Archive for the 'Events' Category

Collaborative Economy Workshop in Dublin

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to a Collaborative Economy workshop organised by the Single Market Forum 2017/2018 in collaboration with Sharing Economy Ireland taking place in Dublin on October 18.
On a very fresh morning (only 5 degrees) and after missing the 5:30am bus, I made it to Dublin on time.
We started with a quick round of introductions, and I found out that in the audience there were several people from the EC, guests from Denmark,UK, Portugal
and Italy, representatives of various Irish governmental and non-governmental organisations, people from academia studying the phenomenon, companies and organisations involved in the Collaborative Economy in Ireland.

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Then a few of the guests had very short (4 min each) interventions, where we heard about the study initiated by DG Grow on short-term accommodation platforms, about defining the term “worker” in the case of non-standard work (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion),  about a two years fact finding investigation on the role of platforms for e-commerce (DG Connect). Guests from Sharing Economy UK and Denmark (link to the Danish Govt Strategy here) spoke briefly about their countries’ specific situations.

We spent the next session sharing stories about our own involvement in the collaborative economy in Ireland. I had the chance to hear from, among others, Karolis Duoba from Tryilo, Maggy Morrissey, a photographer who has an Etsy shop and is involved in organising monthly meetups for photographers interested in monetising their work in Dublin, and Fiachra Duffy, who is working for Deliveroo in Dublin. The story that stuck with me was Simon O’Rafferty‘s story about the Trade School, an initiative that aimed to bring people together to exchange skills, while at the same time giving them the opportunity to connect with others.

During the next 3 sessions, we joined various “Conversation Tables“, each dedicated to a topic. I started with “From local to global“, where we spent a good part of the time trying to come to a shared understanding of what we all meant by “local” and by “global”. I then moved to “From rural to urban“. During the last session, we discussed “Harnessing social and environmental opportunities“, talking about what could be done to provide better support for housing, education and food issues. The format worked well- at each table we examined challenges(1st round), resources(2nd round) and solutions (3rd round), while a topic facilitator stayed with the same topic for all 3 rounds.

Before lunch, the Your Europe resource website was presented. The resource is dedicate to those who move from one European country to another for work and have to make sense of the legislation in a new country. I would have loved to have access to something like this years ago when I moved to Ireland!

In the afternoon, we were all invited to suggest topics for two rounds of Open Space sessions in relation to the future of work in the digital economy.
First, I joined a session on ‘Creativity and Freedom‘ suggested by Saoirse Sheridan, whose ElderHomeShare initiative had drawn my attention in the morning. We attempted to understand what the two concepts meant for each of us, and we ended up noting the future steps each of us wanted to take to bring more creativity and freedom into our own lives. I surprised myself telling the group how much I enjoy the creativity and freedom afforded by my academic career, which is quite a change from my usual moaning. I guess the sabbatical did wonders!
The second session I joined was titled “Are platforms creating value? If so, for whom and how?“. We spoke about how platforms are more similar to marketplaces than to corporations, the various skills required by the collaborative economy, the possible sharing of data between governments and platforms. We were all intrigued by the business model of Urban Volt, illustrating that not all the collaborative economy initiatives rely on platforms.

We came back in a circle for a round of presentations and conclusions, which was video recorded and might appear online at some point. All our discussions were illustrated throughout the day by the fantastic Sabine Soeder aka CoCreative Flow, who persuaded me I should have a go at graphic facilitation(will have to find the time though!).


It was a dense and exciting day that gave me the fantastic opportunity to meet and talk to peers interested and working in the Collaborative Economy. I left with the hope that this was only the beginning, and that we’ll be able to help disentangle these complex issues through the SharingAndCaring COST action and the CollabEire Special Interest Group.

The Single Market Forum 2017-2018 has organised 3 other similar workshops in other European countries before the one in Dublin. Kudos to Dana-Adriana Puia for bringing it to Ireland and to Elizabeth Douet from Sharing Economy Ireland who initiated this!

October 23 2017 | CollaborativeEconomy and Events and SharingAndCaring | No Comments »

Housing Ourselves Conference in Cloughjordan

Last Saturday, we attended the “Housing Ourselves” conference in Cloughjordan eco-village.


