Passing Clouds – Digital Inclusion in action

This week there was the Digital Inclusion conference which I would have liked to attend but didn’t. Instead I went and did practical things. Also, today the long-awaited announcement has been made of what the Media Trust is going to do with the huge amount of funding it’s won.

On Monday I found myself in Tottenham – that’s where you want to walk around listening to a conference talking digital inclusion. I realised quickly that I’ve heard enough theory.

My contribution to the Digital Inclusion event was a series of two tweets:

@mattcooke2012 talk to ppl, have local networking places. Need to build confidence in tech and that only happens when it’s taught well
5:16 PM Apr 27th from TwitterFon in reply to mattcooke2012

@mattcooke2012 and we have lots of ppl who are waiting to be engaged.
5:20 PM Apr 27th from TwitterFon in reply to mattcooke2012

Thinking back to how I myself got involved with online communication, back in 1990, I realised it was easy, because there were members of my community already using it. But it was a community based on a common interest outside of just the technology we used to communicate.

I am working on developing an online community for the Passing Clouds, an arts centre based in Dalston. They are independent with regular live music gigs, a lot of world music and other very creative events, they also run the all night afrobeat gigs at the Empowering Church, and have regular weekly workshops around creative arts, food, yoga and anything else the community is interested in.

This community website will enable Eleanor, who runs the Passing Clouds centre, to delegate part of the weekly updates to the workshop leaders themselves, rather than spending a whole day on putting the weekly newsletter together.

The site will also be streaming twitter and flickr updates by using hashtags and keywords, and thus it will integrate the existing community by providing pre- and post event news and networking.

I was at an Afrobeat Vibration all nighter recently and I tweeted live from there. I could see that this is a vibrant community and with a website like this, all the over 500 members of this community will learn about the opportunities that tools like twitter etc provide for real community building.

Of course since it is a music based community, the site will also provide a live music stream from the events, and link to videos recorded at events, posted both from inside the community and byprofessional media teams.

It will also involve the opportunity to the Passing Clouds to do a lot of great publicity for their contribution to the London live gig scene. They have a number of really wonderful bands signed up for regular gigs, and of course, online video, together with a stream of community news and messages, will reflect on the positive vibe of the location.

The site will use wordpress for the back end, so that staff and workshop leaders at the Passing Clouds can keep their pages updated as easily as writing a blog post.

And what is the interesting bit in the current discussion about digital inclusion is that once we’ve built this site, it will be able to be reproduced for other existing communities – sports clubs, youth centres, bands… It will incorporate a booking system both for the spaces at the centre and for the gigs.


2 responses to “Passing Clouds – Digital Inclusion in action

  1. Fantastic! we would do the same if only our area had broadband that actually supported these applications. Uploading is virtually impossible and some have no connection at all, but your cloud is our goal, we will get there, one day…
    …and yes, too much talk at the moment but let us hope that talk will lead to government listening and then providing the infrastructure to enable all communities to do what Dalston is doing huh? keep rockin FttH builds the cloud to enable UKplc to enjoy the benefits of the digital revolution.

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