Our next exploration: community enablers and digital tech

We are starting a new exploration at socialreporters: what are the skills, roles and approaches of community enablers, and how can they use the new digital tech tools for network building and neighbourhood change.

I’m using the term “community enabler” to cover people who may call themselves community organisers, builders, mobilisers, development workers, or network weavers. I hope people will find that acceptable as a neutral term, at least for now. As I wrote here, in a post for the People Powered Change exploration, there are many different models for neighbourhood change.

As I explained here, this exploration has developed from a number of storylines I’ve been following recently around network building, digital literacy, games, and hyperlocal media. The initial supporters are Community Matters – who are particularly interested in helping people understand the different models – and the Media4ME project. That aims to support people in neighbourhoods with high levels of ethnic diversity use social media to improve communication between communities and with local public sector bodies.

I’ll be working with long-time collaborator Drew Mackie, and anyone else who would like to join in. This post is by way of marker, and I’ll be adding detail over the next few weeks.

We’ll start on the lines of the current exploration with Nominet Trust, which is into ways that digital technologies can support young people to engage socially and economically with their communities. As I’ve outlined in this editable Google doc, the process will be:

  • Initial research into the community enablers.
  • Identifying and develop some main talking points
  • An event on May 10
  • Further research and discussion online, and other meetings
  • Leading to a report on community enablers, advice on using social media as part of neighbourhood change, and a kit for social reporters.

However, that may change … since this is by its nature an open process, and I hope to find various opportunities for collaborations as we go. There’s details in the doc¬†of the event on May 10, and do get in touch if you are particularly interested – although places are limited. There will be other opportunities.

The next steps will be to expand the outline in the Google doc, and log research there. I’ll report developments on this blog. You can sign up for email updates top right, or subscribe to the category RSS feed in the sidebar. Comments very welcome, of course.

Update: I’ve now posted a report from the Talk About Local unconference this weekend, which offers lots of relevant insights for our exploration.

Earlier explorations

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