The conference is part of the Convergence Festival, that is at its 20th edition. Cultivate hosted this conference in partnership with Cloughjordan Co-Housing and Cloughjordan Ecovillage, and its aim was to explore new models of housing, smaller homes and more liveable neighbourhoods for healthier and more sustainable local communities. The participants – from all the ways of life, all around the country, and all ages- were all interested in how a community-led approach to housing could work. The introductions session was titled “Voices from the field“, and we really heard a variety of voices, from young couples interested to build a tiny home to seniors in search of the ideal retirement solution (as were we!).
Housing is a real problem in Ireland, and the number of people (and families) who become homeless is rising.
The event was facilitated by Davie Philip from Cultivate. In his introduction, Davie mentioned the Irish Community Living Unconferences series that happened earlier this year in Dublin, Cork and Galway and attempted to bring together people interested in the areas of Community Living, Co-operative Housing and Eco Villages. In Cork, an initiative group formed following the unconference held there.
In the morning, we started with a series of presentations.

The first part was dedicated to Irish case studies.
Prof. Peadar Kirby spoke about the Cloughjordan ecovillage project started 20 years ago. The economic crisis prevented the project from being completed, and only 55 family houses were build on the existing 120 plots.
After that, Margarita Solon gave a talk about McAuley Place in Naas. The former convent was redesigned and extended to host people from all paths of life for a weekly rent of 100 Eur. As Margharita Solon emphasised, the centre does not provide care – but they really care. The initial idea emerged in 2000, and the first resident moved in in 2011. The facility includes tea rooms, a garden, a charity shop and a reception. Art exhibitions are organised periodically. The centre hosts many kinds of community events, that allow the residents to interact frequently with people from their local community.
The next to present was Hugh Brennan, one of the founders of O Cualann. O Cullann was created in 2014 and is a voluntary housing cooperative based on the principles of co-housing approved by the Irish Council for Social Housing. The first estate built is located in Ballymun. The development includes 49 units(while there are more than 700 people on the waiting list at the moment. It is dedicated to families with a household annual income between 36 and 79,000 Eur per annum. The future residents meet periodically, get to know each other and write their own rules for communal living. The development started the construction in Oct 2016, and. The first 5 families have already moved in. 70% of people are from the local area and only first time buyers are accepted.

During the next session – Learning from Europe, Davie Philip gave us a tour through various co-housing projects in Europe, from the Eva-Lanxmeer project in the Netherlands and East Whins in Findhorn, UK to the SUSI Vauban project in Freiburg, Germany, that gave a new life to a Vauban fortress. The beautiful images in Davie’s presentation gave wings to my imagination!

Paul Allen’s stories from communities formed around CAT  in Wales were really fascinating. Turning a derelict mansion into a co-housing place makes a lot of sense now that I’ve listened to Paul. Paul mentioned Radical Routes , a network of co-ops and individuals working toward a world based on equality and co-operation, the One Planet Development law that was passed by the Welsh Parliament and the Llamas ecovillage.

Dreamers and Diggers, Communes Britannica and the Communities magazine  were all mentioned as sources of inspiration for anyone who aspires to create a communal living place.

We had a delicious lunch prepared with local produce and we enjoyed meeting more of the participants and hearing about their reasons of being there.

The next session was dedicated to conversations in a World Café format.We discussed what hinders and what enables a cooperative approach to housing.
As factors hindering the approach, mentality, a culture favouring ownership, the lack of information and facilitators, the difficult access to land, passive and dominant people, people seeing themselves as disempowered, fear and conflict avoidance were listed. On the side of enablers, the Friendly Societies Act and CLG companies, crowdfunding and access to financial resources were named.

Community Finance Ireland and Clann Credo were mentioned as potential funding sources for such projects, and the example of the Calann Camphill Community was brought into discussion. We watched this video and got a better idea of the goals of the Camphill Communities,  which I had only heard vaguely mentioned before.

The PIMBY concept (as opposed to NIMBY) was mentioned in relation to this inclusive neighbourhood project involving mutually interested citizens.

The next set of presentations, dedicated to Financing Cooperative Housing Projects, started with John Masterton, the Head Financial Officer of  Cooperative Housing Ireland. The organisation was formed in 1973. The houses they develop are 25-30% cheaper, and they currently have built 5800 houses that are owner occupied. 2300 houses are under management, and 600 units are leased. They are approved to borrow from the Housing Finance Agency. The building of a 8-10 houses estate involves the identification of a site, a general specification and contracts signed with all future home owners.

