reallybigroadtrip is an experiment in living & breathing creative digital culture. The plan is to get a bus, rig it with recording equipment, then drive it around Australia talking to people about how they engage with creative digital culture.
I’m Fee Plumley, a geek artist, technoevangelist and nomadic digital consultant from the UK. I became a permanent resident in Australia on a Distinguished Talent visa last year. I’ve been working in this space since around 1996 when my theatrical creative practice met the internet, and my head exploded.
‘This space’ is hard to define, but that’s what makes it so appealing. Here I’m defining it as ‘creative digital culture’ because I’m essentially interested in how creative people (‘makers’) use technology to connect themselves and their ideas to other people.
I’ve been a maker since long before off-the-shelf platforms like blogs, Facebook and Twitter existed, so I’ve had some interesting learning curves. I know how you create meaningful noise & engagement without any money. I’ve built and maintained online community models so attentively that one of them still exists thirteen years after I helped to establish it. I co-founded a company that created a new genre of literature inspired by the technical limitations of mobile phones, and I established a Geek in Residence model of skills exchange that has since been adopted in other countries.
I’m now taking all this to a new level; I’m crowdsourcing my life & exploring digital culture by using digital culture. Everything I do will be crowdsourced and documented. Not just ‘what’, but ‘where’, ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘who’ I’m doing it with. I will interview other makers and organisations, document their work, and exchange artwork, stories, knowledge and networks. What’s more, this touring home, studio, workshop, exhibition and screening space will run on vegetable oil, have a tracked carbon footprint and will take other people along for the ride.
My national and international Nomads in Residence will tell me where they want to go, who they want to meet and what they want to achieve. I will help to facilitate those relationships and, of course, document everything that subsequently takes place.
All this results in a huge amount of rich media, the best of which will be shared via social networks. The rest will be stored for future development; a vast legacy of material for advocacy, data visualisation, conferences and festivals, or possibly an eBook/interactive documentary.
Since ‘this space’ is still frustratingly considered “niche and emerging” this qualitative material needs some quantitative analysis. As I travel I will be asking people to complete one of three surveys depending on whether they are makers, audiences or policy developers. In this way I will map how Australia is engaged with creative digital culture. I hope to also argue why the National Broadband Network is not just a conduit for more sport & porn from overseas. Done well, the NBN has the opportunity to change how Australians make & share (not just receive) anything, anywhere.
I’m not a documentary filmmaker, anthropologist, or academic researcher, but I will be learning – and failing – at becoming all those & more on the fly. This is a personal journey with outcomes for others. It personifies my passion for creative play, technology, adventure and Australia. Where I go, what I do, and how this journey ends will be determined entirely by the people who want to join me.
So, do you want to play?
NB: I’ve posted this here as a crowdsourced call for feedback on what I hope is my near-final ‘one-pager’ to explain the project to crowdsourced funders and sponsors. Read the back-story here and provide your feedback here (or if you’re shy – or uber-critical – by email to headgeekATtechnoevangelistDOTnet).
And in case you don’t believe me that it’s one page: rbrtOZ_1pager
UPDATE: I’m getting great feedback already – thank you!
@KindredHQ said: “@feesable great! Would also be good to know why you want to do this and what’s driving your passion. Are you looking for sponsors?” to which I replied “Thank You! Yes, definitely looking for sponsors. & yeah I guess I haven’t explained *why* I’m as obsessed as I am… good point”.
Two people said they don’t like the phrase “taking all this to a new level” – which I questioned in the first place, so will edit out in the next draft.
Jackie Bailey (one of my early reviewers) said “Good job! Now, where is the section that tells me what is in it for me if i want to play?” to which I replied “that comes in the cover letter/email. I reckon this should be the standalone, with the other (the bullet points you’ve already seen) formatted bespoke to recipient. I was going to post that too, but worried that might be too much for this (these) post(s)”.
Deborah Dale (a new friend and someone who edits business cases as a day job) said “Some initial thoughts: in the introduction you indicate that you will talk to people, but don’t say what you will do with it and like Jackie says, how the ‘players’ will benefit from your trip. People always want to know “what’s in it for me upfront”. I think another series in your comma separated points should be along the lines of what you say later (ie social media campaigns + archived footage, data, etc.)
Qualitative and quantitative- will you have sponsors? What do they get? Will people find out what “campaign” was most successful? Will people get famous from being on your bus? Hehe- not there are answers to those… but how will you measure that your trip was successful at the end as opposed to the policy developers, audience and participants..
If you are struggling for space, I’d be more inclined to make the third paragraph of your about me into a longer resume and link to it from the one pager”. – all thoroughly useful points for me to consider once I’ve let it sit for a while. In retrospect, I really should have included those bulletpoint sections here too. A job for tomorrow :)
On the positive, @kristinalford wrote “@feesable really good. Confident, minimal jargon (would change one line, very minor), clear to understand. Excitement comes through too!” – which is great!
Thanks again to everyone for ongoing support, encouragement, patience… I can’t tell you how much your feedback matters to me!
LAST UPDATE: 2nd edit now complete and has replaced the old ‘about the project‘ page here. Feel free to continue critiquing though x
(ANOTHER LAST) UPDATE (19/6/12): Some minor changes to ‘about the project‘ have gone up. Mainly I’m refocusing the fact that I’m MAKING geek art with people more than documenting the geek art that they make. I mean, I’ll do a bit of that too, but this is about making things, not being a documentary filmmaker.