I was talking with someone about mission statements today and through the post came an appeal from Amnesty International. It has their mission as set out be founder Peter Benenson. The strength of purpose makes me realise how woolly mission statements often are – this one isn’t woolly or vague in the slightest.
“only when the last prisoner of conscience has been freed, when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world’d people, will our work be over”
The new community cafe called Outside the Box is now open for business in Ilkley, or at least it will be at the weekend. If you don’t know where it is there’s a clue in the title.
Outside the Box opened last weekend and will be open again this weekend. It will be great to support the newly opened community cafe simply by being there. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s a creat space and there’s free Wi-Fi I am told.
The cafe is run on a charitable basis and is recruiting.
Here’e a link to more information
And here’s what you may have missed last weekend.
Just to say thanks to all those who turned up for the Marvellous Manningham photo walk today, specially Andy who came over from Ilkley and John from Holme Wood. The walk was organised by David Hartley at St Paul’s Church in Manningham.
If you look at Wikkipedia you can quickly get an impression that Manningham’s glory days were, perhaps, in Victorian times while more recently it’s been associated with the riots and other less than happy news events.
But when you explore Manningham you quickly realise what a beautiful and lively place it is. The aim of the photo walk was to capture the now of Manningham and for the group of photographers to have some lively conversation over sandwiches.
This was a reminder that St Paul’s is a community church with a real interest in the neighbourhood.
The photos will be added to a library of images which will enhance the church’s website which is to be refreshed very soon. We hope that over time the collected images will give an inspirational view of Manningham and St Paul’s vital role at the heart of it.
I’ve been working with three churches in the area to look at communcations – particularly online. The aim is to identify and master appropriate technology and to get great stories out into the public domain. Of course there’s no point in having a communications platform if there is no content – content is king, as they say.
So the end game is not simply to have a facebook account and a website, but also to have a passion for making and reflecting stories.
St Paul’s Church is Manningham has devised a community photo walk which will bring together people who perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily talk with one another to see the community through each other’s lenses – literally.
I hope there will be some discussion about the nature of the community, some thought provoking photos and some new friendships. Of course there will some great content for the website.
MARVELLOUS MANNINGHAM PHOTO WALK
Saturday 1 June, 12 noon
Join us on a short walk to take photos that illustrate signs of hope in
Manningham. Meet in St Paul’s church hall, Church St (behind the Library)
for lunch (bring your own food but drinks are provided) and a chat with
photographer and media producer, Mark Waddington.
Choose one of the prearranged walks and return half an hour later to St
Paul’s to look at the first results. The best photo will be chosen by Manningham Parish Council and a selection
will be displayed in the church hall and on the parish website.
For more details, and to book a place, contact David Hartley on 01274 494018
When I started taking photos it was all about film, chemicals and paper. There was something wonderful about the process and the smell of the chemicals, weird I know. I’m rediscovering the magic with alternative printing techniques.
This picture is a Cyanotype – the classic process using Potassium Ferricyanide (toned in green tea). The cyanide in this case is non toxic but I haven’t yet told Mrs W – I just say I’m getting the cyanide out and she stays well out of the way.
The prints are exposed in sunlight. The exposure time on a bright cloudy day is between 15 and 20 minutes. The shadow highlights complete first at 15 minutes and then the highlight details come through at 20 minutes. The only way of getting a good exposure, it seems to me, is to make a mask to cover up that shadow parts of the final image from 15 minutes.
When you are part of a small group of people trying to make something happen it’s impossible to point the finger at someone else without pointing it at yourself – equally it’s impossible to praise someone without taking some pride in yourself. I’m reflecting here on how we share success and failure.
At Woodhouse Community centre we have been discussing how best to structure the organisation that which “manages” the volunteers and helps create an environment of inclusion, creativity and equality. With Leeds TV I have been helping deliver a course called Independent Programme Makers aimed at empowering communities to participate in the new TV channel for Leeds, and in three local churches I have been discussing ways of getting people involved in online communications.
The most significant connection between all the projects I’ve been engaged with this week is that they have been about encouraging participation and a feeling of shared responsibility.
I’ve been struck by a few comments this week from people who quite understandably see the running of things as the responsibility of someone else – the government, the council, the boss etc. The media is responsible for telling us how the world is, the police are responsible for keeping the peace, the council are responsible for making sure the bins are emptied.
I’m not going to make any grand observations or say anything deep here other than to observe that there are some great people I know who are having a go at making change and not blaming anyone else for failure, they are seeing a need and are having a go at making a difference. They are learning as they go, making some mistakes and growing as a consequence.
Thanks to the volunteers who have: built a garden in Woodhouse, set up a community newsletter, preparing to make TV programmes about their community, organised a community photo safari, commissioned articles for a community blog, started a cinema club for a neighbourhood, opened a community cafe, running a talking newspaper for the visually impaired, set up a clothing exchange and so on and so on.
Seven times a day, as I work upon this hungry farm,I say to Thee,
‘Lord, why am I here?
What is there here to stir my gifts to growth?
What great thing can I do for others – I who am captive to this dreary toil?’
And seven times a day Thou answerest,
‘I cannot do without thee.
Once did My Son live thy life,
and by His faithfulness did show My mind,
My kindness, and My truth to men.
But now He is come to My side, and thou must take His place.’
From ‘Hebridean Altars’, Alistair MacLean
I’m sure that journaling our stories through images consistently and over the long term will lead to an invaluable resource. A catalogue of images that truly reflect our organisation’s values and activities can help celebrate achievements and protect our future.
I’ve been working with the Woodhouse Community Centre in Leeds and a number of local churches in Bradford to improve the presentation of their communities online.
The one big stumbling block, it seems to me, is the availability of decent images. Community organisations are about people, what they do and how they relate to each other. The use of images can show who you are and what you do much more powerfully than endless paragraphs of explanation.
Text heavy websites or magazines are simply not going to be engaging enough for the majority of people these days. Of course we do our best to find images we can use but they are often of poor quality and don’t represent the range of people and activities in our communities.
The safeguarding issues around children often mean that children are not represented on websites at all, or at least very little. The photos we use rarely represent smaller groups where the presence of a camera may be intrusive.
The absence of images can make us invisible – for example whenever my wife an I go on holiday you’d think she went on her own by the absence of photos of me! Our churches may seem to be populated by older people who stand in rows smiling and looking towards the camera but not actually doing anything.
If we are going to do this properly we’ll need three things in place.
- A policy for obtaining photos and using them online. This means understanding what we can and can’t show, how we obtain permission and what the copyright rules are, among other things.
- People who know what they are doing – i.e. photographers who understand the rules, the needs of the website and how to take a decent photo. Publishers who know the history of the photos and can make good decisions about how they are used.
- A place to store and catalogue the photos so they can be accessed by the people who need them.
Here I’m going to suggest that we use Flickr to store and catalogue images. It’s only a suggestion and I’m open to any other thoughts about how to manage an accessible library of images for use on the web and other publications.
Heres a video. To see it properly you may need to use the ‘full screen’ button bottom right of the player.