Finally, Jackson Moulding and Anna Hope  from Bristol’s Ecomotive spoke about their work in Bristol. Jackson had just returned from a 2 months study trip through Japan, the US, and Canada, where he sought inspiration from other co-housing projects. Jackson and Anna initiated the Ashley Vale Action Group, building their own houses in an area that was initially supposed to become a parking lot. Jackson spoke enthusiastically about Bristol as an ecosystem of innovation, where things often happen in spite of the local authorities. He maintained that “a No is an uneducated Yes”, and it is our duty to educate the people around us when it comes to social innovation.

The final discussion was dedicated to Community Led Housing and Modular Homes, and ended with a reflection on the day.

I found the conference extremely well organised and informative. It was useful both from a personal point of view, giving me alternative ideas for when we’ll retire, and professionally, providing me with a unique chance to reflect on the existing gaps in the efforts toward ensuring proper housing for everyone in Ireland that technology might help filling. I am already looking forward to the next edition of Housing Ourselves, which will take place in May 2018.

September 23 2017 | CollaborativeEconomy and Communities and Events | No Comments »

MuseumFutures Lab Presentations

Yesterday, I was invited to a meeting of  the MuseumFutures Lab. The Lab is part of the  Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering and is associated with the Connected Everyday Lab of Prof. Elisa Giaccardi. Its focus is on exploring the future of museum experience design, looking at experiences that start before and last beyond the physical museum visit. Such experiences are connected to personal lives, activities that take place in schools, community spaces and other institutions. Arnold Vermeeren, the director of the Museum Futures Lab happened to be our guest last year for the Cultural Heritage Communities workshop organised in conjunction with Communities&Technologies 2015.

The work of several students and researchers associated with the Lab explores the role of the Internet of Things, DIY technology, the  Maker Movement and other current technology-related developments  in facilitating and stimulating the design of new experiences for museums and heritage places.

Some of the previous work done in the group includes:

Arnold invited specialists from two prestigious Dutch agencies involved in designing for museums (Fabrique and Tellart), an independent museum exhibit designer currently working with Royal Delft Porcelain, as well as a number of colleagues from IDE, to listen to presentations made by four postgraduate students currently working with different Dutch museums and attempting to design innovative experiences for their visitors.

The ideas were extremely diverse. They ranged from combining museum visits with making in an adjacent makerspace, to organising country side circuits of memorial houses including transportation and accommodation solutions, and designing joint museum experiences for visually impaired people accompanied  by friends or family.

After the presentations, we had a round of feedback for which pairs of specialists forming the audience had the chance to discuss separately with each of the students. It was a rewarding experience, as all these group discussions allowed us to exchange information in an efficient and intellectually stimulating way.

My time here at TU Delft proves to be very rewarding. My initial plan was to hide, read and write, but I am finding myself attending a lot of interesting events just because I happen to be here!

November 09 2016 | Events and sabbatical | No Comments »

Games for Cities Training School

During the week 10-14 October 2016, I had the chance to attend the ‘Games for Cities’ training school in Amsterdam. The training school was part of the CyberParks COST action, and the central topic was Circular Amsterdam: Cities, Public Space, Play. The main organisers were Martijn de Waal and Gabriele Ferri from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and Ekim Tan from Play the City

 

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The main focus was on investigating “how play and games can be used to engage and activate citizens around the advent of a ‘circular economy’, with a focus on the flows of food and waste”. Taking a playful, game approach to city-making facilitates engaging different stakeholders in discussing and imagining future developments. This wasn’t my first encounter with the concept of “Circular Economy” (a SIG on this topic exists at the University of Limerick and my host university, TU Delft, is offering a MOOC on the topic), but seeing concrete examples and adopting this mindset definitely helped framing our mission for the training school.

The 5 days programme included presentations by and discussions with various specialists in game design and in the Circular Economy, as well as briefings offered by a number of local organisations on topics they brought to the table as case studies. The majority of the time was dedicated to work in interdisciplinary teams to design a prototype for a city game to take place in a specific location in Amsterdam.

