After hearing about Patrick Newell’s background in social entrepreneurship in Japan I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to learn from his insight and experience in his Masterclass, tied to the theme of "Economy" in the last session of SLQ APDL's "Think Outside" program. The project that I brought to the workshop, with the hope of taking a step beyond an idea, is also set in Japan. I am part of a group of architectural graduates (RIDe) partnering with UQ and ArchiAid to produce a documentary film about how a network of local and international architects are assisting with the reconstruction and economic and cultural revival of the tsunami- and earthquake-affected Tōhuku region in Japan. Emergency vehicles in the ruins of Sukuiso Japan following the tsunami I went into the workshop with no experience in business or marketing and hoped to leave with some ideas for a funding model for our project. Although the project in my mind did not fit neatly into the category of a social enterprise, undertaking the workshop provoked a rethinking of it as one. Patrick has founded a number of organisations in Japan. One of them, "Impact Japan", which is described as a lighthouse for entrepreneurship, is in the process of building a creative hub in Tōhuku that will become the meeting point for interdisciplinary collaboration. The one-day workshop involved a series of brainstorming sessions, where we used different techniques to encouraged us to rethink our projects in unexpected ways. A design approach was emphasised through hands-on and exploratory concept mapping, from defining our vision and objectives, to turning them into an elevator pitch. The format of short presentations by Patrick followed by collaborative workshopping helped us refine our own project visions, objectives and their measures of success. At the end I realised how the Masterclass prompted an initial but necessary step in our project’s development: that was the importance of clarifying our vision and narrowing the scope of the project (which is where we learnt a lot of projects fail) in order to convince those whom the project will serve. I also learnt from other attendees, in particular how “responsibility” has more currency in discourse about sustainability. It was important that we came into the workshop on this level, believing in the social, authentic and other kinds of long-term value, which our projects aim to generate. Thank you to APDL and to Patrick Newell for the opportunity to participate in the Masterclass; I hope to keep in touch with Patrick when RIDe lands in Tōhuku in the near future to film for the documentary.
With freshly painted walls and rainbow colours spreading across each floor, SLQ is only one week away from launching Our Dreaming: animating country. Look for the trees throughout the library to follow the children's Kurilpa trail and discover a world of animation and stories and fun!
Appreciation of culture is always subjective, what speaks to the core of one of us might fall flat on another. For me though, the art of film has always stood as the meeting point where literature, design, music and photography combine to produce a medium of almost limitless possibilities. I take great joy in knowing that as long as I live, there will always be more movies than I can possibly take in- an ocean of experience that was here before any of us, and will certainly be here long after our daily flutterings have ceased. I remember attending free film screnings at SLQ as a budding movie fan, and being exposed to new worlds, each one offering a new tangent to explore. Decades old, the Sunday movie screenings here have been a staple of our community so entrenched that stepping into the shoes of my predecessor has at times felt like a responsibility almost overwhelming in it's scope. But we have continued- three years into my tenure and we're still going to the movies, being challenged, angered, seduced, educated, comforted and entertained by this collective dreaming that is cinema. At times I've wondered if the fact that most of us now have screens in our homes of a dazzling size and quality, in addition to unprecedented access to film archives through new delivery systems would affect our behaviour- that the simple act of a community coming together under one roof to share a dramatic experience would fade away. It would seem not- the very nature of movies is that they are populist, they're meant to be experienced together, and discussed afterwards. The movie fan with nobody to discuss their favourite (or least favourite) flick with is a lonely soul indeed. This is a time of the year where I'd like to think we can take a moment to look at our lives, the year we've had, and the one that lies before us. And looking back I must say I stand humbled and grateful for the SLiQFlicks audience, who keep coming back, to have that silent communal conversation in the shared dark of the movies, where for a couple of hours each week we see where the rabbit hole takes us. There's a kind of peace in embracing such a simple, universal act, and even though every movie is a beautiful lie, there's a truth in how we perceive them. I hope we continue to dream together for years to come.
The winner of the #YLibrary of the Future Writing Competition is Sophie Manion. Sophie will receive an iPad mini. Congratulations Sophie! Here is her winning entry: I want to hear the voices of a million lives. I want to brush their hearts with the tips of my fingers and feel as they feel, with their skin and their lungs and their ears. It takes a moment - a light on a screen, a battery cord plugged in - but then I can. In a moment I am timeless. The library is a passport to worlds that exist only in the mind. I am lost amongst these places with my greatest friends, my most treasured heroes. Words can transport me. I can listen or I can read but I will always experience. It doesn’t matter whether I can touch the ink, smell the fresh pages or instead, scroll down the electronic page with a gesture of my hand. The future is a grand place but it is those words, the magic that I can only find in a library, that can teleport me away to somewhere I’ve never been. Whether I walk through those open doors from my computer, or on my phone, or physically - I will always find a new world waiting in that maze of books. There are some things that will never change.
