Nomads in Residence REALLYbigroadtrip EOI call

homeJames at the South Australia / West Australia border

homeJames at the South Australia / West Australia border

Background

Thanks to a crowdfunding campaign which went viral through incredible support from almost 350 people (including tweets from Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman and Hugh Jackman) I’ve been living in homeJames (my beautiful big red bus) for over two years now. In that time I’ve been in and around most Australian states/territories at least a little bit, but I have FAR from traversed the whole country. 

In that time I have hosted a few adhoc Nomads in Residence including Sayraphim Lothian (random acts of guerilla kindness craftivist, VIC), Kate Chapman (Humanitarian arm of OpenStreetMap, US/ID), Edwin van Ouwerkerk Moria (locative media technologist, NL) and Janet Carter (the Openkitchen Project, WA).

homeJames on a ferry going to Cockatoo Island in Sydney for Underbelly Arts (photo by Edwin van Ouwerkerk Moria)

homeJames on a ferry going to Cockatoo Island in Sydney for Underbelly Arts Lab/Festival (photo by Edwin van Ouwerkerk Moria)

It’s time to ramp up both the places I travel to, and the people I travel with! Starting late 2016 I will be heading off on one long 12-18month journey around this wild and beautiful country. Where I go and what I do will be directed by YOU!

This is a personal invitation to some of the most inspirational creatives I know (and some I don’t, yet) to join homeJames and myself for segments of this mega adventure around Australia. I want you to send me your ideas, locations and possible dates so that I can wrap them all up into one big Nomads in Residence program. Then I will scheme, negotiate and fundraise to commission as many of you as possible to join me over 12-18months from August 2016.

[NB: I know everyone I invite personally will know other people this would suit. That’s totally fine – and partly why I’ve decided to make this a public post. Please just make sure anyone I don’t know reads this post and includes their contact details and links to example work in their EOI, or just introduce us first.] 

homeJames going feral at Gungaddy Swamp, New South Wales

homeJames going feral at Gungaddy Swamp, New South Wales

Call for projects

Like many countries around the world, Australia is now struggling against an increased onslaught of NeoLiberal damage. I’ve started working on my own creative activism projects (e.g. Sunday Afternoon Activists Clubhammocktime, enclosure) but there are so many issues that need attention, here and globally. What better time for smart creative minds (especially of the activist/technologist variety) to come together, bringing skills and passion to regional/remote Australia with the view of enhancing creative social change?

I am therefore calling for Expressions of Interest around creative activism/social change projects with the potential to enhance and/or catalyse a longterm impact for individuals and communities in regional and remote Australia. If those projects can also affect change in urban centres then so much the better, but initially the focus is outside cities.

homeJames at Boreen Point for Floating Land Festival and Balance/Unbalance conference, near Noosa, Queensland

homeJames at Boreen Point for Floating Land Festival and Balance/Unbalance conference, near Noosa, Queensland

I’m of the belief that lasting change can only happen from the bottom up, middle out and, only later, top down. I don’t believe we can change the mindset of the masses in one foul swoop, but we can support those who already do great grassroots work by giving them recognition, letting them know they are not alone, and connecting the dots leading to a mass of decentralised/distributed networks. Collectively these can form strength in numbers, all working independently and sometimes rallying to support a common cause. It’s worth also considering the increasing number of Conservative Australians who voted for Abbott but who are now questioning their decision as he increasingly displays his lack of humanness.

In any case, the kind of change we need isn’t about a single politician or a single political party. We need to imagine, demand and collaboratively build the world we want.

Therefore the target audiences I’d like to focus on are:

  • like-minded communities who would benefit from recognition and support for the work they already do;
  • like-minded communities who need help in increasing their skills and experiences so they can do more locally and collectively;
  • opposing-minded individuals who question the current lack of humanness in society and could be persuaded to jump ship with the right argument delivered in the right way.