The 19 participants (‘trainees’) were asked to opt for the selected case studies before the training school. The trainers’ task was to coach, nudge, inspire and share knowledge. The participants came from different backgrounds and from all over Europe. Each of them had impressive practices and achievements, and I had the chance to learn from them more than they probably learnt from me.

The first day was dedicated to introductions, general presentations and warming up with some games. We started with the Circular Economy game, designed by Play the City.

Games for CitiesLater in the afternoon, there were presentations on City Games, Circularity and Games Design. The day ended with a scenario game at Mediamatic, that I had to skip because of my daily commute to Delft, where I was based. On the second day, we listened to presentations from representatives of the five ‘clients’ who provided the case studies for each of the teams. The first, from the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, introduced the concept of Urban Mining. The second one was introduced by Arjan Wardekker from Utrecht University, and was connected to water and reflecting on situations where a city has too little or too much water, what can be done to reuse grey water, rain water and so on. The third case introduced a European project run by Waag Society, Urban AirQ, which enables citizens to measure the quality of air in a polluted area of the city by distributing DIY devices. The next step is to reflect on potential behaviour changes and their own roles and that of the neighbourhood in making these possible. The fourth case focused on waste streams at an experimental site in the North of Amsterdam, Noordoogst. Maarten Mulder from the Urban Technology group at the Amsterdam  University of Applied Science talked to us about the efforts for building a Circular Economy system at this location that includes at the moment a pancake restaurant, a bakery, bee hives, a kindergarten, a vineyard, offices, a take-away restaurant and a hostel. The last case was introduced by Francesca Miazzo from Wasted , a system developed for Amsterdam Nord in 2014 to recycle plastic waste. After a trainers’ coordination meeting, I joined the team working on waste streams in Noordoogst, as I found this development intriguing. After a discussion with Maarten and some brainstorming, we decided to make a trip to see the place. It wasn’t easy to get there- we had to catch a bus from the train station and walk quite a bit. We met the hostel owner in front of the hostel itself and he gave us the Grand Tour. There is a lot of potential, but also doubts that the municipality will extend the lease after the current contract ends. Visit to Noordoogst

In the evening, we went to Pakhuis de Zwijger for a “City Game Talk Show”, which was open to the public. Ilaria Mariani, Kars Alfrink, Francesca Miazzo, Michiel de Lange and Lucy Chamberlain gave short talks and participated in a panel discussion. I missed the following day’s activities, as I had meetings scheduled in Delft.

On Thursday, Silvia Tagliazucchi spoke about her work with Architetti di strada, an interdisciplinary group including architects, human rights activists, sociologists, communication & environment specialists, and the process used in Modena to find solutions together with the citizens. Maria Tome Nuez presented her perspective on digital/physical hybridation and co-creating with the citizens. Michael Nagenborg gave us his philosophical perspective on playful interactions, illustrated with interesting examples of games such as Papers, please!  , Cutthroat capitalism and September 12th.We continued working with the teams and the prototypes started taking shape. Games titles started emerging: Food loop, Carzilla, Fun plastic…

On Friday we heard  Lada Hrsak  talking about storytelling, futuring, agents and actors in street communities. Lada is an architect running her own company and has worked on a lot of fascinating projects all around the world This was my first exposure to performative architecture and it was like a new door opened! Ryan Pescatore Frisk from Strange Attractors presented some of their projects using typography, game design and connections between the physical and digital world.

The work on the 5 projects continued until the afternoon, when the whole group moved to Pakhuis de Zwijger for the public presentation of the game prototypes.

For more details, you can check my photos here, and read the Final Report available from the Cyberparks COST action website.

October 24 2016 | Events and sabbatical | No Comments »

What a day!

Everybody around me knows I’m always busy. But today was quite unusual, because it involved two events related to Creative Writing, which  interests me a lot, but rarely can afford the time  to pursue- there’s simply too much happening!

I woke up a 5:55am, tortured by a thousand questions related to a conference budget. I revised the budget – again!, I sent a couple of emails and updated the event page on Eventbrite (hopefully it will go live tomorrow!)

I got to the university at 8:45am, with my porridge in a jar, as I couldn’t afford the time to make it and eat it.