In 2013 the National Apology Day fifth anniversary occurred. To celebrate this event the State Library of Queensland has placed five digital stories online for clients to view. These stories come from the 7995 Apology Project digital stories and oral history collection, which can be located on One Search. The Apology Project Digital Stories reflect several peoples experiences during this momentous event. Jeremy Robertson talks about his experiences at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts (ACPA), contending with racial stereotypes and what Kevin Rudd's apology meant to him. Tiga Bayles reflects on attending the Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples at Parliament House, Canberra on 13 February 2008. He also talks about the experiences of members of the Stolen Generation and what the apology means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Natalie Alberts talks about how Government policies affected her family, growing up at Cherbourg, Woorabinda and northern Queensland. She recalls the emotion of organising an event at the Musgrave Park Cultural Centre on the day of the Apology. Sam Wagan Watson Jr. recalls working as a security supervisor on an industrial site the night before the Apology and how he came to process the meaning of the Prime Minister's speech. Nadine McDonald-Dowd remembers traveling to Canberra with her mother at attend the Apology. She talks about her mother's experiences and how the Apology helped her come to terms with her past. Anna Bligh, former Premier of Queensland (2008), shares her opinions on how past legislation has impacted upon Aboriginal people. She talks particularly about the removal of Aboriginal children from their families, and how a bipartisan apology is important for improving conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Quentin Bryce, former Governor of Queensland who was in 2008 referred to as Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC, talks about her emotional response to the Prime Minister's apology, her role in Indigenous issues and how she first learnt about the Stolen Generation in 1978. Tania Schafer - Contemporary Collecting, State Library of Queensland
The first thing that strikes you about Patrick Newell (PN) is his energy, that, and his uber cool kicks that are business up top, party underneath- his words not mine. The social enterprise masterclass was billeted as applying the process of design thinking to affect positive social change in an economically sustainable way, but I believe it was most successful in giving its students, wannabe and gonnabe social entrepreneurs, the hard hitting questions not yet asked nor explored in order to turn their projects from idea into reality. After an inspiring introduction into PN's background and some of his own successful projects, we were all asked a simple question, "how will you know if your solution was successful, and successful for whom?" Whilst the end goal will vary, the measure of a successful social enterprise remains the same, one which balances delivering impact driven outcomes together with self sufficiency. So how do we achieve this? Beginning with several mind mapping exercises in which we each focused on our own individual projects, the room became at times a frenzied mass of scrawling felt tip markers and at others, a quiet sea of shut eyed contemplatives. As someone developing a socially responsible product, a burning question was being posed by one of my own mind maps, can you in fact, create contentment through an act of consumption? This brought to mind the recent TEDxBrisbane talk given by Simon Griffiths, co founder of Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, "a product that has a social impact embedded in the transaction." Apart from delivering a significant social impact, what both Who Gives A Crap and one of PN's own projects, Living Dreams, an organisation that works with orphanages in Japan, have in common is their vision. Which brings us to possibly the most important exercise we were instructed to complete, to craft our own personal vision. Whilst we did not have to share this with the class, PN did let us in on his own vision which was 'to impact as many people as he can'. Everyone's personal vision will differ, this we can be certain of, but ultimately what all social entrepreneurs aim for is to create a positive impact on people. When we transfer this vision to the consumer part of the equation we realise that the role of social enterprise is to capitalise on the feel good factor that the consumer receives from having made the choice to be a part of such a transaction. In the industrialised world we are spoilt for choice and the model of disposable consumption that has developed in the last few decades has brought with it greater democracy to the consumer but at a massive cost to those behind the scenes. Naomi Klein's No Logo famously highlighted the sweatshops and the economic impact that such practices created back in the late 1990's but it is only in this age of inescapable social media that we have seen a level of scrutiny applied to the involved parties that is actually affecting lasting change. Most notably and rather recently, the Rana plaza collapse in Bangladesh which received mass news coverage and garnered outrage from consumers because it called into question their own accountability in choosing to support the companies involved in these practices. So, impact and choice being the featured keywords in this post, my final takeaway from the class was to try as PN instructed to "connect the unconnected", but what if instead, we rethink that which is already connected? We have grown up to think about the impact of many of our choices retrospectively, if at all, but if we can train ourselves to make these choices based upon their impact at the point of transaction then we have a chance to see the social enterprise model flourish and become the norm rather than the alternative. The beauty of choosing to participate in the social enterprise economy is that you receive more than just a tangible product or service, you are also rewarded with that feel good factor, a quality that cannot be monetised but rather comes from knowing that you have made a choice to make a positive impact. And couldn't we all do with choosing to add a little more feel good in our lives, be it as an entrepreneur or consumer?