Exploring contexts

In addition to meeting with photographers and film-makers over the past two weeks, I’ve been making links with people and organisations to identify contexts for the development of my work, and ultimately to determine the form and focus of my final project. This is just a quick summary in advance of more detailed posts as each strand develops.

Through chairing a discussion at the UCL Engineering Exchange symposium on Community Research Partnerships, I made contact with Just Space, a network of community activist groups concerned with planning and social justice. I met with the organiser and we took a trip around the Barking Riverside development and the Gascoigne Estate in Barking and Dagenham. I hope to build on this to contribute to the urban planning and development masters module running this term, and to work in the field on image making with students carrying out projects with community groups on planning issues (this work might also involve interviewing and sound recording, and possible exhibition of work in the community). I also agreed to help with the training of student photographers for UCL Students’ Union volunteering section, and to go out with them on their initial visits to document the work on student volunteers in the community. At the London Prosperity Board meeting I made contact with the research and community engagement organiser at the Bromley-by-Bow Medical Centre with a view to working with their citizen scientists on collection of data and photography, and maybe to document the work they are doing in the community. I also made contact with the coordinator of community groups in Newham and with the Business in the Community initiative. A serendipitous meeting with a friend and former colleague, now Professor of Future Heritage at UCL, generated another set of possibilities, particularly around the integration of arts-based research approaches with science and social science approaches, and the development of more speculative approaches to research (a post on this later, too). And it generated a challenge: to photograph that which doesn’t yet (but might come to) exist. An interesting side project.