9:15am. I was in the middle of the first Skype call of the day when my door opened and Prof.Tom Moylan came in with no other than Kim Stanley Robinson! I knew he was around, and I had made time for a joint seminar with the Interactive Media and the Creative Writing master students titled “Interaction Design and Scenario Building”, supposed to start at 10am in our Design Studio. I brought the guests to the studio, rang my colleague, tried to organise coffee (and failed), finished the Skype call, initiated the next one while fighting with the printer to get a presentation printed for a student. Workshop details discussed.

10am. The joint seminar was very interesting- we drew parallels between writing and designing, spoke about the  similarities between characters and personas, the importance of narrative for both fields and how scenarios come about. One day I might find time to transcribe my notes!

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12pm. I ran downstairs to talk to three of my students whose final year projects I have supervised this year. Alex explored opportunities offered by NFC tags to make the connection between buildings on campus and digital content about those buildings, Niamh studied gesture interaction opportunities in a museum environments and Athiei filmed people telling stories about particular places around Limerick in those very places.

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1pm. Two more emails and a phone call, and I ran to the weekly gardening session of the UL Community Roof Garden, to introduce one of my master students to the group and do a bit of manual work in the gorgeous sunshine.

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2pm. More firefighting – a student who had to demo her project in the lab came to tell me Flash was out of date and she didn’t have rights to update it. I went looking for the technician, sent him her way.

2:30pm. The afternoon demo session started- I went to see two other of my students – Clodagh who designed an app for DIY skincare enthusiasts and Aoife who created a playful interface for keeping track of the roof garden evolution.

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3pm. I got back to my desk for a call with the editors team of a PUC  Special Issue that came out of our 2013 ECSCW workshop. We distributed responsibilities and set deadlines. Facebook gave me a glimpse into the meSch exhibition launch at Museon in The Hague – it looked like a great success!

4pm. I ran back to the lab to see a few more final year projects before the end of the day. I’ve sent a few more emails, tweeted about my students and said goodbye to the people getting ready for the reception.

5pm. Drove to the Clare side of the campus for the inaugural lecture of Joseph O’Connor, Frank McCourt Professor of Creative Writing. The reception started at 5:15 and the lecture at6pm.

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The lecture was titled: ‘Ghost Light: John Synge and Molly Allgood – A lecture through fiction, letters and music’ and Martin Hayes was invited to play during the lecture.

Ellen McCourt- Frank McCourt’s widow- was in the audience. Facebook brought me this video with her taken the other night  in Limerick. Great lady!

I loved  Ghost Light  very much, and during the Q&A chaired by Prof. Sarah Moore some interesting connections came to light: Joseph O’Connor grew up in Glenageary, and passed by Synge’s house at least twice a day.

8pm. Very hungry. We decided to have dinner in the Pavilion admiring the sunset. Very soon after, Joseph O’Connor and his family, Martin Hayes and the whole group of Creative Writing master students arrived to have dinner in the same place. Dinner was lovely- and none of us had to do the dishes!

9pm. Back home, writing a blog post before reading a proposal and grading more student work.

Now you have it! A day in the life…

April 09 2015 | Events and Limerick and personal | No Comments »

Digital Cities 8

This year, the Digital Cities workshop (co-located with the Communities & Technologies conference) took place in Munich and I finally managed to make it.

Digital Cities 6 happened in 2009 at Penn State University, and Digital Cities 7 was in Brisbane, co-located with Communities&Technologies 2011. Too far, too expensive!

Throughout its existence, the event followed the intertwined development of cities and digital technologies. My interest in urban informatics/Urban Interaction Design has continued to grow in the last 3-4 years. Back in 2009, I came up with the idea of a Connected Limerick project, that went through different incarnations- from workshops and curated talks through to active involvement and support for local communities.

In September last year, I started to work with a team of three students on a Connected Limerick-related project meant to explore opportunities for supporting citizen and visitors in adding digital information to the physical layer – in other words, annotating the city.

The three students who joined me were Laura Festl, a visiting master student  from the University of Siegen, John Slattery, a Music, Media and Performance Technology final year student, and Alan Ryan, a Digital Media Design student  doing an internship with us at the Interaction Design Centre at the time.

John continued his work in the new year and produced an excellent proof-of-concept for the application we had in mind  as his final year project.

From February on, we were joined by an Erasmus student from the Military Technical Academy in Bucharest, Cristina Dobrisan, who continued the work, producing a working prototype.

I was delighted to be given the opportunity to present our work in Munich. The paper is available on Academia.edu and will probably be developed into a longer article for a future Digital Cities 8 volume.

