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!
While sorting out our departmental GIS library, I came across a small booklet titled Computers and the Renaissance of Cartography from 1976. It was written by Dr Tom Margerison, the first editor of New Scientist, and describes the activities of the Experimental Cartography Unit (ECU), which pioneered the use of computers for geographical and cartographical applications. Though Prof. David Rhind told me that the description should be taken with a pinch of salt, and that there are alternative accounts.
Interestingly, the ECU operated within the Royal College of Art to encourage new designs and innovations in map making. It was established in 1967 and operated until the late 1980s.
The booklet provides a description of the main processes of assembling maps at the ECU in the middle of the 1970s, and what is especially interesting is to see some amazing outputs of maps from that time, which, unlike the typical crude output of Symap, are beautiful and clear.
I have asked Dan Lewis, who was involved in the digitising of the CATMOG catalogue of booklets about quantitative methods in geography, to turn this booklet into PDF format so we can share it. Dan put some of the maps on his blog .
If you want to download the booklet – it is now available here.
Today is a good day to publish this booklet, following the announcement that Prof. Peter Woodsford, who was among the founders of Laser-Scan (now 1Spatial), received an MBE for his services to the geographic information industry in the Queen’s birthday honours list, and it was the equipment of Laser-Scan that enabled the creation of these maps.
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.