[NB: When proposing projects targeting ‘opposing-minded’ audiences you should know that I am in no way interested in or encouraging hate-fuelled campaigns. Real change – and certainly the world I want to exist in – comes from openness and love, despite differences. Aggressive or negatively-charged proposals will be rejected outright.]

homeJames peeking in at the corner during hammocktime at WOMADelaide

homeJames peeking in at the corner during hammocktime at WOMADelaide

Types of projects include (but are not limited to):

  • visual art (e.g. craftivism, street art, public art, etc, rather than more traditional gallery presentations);
  • performance (spoken word, live art, theatre, circus, dance, etc);
  • media arts / interdisciplinary arts / locative arts / social media as a meaningful exchange;
  • co-creation projects (interactive project development / creation processes where the community are at the heart of the entire process);
  • workshops / skills exchanges / train the trainer programs;
  • community screenings and/or dialogues leading to call-to-action strategies.

NB: I am interested in activism and social change through creativity and will be applying for arts funding for the bulk of this, so please consider and express the ‘artistic excellence’ of your idea in the EOI. Even if there’s no creative element at all it’s still worth letting me know what you’re thinking as I might be able to connect you to an artist or look at community engagement/technical innovation/sponsorship types of financial support.

homeJames at Memefest direct action symposium, Swinburne University, Melbourne.

homeJames at Memefest direct action symposium, Swinburne University, Melbourne.

Areas of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • land rights, The Commons, permaculture and alternative/intentional communities (especially those responding to the closure of remote aboriginal communities and the fact there has never been Common Land in Australia since colonisation);
  • open source digital literacy and personal area networks (especially responding to the lack of broadband outside urban centres, and legacy based projects that will increase affordable online confidence and actions);
  • climate change (especially those responding to Australia’s fire and tornado risk areas and projects bringing the ‘nay sayers’ into open and constructive dialogue);
  • First Nations cultural exchanges (NB these will ultimately only be possible following direct invitation from the Aboriginal community in question, but can be considered/discussed as I make increasing connections within community);
  • asylum seekers (especially challenging Australia’s appalling human rights record, attitudes to ‘boat people’ and the impending increase of ecological refugees);
  • nomadicy and mobility (especially projects taking advantage of our obvious movement across the country in the bus, exploring the liminal spaces between ‘destinations’, exploring the bus as a space for creative experiences or protest billboard as much as a living and transportation space);
  • gender representations, inequalities and disparities;
  • mental health (especially responding to bullying and depression and the high suicide rates in Aboriginal communities and remote regions).
homeJames being used as a canvas for Illuminart's Port Adelaide light projections in South Australia

homeJames being used as a canvas for Illuminart’s Port Adelaide light projections in South Australia

EOI deadline

Initially this call asks for an Expression of Interest to start working out who’s interested, how they could collectively fit into a logistical geographic roadtrip, what possible co-production partners might be suitable and a ballpark idea of costs so I can prepare to apply for funding.

I’d like to put in a proposal for the Australia Council for the Arts 1st December 2015 deadline, so 1st July 2015 is a target date for your EOIs. Feel free to throw over an idea for discussion by email/video conferencing in advance too.

REALLYbigroadtrip Dates

TOTALLY open right now, but starting after August 2016 with a view to lasting 12-18months overall. Each NiR can be anywhere from a week to a month (or more if you can handle it) and can happen in one block or over a few visits (travel costs dependent).

What’s on offer

homeJames'

homeJames’ “Master Bedroom” (which now has curtains at the end of the bed for a little extra privacy)

homeJames now has hammocks inside, so my guests can choose to luxuriate in ‘the master bedroom’, a hammock, or a swag/tent (or a combination of those decided on a nightly basis). If buslife really isn’t your thing I can look into alternative accommodation as we organise locations and partners. 

