Featured Image: BBC Journalist Chris Mason hams up his hair before live “Trimdependence” Saturday 4th July 2020
Above: 4th July haircut for BBC Presenter Chris Mason
The connection between community, skills and the economy is alive when you think about the skills of barbers and hairdressers. They wake up the high street and our going out self. Barbers and Hairdressers know the community and economy very well indeed.
They’re independent yet through the skills and service they provide make us realise how interdependent everything really is. I thought about independent businesses, retailers and makers and particularly about Sheffield: I love its balance of the big, the medium, the small and the micro and I wondered how those relationships are kept alive.
Sheffield has a lifelong learning culture I think that nurtures a sense of independence but respectful interdependence. If your city respects teaching and learning throughout life you are automatically including everyone: this makes innovation and creativity possible in everyday life. As you walk into the city you’re addressed as a figure who figures:
I noticed that care for the city and the people in the city has also been integrated into the way architecture is taught as an inclusive economic activity: how to build on the way local people already use space in the local environment is taught at the universities so that students look at the spaces in the city as places where new kinds of economic activity could be nurtured and developed.
An example is a project in the Wicker in Sheffield. Students look at how architects can help reinvigorate community spaces around barber shops, tailors, cinemas theatre and community activities:
If our institutions allow us to look again at the local as a rich intergenerational mosaic of history: cultural, economic, social we’ll all be able to contribute whoever we are.
If we look again at the spaces in towns and cities brings a new kind of meaningful news about representation and democracy: rooted in the things people say, do and share with each other, every day, that builds confidence, possibility and options for everyone across the life cycle.
Cared for, researched places in our hearts, minds and communities are where the new ways of thinking, working and living and caring for the environment are coming from. It’s where the local meets the regional, meets the national, meets the international and back again.
It’s where Inua Ellams developed his Barber Shop Chronicles: conversations men have in the shelter of the place where they have their hair cut (the National Theatre has it online), you can find it in podcasts and articles about New York history by the Bowery Boys as well as in any local barbershop on your doorstep.