’t just a one off . Todmorden Talks was developed with Incredible Edible and demonstrated the power of community collaboration and partnership with food as the catalyst. Stoke Stories taps into a sense community emotion or cohesion; here is a real need to regenerate and inspire positive activity.

Extraordinary variety of organisations, brought together efficiently and looking forward to see how we can work together

- Our Leicester Day evaluation

Last weekend I attended  Leeds Summat helping  members of the Leeds Network in supporting and participating in this lively gathering addressing big issues for Leeds, Yorkshire and the world.  This event connected people, explored ideas and core issues whilst sharing stories and experiences.  You can find out more from the day itself by visiting the Culture Vulture blog. We aim to work with the team again and look at ways to explore collaborative working.

If you have any stories or examples of similar successful events please share them, we would like to hear from you.

Thinking ahead for 2012 I am considering how we grow and replicate these great projects further.  For example with the RSA North West Panel we are looking at focusing on developing a key strand such as innovative thinking and the “blue economy” for activities, blogs and events.  We aim to take elements from all of these recent events and shape them into a two day conference which breaks down group silos and encourages stronger participation and engagement.

I will keep you posted how things shape up over the coming months but one thing will be key - collaborative approaches engineered and facilitated by Fellows.

Vivs Long-Ferguson  is Senior Networks Manager for North West, Yorkshire, East Midlands and Wales  – follow @vivslf



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