Ideas, Thought And Culture In Nottingham: How Brilliant Research Will Really Change Things For More People, More Of The Time: -If They Know About It And Feel They Can Participate…

Faith Ringold 2

Featured Image and above: We Came To America  and Cotton Club Faith Ringgold

Mosaics are beautiful: they can be used to represent or misrepresent the world around us or they can fragment understanding if we ever forget they’re only part of the environment, part of the picture, part of the culture around us. At the moment we seem to be overwhelmed with pressure to accept unacceptable positions and solutions and I wondered how do we rebuild community capacity across, over and under privilege wherever we are, beyond the same old, same old, stereotypes.

How can we communicate better, live freer?

The discussion about childhood obesity in the Health and Social Care Select Committee, chaired by Dr Sarah Wollaston is creating a real impetus to get to grips with meaningful food labelling. It’s part of an awareness campaign that to me, means finding out just what we can do locally, what’s happening locally that’s also having an impact across Europe and the world.

You may think every day as you sit on the tram and see the open view of the potential of Nottingham, you may sit on a bus and travel through the historic neighbourhoods of Nottingham or you may go out every day on your own in your car and be thinking all kinds of useful, practical and creative things but never really get the chance to talk with anyone about those ideas, never really experience a rich conversation with someone who’s not like you. But we need them.

We’re all asking now, how can I make a difference?

Well have a look, think, chat with your local universities, go to end of year shows, civic engagement and research events where people who learn, teach and research are really thinking about how the way we work and organise work can take the whole of Nottingham to a better place (they want your input), for example. Don’t ever be put off going in, for example, to the Bonington Art and Craft shop, on Dryden St off Shakespeare St the Print Shop on the other side of the road by the tram stop, to occasional lunchtime music events.

As when you walk down into the market square and often have no idea what’s going on in the marquees, events, activities. The way we live, work, play is increasingly segmented and we’re all culturally poorer because we share less than we could.  Universities need their local communities and our experience and knowledge as much as we need them.

The problem that needs to be addressed is how this connection can become a normal, permanent part of our resources and heritage. How do we do this in a genuine and meaningful way?

Only you/we/us can help with that.

There’s so much fantastic work going on there: events are advertised on the websites and Eventbrite, they have research conferences that are open to the public: I went to the NTU College of Art, Architecture, Design and Research conference and the end of year shows at Nottingham University and Nottingham Trent: it’s changed the way I see the local, changed the way I think.

Lectures by Gamal Abdelmonem about Ireland, Sarah Jackson about how telecommunications is played out in relationships in and across Lebanon and Israel Dhaizhong Su, and the engineering team who are working on Circ4Life (article to follow): new ways of improving product supply chains through connecting manufacturers and consumers in the making, distribution, buying and recycling supply chain connection in an eco points app,  Andy Brown and Andy Pepper (Andy works across disciplines, especially in holography) No Telos which is a way of allowing students and participants to use their creativity to solve problems understand that they are always, forever, unfolding. Andy Brown uses pre-recorded landscape sounds to understand the senses, working across disciplines, Andy Pepper makes sculpture, installation, performance to understand, place, space and meaning. Sophie Fuggle is working to understand the legacies of war, incarceration in dark tourism in places like Vietnam.

Above: Andrew Brown’s sound walk in Giudeca Venice, Gamel Abdelramen’s Space, Memory and Resurrection in NI, Dhaizhong Su and team’s Circ4Life ecopoint app project, Sarah Jackson’s reevaluation of telecom power in Lebanon between Israel and Palestine, Sophie Fuggle exploring dark tourism in Vietnam and Andy Pepper’s art work, tracing the line outside us, in us.

What was really interesting to me was often I wonder about the legacy of the second world war and that reconstruction should always have been, more cautious, more tentative, smaller, yet scaleable and accountable. We’ve chosen to believe that the best we can do is try to control massification rather than look at it, break it down where ever we see it and make it comprehensible, referring to human, not machine norms of what is and who are rational, in connecting with Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham University I’ve found that nothing, ever is impossible –  or what it seems.