I enjoyed the workshop a lot – some very interesting attendees and papers. Martin Brynskov did an excellent job as workshop organiser and facilitator. I was delighted to meet Eleni Christopoulou, who joined our morning session. She had a paper in the main conference on Collective City Memory together with Dimitrios Ringas. I was aware of their project – CLIO, and indeed there were a lot of commonalities.

DC8 Munich  Martin Tomitsch spoke about an app  that aggregates real time data on the public buses’ locations contributed by the citizen. It made me a bit nostalgic – my son had the same idea for Bucharest during his PhD and he was told it wouldn’t work… Well, it worked in Sydney!

Ingrid Mulder spoke about Creating 010, an initiative based in Rotterdam meant to enable citizens to be involved as co-creators in the development of public services. Fiorella de Cindio spoke about participatory budgeting -a fascinating subject I’ve read more about since, and  Henrik Korsgaard  presented City Bug Report, an installation meant to explore transparency and Open Data readiness in Aarhus, Denmark. Alexander Wiethoff introduced his work and his efforts towards developing a method for the evaluation of media facades. Katharine Willis‘ paper looked at how online interaction could facilitate inclusion and support a sense of place.

We were also joined by Martijn de Waal (The Public Matters) whose insightful questions and comments brought a valuable contribution to our discussion.

It was a fantastic day and it opened new horizons for my future work in this field!

 

July 03 2013 | Events | No Comments »

Cultural heritage and tweasure hunting

At the beginning of last year, I started working on the idea of a Limerick Tweasure Hunt – a treasure hunt using Twitter. The initial idea was to send the participants out for a walk in the city and help them discover things they ignored during their daily rush through the streets. Their tweets were going to expose those places to all their Twitter contacts and generate awareness.  I also intended to draw attention to the Open Plaques project – a fantastic initiative to build a crowdsourced database of historical plaques from all around the world.

It was part of my ongoing “Connected Limerick” pet project – trying to connect the digital and the physical layers of the city in a playful way. You can read more about the background of this idea here and get the gist about what went on by watching this video.

Together with Sharon and Tara, we ran the event for the first time on the 1st of April, as part of the Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival. We included an April Fools joke – unfortunately the first team who got there bagged the fake plaque as a trophy and that was that. The date coincided with the launch of the Limerick City centre Tidy Town initiative – so one of the missions that participants had was to meet the volunteers, talk to them and take a picture.

Following the invitation of the Limerick Local Heroes, we ran a second Tweasure Hunt as part of the 4th of July celebrations in Limerick. By using the same hashtag for all the activities going on on that Sunday (#4thJulyLimerick) we managed to get the public attention by trending in Ireland that morning.

And in October, in collaboration with The Hunt Museum, The Frank McCourt Museum and the Limerick City Gallery of Art, we ran a Halloween Tweasure Hunt.

The next one is planned for Sunday the 24th of March 2013. Sharon and myself went for an exploratory walk today, to check historical plaques, odd corners and timing. We were accompanied by Laura Maye, my PhD student working on the meSch project. She is looking into possible technologies that could support museum and cultural heritage curators to make use of digital artifacts in the actual locations.

As usual here, within an hour we had all four seasons: it rained, it got cold and windy, and then the sun came out and it got really warm. And the story was repeated a couple of times. After a nice cup of tea, we continued with a walk in English Town together with one of my final year students, John Slattery, who is at the moment testing a mobile app. But more about this in another post!

 

 

March 15 2013 | blogging and Events and Limerick and Research | No Comments »

Why I got involved in the Lifelong Learning Festival

Limerick has an annual Lifelong Learning Festival. I remember the first time I came across this information, it was in relation to a gardening demonstration and it was back in 2011. I read the whole program and I realised how many interesting events I had missed because I was unaware of the festival’s existence.

I have the strange reputation of reading any notice, poster or flyer that falls under my eyes. To me, everything is interesting. I’d like to try everything and go everywhere. A friend called me a “culture vulture” one evening when I was leaving early from an exhibition opening to attend a dance performance in a close by location.

 

 

So last year  I decided that miLKlabs, the Limerick hackerspace, had to get involved in this Lifelong Learning Festival, and somehow I managed to convince the others. We had three events over a week, and everybody -organisers and attendees – seemed to enjoy them. For the first time, we attracted people who weren’t on any mailing lists or subscribed to Facebook pages – people who read about us in the Festival brochure or heard about the events on the radio.