Rest assured I fundamentally appreciate the value of having one’s own time and space (we will both need that). If you have concerns about living in extremely close proximity for durations let’s have a conversation about how that can work for both of us. One idea, for example, is to get more than one bus and start the convoy I’ve always dreamed of… 

homeJames kitchen (w/ sodastream)

homeJames kitchen (w/ sodastream)

My aim is to raise enough funding to offer travel, accommodation, food, materials/equipment and an artist’s fee. Obviously if you have equipment you can bring with you then so much the better, but I strongly encourage you to consider the legacy you can leave behind. There’s no point running programs using high-end resources when at the end of that project you take all that sexy kit away with you. Having said that it might be possible to get co-production partners and funding and some communities may already have access to the resources you need. I suggest starting with what you’d love to see happen and we’ll work from there.

NB: It’s worth mentioning that Australia is a VERY expensive country these days. If you want to bring equipment with you be aware that shipping it both ways won’t be cheap and it’s worth organising the return shipment with the outward one. If you’re going to want to purchase materials/equipment here we will need to get local quotes to be sure of estimates – so leave enough time for us to do that.

homeJames' new lounge area

homeJames’ new lounge area

So, interested?!

Please use this form to submit your EOI’s by July 1st 2015. Or just ping me to discuss.

The form asks things like:

  • what would you like to do?
  • where would you like to do it?
  • who do you want to meet (as collaborators and as target audiences)?
  • what do you want to achieve (give AND receive) from your trip?
  • when might be a good time for you to do this?
  • what kind of ballpark cost might this entail? (artist fees, travel, materials/equipment)
  • would you be prepared to drive if a convoy was possible?
homeJames for hAbitAt, a commission for the Canberra Centennial Birthday Celebrations, Australian Capital Territory

homeJames as part of hAbitAt, a commission for the Canberra Centennial Birthday Celebrations, Australian Capital Territory

Sharing

If you would like to share this post/call, please tag me so I can follow discussions:

NB: This was going to be a private post as I have a huge list of people I am personally inviting to be Nomads with me, but I’ve decided to publish it publicly so everyone knows what I’m scheming. This is an enormous long-lead venture (even by my normal standards!) and I’m gonna need all the help I can get! If you’d like to be a co-producer, potential location/host or even a co-funder, if you want to help me develop logistics, be on a selection team, or even just offer some advice or feedback, drop me a line!

#homeJames on the Nullarbor

#homeJames on the Nullarbor

#hammocktime #WOMADelaide word cloud

I just shared the first #hammocktime output over on my blog and the facebook page for that project. Instead of just re-blogging that same post here I wanted to say something about the experience as a whole.

all the words that were contributed across all three questions:

all the words that were contributed across all three questions

In light of the consistent bullshit going on in the world (especially in Australia’s part of the world) this little ‘active questioning’ project in amongst the glorious already-get-it WOMADelaide​ community does nothing to change anything. But it’s a start.

hammocktime is my first personal work where I actively step up and start dialogue within the experience itself. It’s a reminder for others that they’re not alone, that WE are not alone. It speaks to what I have learned in my life as a whole, but specifically what I have learned through my own “lifestyle choice” of nomadicy, choosing to live in a bus instead of maintaining a proper job and a proper home. #buslife is not always easy but it always teaches you something if you are prepared to listen. I have had the most incredible amount of support and advice getting me through this transition from so very many people. I’m super grateful for the opportunity and will never forget the crowdfunding campaign contributors and everyone who has enabled all this to happen. hammocktime is just the first reveal of the tendrils from these past three years’ learnings, and for that I am pretty proud. But it’s far from the end.

In order for real change to take place we need to be kind to ourselves, to reconnect with ourselves, with the land and with others. Hammocks are an act of self-kindness, taking time out for oneself without distraction (especially by banning mobile devices from them!). Providing a meditation experienced whilst suspended in trees rooted deeply within land (once home to a people far far older than my own culture) delivered by a human not a set of headphones, meant something. The active questioning, those three simple questions, are my way of bringing all that loveliness into a focused form, an output that can be shared. Dropping them in to a word cloud is such a simple device but it spreads a cluster of positive energy out there, which we all need as times get increasingly darker.

