poor #homeJames

I must admit I’ve been putting this post off as it’s been a tricky time and not particularly fun to talk about. However so many of you gorgeous people have been asking how #homeJames is faring (and most importantly, she’s back!) so I reckon it’s time for an official update.

/ TLDR: #homeJames just went through a major engine rebuild and it’s cost around $9k to fix her. I’m actively seeking paid work so I can repay the people who have loaned me money to cover the cost, and if anyone feels the urge to contribute, I’m accepting donations. Read on for a (fairly lengthy) journal of what happened to the bus and what I have been doing for the last year instead of working for the man… /

A fateful journey

October 13th - #homeJames on a flatbed truck :(

October 12th – #homeJames on a flatbed truck :(

On 12th October, travelling back from WA on our fourth Nullabor trip in less than 12months, plumes of white smoke started pouring from #homeJames’ exhaust. I was somewhere between Port Pirie and Snowtown on the highway heading toward Adelaide, and pulled over immediately (which I really don’t advise – trucks hurtling past making the bus shake is hardly my idea of safety but hey, needs must). I let her cool down while contacting my go-to-guy Jimmy for advice. (Some of you might remember the story of how I found my gorgeous bus – or rather, how she found me! – but you may not know that the team at Roundabout Charter have been the most unbelievable support ever since). Jimmy said it sounded like a cracked head… which is BAD NEWS.

I rang RAA to find my membership had lapsed. More bad news. Fortunately they let me renew without a penalty charge and sent out a mechanic from Port Pirie to investigate. I limped her to the nearest safe space and waited…and waited…and waited. Turns out I was extremely lucky; typically the RAA ask that broken down vehicles are taken to the mechanic’s base for investigation before deciding whether or not vehicles were eligible for towing home, but this lovely gentleman decided to fight my corner. He spoke to the RAA guys, said he was sure it was a cracked head and recommended he took me straight back to Adelaide on his flatbed. More luck – my RAA membership only allows a max towing distance of 400kms. I was 366kms away. (I hate to think what would have happened had I broken down on the Nullarbor). He also elected to not charge me for his return trip to Port Pirie – another beautiful gesture. Incredibly the RAA took all this on board and told me that yes I could be taken back to Adelaide, and that they would not charge me anything more for the journey (which would typically cost at least $600). They also informed me that this generosity would likely never be repeated, but that was enough for me (phew and thank you!).

Back in Adelaide Jimmy and Craig (the mechanic who’s been working on her since she was four) agreed on brief investigation that yes, it looked like a cracked head and recommended a trusted mechanic with the necessary tools for the job. She was tucked away there for nine weeks… nine weeks away from my home. I’m so very lucky to have great friends in Adelaide (some being the closest I get to family over here) so I have had places to stay. But it was hard being separated so long (I get separation anxiety when I’m away from her for a day!) and it also prevented me from attending the Canberra Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s national gathering “Self Determination, Governance and Treaty” where I was supposedly headed next.

The soul of a vehicle

#homeJames on our third anniversary - not the way I expected to celebrate :(

#homeJames on our third anniversary – not the way I expected to celebrate :(

You’ve gotta have a sense of humour in this life; mine comes from my wonderful Grandad, Arthur Cooper. I’m also an old hippy (in case you hadn’t noticed – thanks mum for that one) so on hearing the engine would need replacing my first thought was “but will she still be homeJames?!”. After he’d finished laughing at me, Jimmy informed me that in boat culture if you want to change the name of a boat you have to change the paint job. With that in mind, and given I have no intention of changing her red and white glory, it seems her name/soul will remain intact. Phew.

homeJames’ odometer sat at 976720, less than 25,000kms away from clocking her which I have been really looking forward to doing. But if she needs a new engine, she gets a new engine. Fortunately there was an engine going locally, same type (1HZ block Land Cruiser engine, for the nerds) and with only 104kms on the clock (!). Unfortunately by the time we confirmed our supposed first-refusal they’d sold the fuel pump from it. Gnatch. With no other viable engines available we returned to the rebuild option.

Nine weeks down the track we ended up being held up by the lack of suitable gearbox. Apparently if you’re gonna take out the engine you may as well check up on the gearbox/clutch too and these hadn’t been changed in a while. After two duds (one wrong type, the other more buggered than my original) we opted to rebuild mine. Again a win for keeping her original soul… but not a win on labour costs.

