30 June 2016

now...July 2016

This is what I'm doing now. This is a mix of what I'm working on now, what's coming up and a spot of working and thinking out loud.

Sharing Learning Doing (my work)

  1. working on an evaluation with Neil Shashoua of Trapeze Consulting for a Newcastle-based charity, running 2016 to 2018
  2. working on a monitoring and evaluation framework for a Newcastle-based charity, again with Neil Shashoua. I'm pleased because we've worked with them before and it's great to be able to build partnerships with organisations rather than only work on one-offs
  3. working to help register two organisations as charities 
  4. working with a Gateshead social enterprise on a monitoring and evaluation framework for a planned funding bid and to help them understand their work and their impact better
  5. writing A few good things to share, my newsletter to share inspiring, useful and exciting things. I haven't been doing well with this but I've now added it to my calendar and to my to do list to try to make it happen
  6. planning a Little Library at Broadacre House, a trust-based lending library (I had to do something with the piles of books I've collected over the years for my non-fiction book group!). I hope to have it set up by the end of July and will share what I did in case it's something you want to do too
  7. planning Soup for Six (or maybe Six for Soup?), a monthly lunch to bring me and five other people from Broadacre House together to meet, learn more about each other, and build relationships. The idea is that I'll make soup for six people once a month and send an open invitation for five of my fellow building users to join me. I think this is scalable ie more people can make soup for six and ask another five people to join them. I plan to share what happens with this too

My learning and networks

  1. learning social entrepreneur stuff - I'm a student on the School for Social Entrepreneurs 2015-2016 Start up programme with the Yorkshire and Humber school. It's a year-long programme with study days, action learning sets, a mentor and small start up grant. There have been nine study days so far and our action learning sets have started. The mentor element of the programme isn't working out for me but that's OK as I have other people who I can talk with. The graduation is coming up in September - what to say?! 
  2. being involved in Urbanistas North East (I'm part of the planning group). The next meet up Urbanistas NE meet the Low Fell Community Gardeners is on Tuesday 19 July. Urbanistas is a women-led network for women working on social change in cities
  3. running Collaboration Superheroes, which I co-host with Robert Laycock. When we first met in January, we took a big picture look at collaboration including defining it, what we're doing to make it great and what we're doing to make it fail. At our second meet up in April we heard a collaboration story and reflected on the skills, behaviours, feelings and system that were going on during the collaboration story and our own experiences. The latest event in June was all about trust, and I'll share the write up when it's ready
  4. reading Men explain things to me and other essays by Rebecca Solnit for my book group. Our next meeting is July - if you'd like to join, let me know. I really recommend reading our last book group book Who cooked Adam Smith's dinner: A story about women and economics by Katrine Marcal as it gave a great analysis of women and economics or rather how women were excluded from economics for such a long time and how economics doesn't really work and no one knows how it really works, which is what I suspected all along
  5. (still) reading Time to think by Nancy Kline, which is another brilliant book all about thinking. Nancy writes about creating a Thinking Environment to help us think better together. Here's a little more about it: "The most valuable thing we can offer each other is the framework in which to think for ourselves. The quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first. The quality of our thinking depends on the way we treat each other while we are thinking. Time To Think has identified ten behaviours that generate the finest independent thinking. We call them the Ten Components of a Thinking Environment®. In the presence of these ten behaviours people think for themselves with rigour, imagination, courage and grace." It sounds good, doesn't it? Nancy Kline's follow up book, More Time to Think, has finally arrived so that'll be next on the reading list
  6. working with Rae Farmer on emotional resilience - it has been so helpful

Being an active citizen

  1. volunteering as a trustee of Northern Creative Solutions, which runs Broadacre House, a meanwhile space project turning an empty 40,000sq ft/6 storey office block in Newcastle upon Tyne into a thriving community hub and home for charities (25 and growing), social action and creativity. It's brilliant, and I became chair of the charity in March
  2. volunteering as a trustee of Scotswood Natural Community Garden. We run and manage a beautiful garden in Scotswood, Newcastle upon Tyne, to help people learn about nature, sustainability and growing and be more healthy
  3. running (with William Mortada, Holli Brown and Fiona Punchard) Newcastle Social Media Surgery to help people (community activists, charities, community groups) to use social media better 

Sequins and Tweed

  1. working on some product lines for an open studio event in August - so far I've made felt ball garlands, repurposed vintage playing cards for greeting cards, and, inspired by 70s string art, have hand-stitched Christmas cards (starting early) - and now need to get on to packaging and pricing
  2. learning how best to mount and frame nursery rhyme vintage playing cards
  3. wondering what to do with this blog

I stole this idea from Derek Sivers. It's such a good idea to steal that loads of other people have done the same and there's now a now page movement plus a website that lists people's /now pages nownownow.com.