Presenting this version at WOMADelaide was just the start, I’ll be taking the project to different communities and repeating the same questions. The easiest thing in the world would be to continue targeting like-minded communities and festivals, but I’ll be working to break out of that safety zone. Busking hammocktime in various forms during my Perth residency with cia studios taught me a lot about arts and non arts audiences, activist and non-activist campaigners. I’d like to gather as much of a diversity as I can possibly make happen.

Let’s reclaim the world. Now.

x

your #WOMADelaide #hammocktime invitation

hammocktime invites WOMADelaide guests to pause, disconnect from technology and reconnect to yourself and your environment by spending twenty minutes in a hammock.

Your first few minutes will be spent in a gentle guided meditation, followed by ten minutes of private pause.

“Take a moment to locate yourself. Not just at WOMADelaide, but right here, right now.

In this hammock. In this tree. In this moment”.

your view from the hammock

The form of meditation we use to get you in the right mood is inspired by British philosopher, Alan Watts, who says, “The art of meditation is the art of getting in touch with reality… by going out of your mind, you come to your senses“.

During your pause we ask you to consider your own reality and come up with one word that responds to each of the following questions:

  • What would make your vision of the world a better place?
  • What personal action could you take that would lead to that change?
  • What collective action could we take that would lead to that change?

All answers will be collected at the end of each session and presented online in datavisual form.

You will find us in The Pines area near the Healing Village, just look for #homeJames, the beautiful big red bus.

Friday 6th March: 4:30pm – 8pm
Saturday 7th March: 2pm – 8pm
Sunday 8th March: 2pm – 8pm
Monday 9th March: 2pm – 8pm

#homeJames at The Pines in WOMADelaide

Your guides in this journey are Fee Plumley, Anna Crump, Calixta Cheers, Indigo Eli, Kim Pedler, Steven Abbey, Scott Wings and Manal Younis. Huge thanks to WOMADelaide for giving us such a perfect context in which to provide this experience, and to Ticket to the Moon who provided our beautiful, ethically produced, hammocks.

Thank you for sharing your hammocktime with us x

#hammocktime

http://hammocktime.cc

http://twitter.com/feesable

http://facebook.com/hammocktime.cc

WOMADelaide map

this post was originally posted by http://hammocktime.cc

a call for common land for nomads

A few weeks ago I saw this article http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/our-parks-awash-with-freeloading-backpackers/story-fnjbnts7-1227197443051 and immediately thought: “wicked, I’ve been wanting to have a discussion about this for ages!”

NB: I originally posted this in my lateral drifts blog where I drop down random thoughts as I’m mulling them over. This one turned out detailed enough to just transcribe here. Please feel free to comment/share, I’d really love a big chat around all these issues, especially if you’ve got good suggestions for better ways of living a nomadic life (and free park ups which don’t piss anyone off and aren’t illegal – there are very few of them these days). And if you fancy joining the ‘Common Land‘ cause, get in touch!

So… nomads. Are we “freeloaders” or cultural explorers? The case for nomadicy…

first: not all of humanity wants to live in a corporate world. we don’t all want the threat of a mortgage hanging over our heads (in fact very few even can get such things without rich parents taking up the slack). we also don’t want/can’t afford to live in holiday parks – sure some of these are holiday travellers, but some of us are fulltime nomads. we need access to free camps, common land, which we use in return for taking responsibility for them (because we do actually care about the environment, that’s one of the reasons we choose to live this life, off-grid and self-sustaining).

as mentioned in the article, most of us choose parkups that are away from residential areas so we won’t bother anyone, but even they are becoming privatised. and yes, we do congregate sometimes when we’re travelling round – who doesn’t want a social life? why should that social life exist in pubs and clubs? some of us don’t drink and are far from interested in yet another commercialised environment.

when gathering we all learn from each others’ bus/van designs, share good places to park (which don’t piss anyone off and aren’t illegal) and generally learn more about the world through the eyes of other open-minded cultural explorers. it’s the absolute best way to see this incredible country!

