Today I attended the UnLtd reception event for their Spring 2010 Level 2 Award winners. It was a very enjoyable and inspirational afternoon at the Huxton Apprentice, which is a Social Enterprise in its on right. The food was very good, so if you are looking for a place for a future event – you should consider it.
UnLtd is a charity that focuses on helping social entrepreneurs to develop their projects and achieve a better social impact. The level 2 Awards are for ‘inspiring people who have innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to some of biggest challenges facing communities, wider society and the world.’ So it is a real honour to be awarded one together with Louise Francis who is running Mapping for Change.
Earlier this year, UnLtd teamed with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), to create a new set of awards which will encourage Social Entrepreneurship in the Higher Education sector. The Higher Education Social Entrepreneurship Awards programme was designed to ‘provides financial and non-financial support across Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) in England to develop their expertise, skills, knowledge base and business support structures in social entrepreneurship and social enterprise activity’. I understand that many applications were submitted, so winning the award does mean that Mapping for Change was evaluated as a useful enterprise and I do hope that the support that we will receive will help us to grow more rapidly in the coming year.
What was especially wonderful about the event today is that it provided an opportunity to meet other award winners across the country, and learn about their projects. These include Jess Jowers from the The Global Bee Project, which are working to encourage ‘bee guardians’ and by so doing increasing local bee diversity, or Graham Barker, who run KPAC in Knowsley and provide training to people with disabilities, or Jane and Simon Berry who want Coca Cola to use its supply chain to deliver medicine across the world, and also another colleague who I met in the past researching Social Enterprise, Tim Curtis who has now integrated social enterprise into the teaching at University of Northampton. All the other projects and awardees were not less impressive – just check the Giving World Online or Enabled by Design or Student Hubs.
I must say that in terms of Social Enterprise ‘energy’, the Ordnance Survey funded GeoVation have a long way to go compared to the activities that UnLtd nurturing…
It is one thing to read about the different projects, but it is amazing to be in one room with so many people with such great ideas and passion to work on their area. I do hope that we will have opportunities to work jointly some other UnLtd awardees!
5 June, 2010
Next week, I am starting a project that will explore perception mapping at UCL and in the physical neighbourhood of it. The project was awarded as part of the UCL Public Engagement Unit Innovation Seed Fund and it is part of the wider activities of UCL’s Beacon for Public Engagement.
In this specific project (announced here), we are going to use the perception mapping methodologies that are used in the activities of Mapping for Change to understand how UCL is viewed in its neighbourhood, and how the researchers that are working at UCL relate to the local area.
We are going to focus specifically on the biomedical research community, mainly because UCL is one of the biggest centres for biomedical research in the UK, and continues to grow. The university has a clear public mission and an ambition to engage with local communities, and consequently links must be made between the local communities in Euston and King’s Cross and the university’s biomedical community.
Over the next year, through a series of workshops, the mapping perceptions project will explore how UCL is viewed by the local community, and how UCL researchers view the local area.
Building on the workshop discussions, artist Neal White will develop two unique guided tours. Participating UCL researchers will guide local participants around some of UCL’s research facilities, and the people who are involved from outside the university will guide UCL researchers on a tour of the local area. Through this process, the project aims to challenge the perceptions identified in the mapping workshops.
In a final exhibition, which will be design in collaboration with The Arts Catalyst, visitors will be able to access maps and visual photos generated by participants during the workshops and tours. Discussion events at the exhibition will provide an opportunity for all participants to meet again and discuss the issues that came to the fore during the exercise, making recommendations for ongoing engagement between UCL and the local community.
This project will follow the footsteps of the Citizen Science for Sustainability (SuScit) in terms of engaging local communities in scientific activities. To do that, we partnered with Capacity Global to learn from their experience as they were partners of SuScit. Updates on the project will be made available on Mapping for Change website.
25 February, 2010
In its February issue, the magazine GIS development published an article on the activities of the social enterprise Mapping for Change. Please note that the image at the start of the published article is not from our activities and that the article was truncated for publication – we are currently working on a more comprehensive version that we aim to publish later in the year. Dr Hanif Rahemtulla contributed significantly to organising the writing of this article.
The article describes how we utilised community mapping, participatory sensing and mashups technologies to deal with a range of environmental issues with communities across London. It also provides information about our recent projects, including the North Dorset Climate Action map.
The article can be accessed here.