This year we’re having an Open Evening on Tuesday, 19 March, and we are running an Arduino workshop led by Mikael Fernstrom on Saturday, 23 March at the University of Limerick.

I’m also running an Urban Gardening event, showcasing our UL Community Roof Garden on Saturday. And together with Sharon Slater from Limerick’s Life, we’re running a Tweasure Hunt in the city on Sunday, 24 March 2013.

Our former outstanding IMedia student, Paul Campbell is running a Geocaching event on campus on Saturday as well.

I’ve persuaded Lou Dennehy, the organiser of our Stitch’n Bitch Sunday meet-ups, to get involved as well – so we’re having a day of learning and sharing on Sunday 24 March as well, starting with 2pm. And following a tweet exchange, Hilary from Make and Do is running a Game Design workshop at the Hunt Museum on Thursday afternoon.

Looking at the Festival brochure, I’m really upset that there are so many great events I will have to miss, because they’re running in parallel with the ones I’m involved in. The Festival is a celebration of the really impressive amount of skills people of Limerick have and are willing to share. I know “there’s  a recession on the radio” (Irish joke, don’t be upset if you don’t get it!), but this shows clearly how rich we are, and the kind of things we can do together!

Now please excuse me, I have to put on my various other hats and blog about these events on their own websites;)

March 12 2013 | blogging and Events and Limerick and Research | No Comments »

IxDA Limerick – the first meetup this autumn

Back in the autumn of 2009, together with Marc McLoughlin (then PhD student and research assistant at the Interaction Design Centre), we started the Limerick chapter of the Interaction Design Organisation.

After three years of activity,  meetup.com displays 103 members, 22 meetups and 10 reviews for IxDA Limerick.
We had an impressive number of invited speakers, networking events and workshops. Two of our members organised the first Design Jam in Ireland this spring. Together with milklabs, the Limerick hackerspace, we organised the first series of  Ignite talks in Limerick.

At the moment, we are in the process of collating all the information we have on meetup.com on an independent website.
Alan Ryan, who is doing an internship at the Interaction Design Centre at the moment,  joined me as event co-organiser for this first event.

I would like to renew my invitation for the members who would like to get involved in the organisation of this local chapter of the IxDA to step forward. We’re looking for new ideas, new activities, new people to run theLimerick chapter of IxDA. We’re looking for more practitioners to join our ranks and lead the conversation.

The meetup on Wednesday opened this year’s series and was scheduled as part of the Design Week.

As the speaker we had in mind couldn’t make it for Design Week, we decided to take the opportunity to present our own work in progress:

Urban Social Technologies are information and communication technologies applied in an urban setting and with a social purpose (Pedersen and Vallgarda, 2004). Emerging at the intersection of Social Media with Ubiquitous Computing and enabled by the wide scale adoption of smartphones, Urban Social Technologies are increasingly pervading our lives. The effects are multifold and invite to reflection. A presentation by a team of researchers and students from the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick will provide the material meant to trigger a conversation on the participants’ practices and opinions related to location-based practices, with a special focus on the Limerick urban space.

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IxDA Limerick Nov meetup, a set on Flickr.

We couldn’t have wished for a better group of attendees on the night! We had a very interesting mix of people from various backgrounds, although current and former IMedia students formed the majority. The big map of Limerick we borrowed from Limerick Smarter Travel  was excellent for triggering memories related to places and supporting the conversation.

November 12 2012 | Events and IxDA and SmarterTravel | No Comments »

Bridges of Limerick Walk

Although it was lashing rain outside, I decided to go to this event organised by Limerick Local Heroes. Walking is good for the soul and is good for the body, and even more so when you walk for a good cause.

See the map on Everytrail

The rain stopped about 10 min before the walk started, and it started again when we finished – so I guess we were really lucky! It’s been years since I walked on the Island, it was good to see how much things have changed for the better there!
Over €1300 were raised this morning for the Cancer Foundation through the donations people made when registering for the walk.
Well done to Kevin Haugh, the organiser of the event, and to all the other people involved: stewards, walk leaders and especially to the walkers.

September 16 2012 | Events | No Comments »

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