#homeJames has a doppleganger!

second: public toilets get locked up around 7pm in Australia. sure it’s horrid when someone craps on your doorstep (and personally I can control my bowels so I don’t have to do this unless I’m out bush, in which case I have a shovel for that!), but if the toilets weren’t locked overnight this wouldn’t have to happen. also bear in mind that this might not always be the campers – when I lived in Sydney there was an old homeless woman (clearly ignored by any welfare/care system) who used to crap in my porch on a regular basis. and we all know about men relieving themselves in doorways – or anywhere they like! it’s not just nomads who do this, some people are just jerks.

third: it makes me really mad when I see ANYONE littering. we all have a responsibility to our/other people’s environments as well as the planet itself. littering is lazy and thoughtless (whether it’s rubbish or cigarette butts, in fact especially cig butts considering their fire risk and chemical waste). but I’ll bet you have a crappy neighbour who has piles of junk outside their homes or lets their rubbish blow all over the roads. i regularly see drivers/walkers throw butts/rubbish onto streets/pavements: again, it’s not just nomads who litter, some people are just jerks.

in fact at a lot of the places where I parkup by the sea, it’s the fishermen who leave junk (beer bottles, food packaging and even hooks) behind them. providing more bins isn’t always the answer either. I’ve known part-timers complain about there not being a bin at an overnight roadside stop, FFS just take it with you and throw it away (in recycling bins) in town! or better still, reduce your use of packaging entirely so your waste is minimal!

fourth: ‘wearing their underwear’… really?! this is Australia, the whole damn country wears its underwear (aka ‘bikinis and budgie smugglers’) every damn day!! so, yet again, it’s not just nomads who do this!

fifth: washing/brushing teeth – we all have to keep ourselves hygienic. spitting toothpaste or soapy water (onto grass, not pavements) is less of an issue for me when those products aren’t full of chemicals. I use Eco or natural alternatives – I brush my teeth with coconut oil most of the time. water evaporates (or in fact adds moisture to dry ground) and even businessmen spit much worse stuff from their mouths walking down city streets. so, again, it’s not just nomads who do this!

sixth: hanging laundry from trees – I handwash or use a launderette washer then hang my clothes up in the bus (in this heat they dry v quickly) but then I have a reasonably sized vehicle. I’ve seen families at public parks hanging their own tea towels etc up on makeshift lines. what’s the harm in that? and again, not just nomads…

slide I used for a talk recently,  quoting https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/take-back-the-economy

slide I used for a talk recently, quoting https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/take-back-the-economy

so, by all means dismiss us by calling us names like ‘freeloaders’ but be aware that  some humans are jerks regardless of their choice of home or lifestyle; don’t just tarnish us all with the same brush. maybe try to talk to us instead of reporting us to council/police – we’re actually quite personable folk and we’d certainly enjoy an open discussion (no one takes kindly to threats or abuse, so ideally don’t start with that). maybe we could even change each others’ stereotype projections and learn to accept otherness a little more, that wouldn’t do our society much harm, now would it?

bear in mind a nomadic life is not always easy, and it’s certainly not always a holiday for those of us who live this way all year round. we have made this choice, sacrificing ‘the easy life’ because we believe in a better world, one that is not driven by consumerism or the daily commute to provide profit to our bosses’ shareholders. some of us do work in ‘normal’ jobs but most are freelance – and we all pay our taxes like regular folk. some of us aren’t even on the dole! (I know, *gasp*).

and FFS… GIVE US ACCESS TO COMMON LAND! not every single block of our existence needs to be commercialised. if you just give us a place where we can do our thing, we’ll be out of your hair!

lateral drifts

Increasingly pissed off with Facebook’s continued disrespect for our personal rights and privacy, I’ve started using a new platform for my personal ramblings, to begin taking myself out of the anti-Net Neutrality world.

Known lets you publish status updates, etc, which are then pushed to Facebook, Twitter, etc (it’s in beta so there’s a lot more to come too). This means you own all rights to your content rather than giving them away to walled gardens that are more interested in your data than providing the open service you originally signed up for.

Check out more at http://withknown.com and follow my lateral drifts at http://fee.withknown.com.

Nomads in Residence

Since things are starting to hot-up around here it seems to be time to post a bit about what I mean by “Nomads in Residence”.

These nomads are basically my guests in the bus. They must be from the creative digital culture space but I’m really broad about that. By “digital culture” I mean artists, makers, hackers, coders, practitioners, researchers, games developers, animators, filmmakers, policy folk, arts workers, cultural practitioners… ummmmmmm…. other people who play creatively with technology. The point is to be INclusive, not EXclusive, so if you’re not included by title here but feel you should be included by practice then message me regardless.

I have a list of people I have already personally invited. I also have a bundle of folk I have just loved working with/around over the years and will be contacting in due course. But there’s also folk I stumble on/am introduced to who just spark something and need to be invited. For example, I just contacted my first total stranger because her work suits my thinking perfectly, and there might be the perfect match event coming up next year.

And then there’s the unknown-yet-by-me. Of which there are many!

I do not know everyone (or everything). Obviously. This whole project is about getting out there and seeing who/what I don’t know, as well as sharing who/what I do.

So.

The ‘challenge’

  • Location: You don’t need to be from another country; plenty of you gorgeous Australians are on my list. I need to see this country through your eyes and be introduced to your networks too.
  • Your mission: I ask all my “Nomads in Residence” to define where you want to go, who you want to meet and what you want to achieve from your trip.
  • Networking: Once I know your intentions I can help make connections with people you could meet both with me and outside of your time with me. I really encourage you to spend extra time in this amazing country if you can. I can also follow up on people you tell me I should know about in case we can meet them together.
  • Duration: I would love you to stay with me as long as you can, but I understand time is a valuable commodity and you are probably travelling a fair distance. When I started visiting Australia from the UK our costs were often split across a few organisations and that worked a treat, but affects timing/demands, etc.
  • Monies: As you can see from my crowdfunding campaign, this is all very DIY. I would love to offer you travel/accommodation, a nice fat artists fee and a luxurious ‘maker’ budget, but that’s not something I can promise. Especially right now. But I can fundraise (either through crowdfunding targeted to both our communities or through traditional arts funding) and co-productions/shared visits are pretty straightforward to coordinate. You will at least get standard return flights, acommodation/food in the bus and some kind of artist fee.
  • Accommodation: The bus will have a ‘bedroom’ space, a sofa-bed in the ‘lounge’ space, a swag (traditional aussie sleeping bag/tent), and an extra tent. You can choose which you’d like, even on a daily basis.

The Bigger Picture

This often freaks people out when I talk about it; “Your plans are too big, Fee. Calm down and take one step at a time”… Um, no. I think big missions help you better achieve baby steps… but that’s just me.

The big picture plan is to start the model in Australia but then take the concept all over the world. I’ve already been talking to a University in Canada who likes the concept as a research methodology. At some point we’ll run a co-production together to raise funds for a bus and the same process over there. That bus would of course drive across Canada, down to America and then South America, scooping more locals and international en route. I’m also British, so at some stage I’ll be setting up another bus in the UK, which would go to Europe… and so on.

The really-big-picture is that eventually I would like to have a bus in (or within access of) every continent. While I’m not using it the bus would be available for other digital culture practitioners. If they maintain the bus and continue to support the concept (capturing/sharing data, etc) they can have it for free when it’s not being used. If they want to do their own thing then they can hire it and any proceeds will go back in to the project.

National / International

This really isn’t just an Australian project, it’s a digital one. Like the internet it’s inspired by community, collaboration, creativity and connection. The potential is huge but the baby steps are really manageable and realistic. It just takes a little bit of conversation and we can make amazing things happen together.

So if you’re interested, message me with some responses to the above ‘challenge’ and we’ll take it from there.

UPDATE: Get a flavour of some of the Nomads.