The cost of a rebuild

broken #homeJames - cracked head and dropped (5th) cylinder

broken #homeJames – cracked head and dropped (5th) cylinder

Bottom line: this all adds up to around $9,000. Gulp.

“So you’re doing a another crowdfunding campaign, yeah?” EVERYONE has asked that question. Many have even said they’d contribute if I did (bless ya!). But I’m not. I can’t. For several reasons.

The first is that it might look like a slacker’s begging option but it’s REALLY BLOODY HARD running crowdfunding campaigns (especially when you’re doing it on your own, are not famous, and are not pre-selling an event/product) and I simply haven’t got it in me to go through that again. The second is that there are still outstanding rewards from the original campaign – something I am not happy about at all because I can’t get closure on it until it’s done. Some are outstanding because of difficulties connecting time/place (like dinners on the bus), some because of life’s shifts (for me and the supporter) but regardless, I can’t feel OK about another campaign when the first ‘debt’ isn’t fully cleared (although it’s worth noting that everyone I’ve spoken to about this says they didn’t care about the reward they just wanted to be part of my ‘journey’, bless ’em).

The third (and probably most absurd) reason is that frankly I’m pissed at myself for not having the resources to fix this situation on my own. I’m a fiercely independent woman, always have been (often to my own detriment). I’ve already received so much generosity around rbrt that to set out on a whole new campaign simply to ask for more when I’ve been apparently incapable of taking care of it myself simply feels wrong. It’s my fault I’ve ended up in this situation. It’s my job to fix it. (Although it’s worth mentioning that it isn’t my fault this happened to the bus. I’ve already asked that and been told it can happen to any vehicle at any time). Of course there’s a lot of underlying self-blame/criticism in this which I recognise and am trying to be pragmatic about; my thanks to many lovely people who have picked me up on this, it’s a bad habit for anyone.

Oh and to the one person who said “Oh well, it’s been, what, three years now? That’s a decent run. You should sell what’s left of her […WHAT’S LEFT OF HER?! WHAT NOW?!…] and use whatever’s left as a deposit on a house”. Yeah: no. Honestly I am stunned. You will remain nameless but you should bloody well know better. I didn’t start rbrt so I could take other people’s money and use it to turn a profit on an old bus and go on to live a nice little stable life in a house somewhere. I am FAR from done with this life. It’s bloody hard a lot of the time but everything about my life is now different. The freedom overall is unreal and I can’t see myself ever giving that up. I also have a lot of work to do, there’s so much I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of. Sell what’s left of her – seriously? GAH!

So, no, I’m not running another crowdfunding campaign. Thanks to amazing friends I have been able to borrow the money (and accept a few generous donations) to urgently deal with the situation (THANK YOU, you know who you are! xxx). I’ve already had a bit of paid work (thanks Unfixed!), am about to sell everything I don’t need (instead of giving it away like I usually do) and am planning on heading off to do casual fruit-picking/whatever-I-can-find between now and the next gig. Most awesomely (sorry…) I was the last successful recipient of 2015 for a perfectly-timed Adelaide Awesome Foundation $1000 grant (thank you too!). So I’m trying not to freak out, but if you hear of any paid casual work, going please let me know (seriously, I’ll do anything).

Having said all that, thanks to a lot of people telling me I’m too stubborn and proud and should accept donations, I am accepting donations. Does that make me a hypocrite? I don’t know, but if you want to help out there’s a Paypal donations link here (which has been there since I launched the blog in 2011) or if you prefer I can send bank details by private message.

So, why haven’t you got any money?!

When I started out on rbrt I had every intention of storing away a $5k slush fund for emergencies. Sadly things haven’t worked out that way but I haven’t been on some elongated, crowdfunded, luxury holiday, I assure you.

For the last year I have been working on new learnings in grassroots organising for social change and solidarity movements, alongside long-lead development for a project on creative digital culture for social change in Aboriginal communities. I’ve been living and working with Aboriginal communities including the national GMAR body (Grandmothers Against Removals); the Aboriginal Tent Embassy (Canberra), the Nyoongar Tent Embassy (Perth), the Original Sovereign Tribal Federation (Alice Springs) and being a volunteer for the recent NPY Womens’ Culture and Lore Camp (Ernabella).

During that time, knowing the battles to come in our oh-so-broken world, I have been getting myself ready. I have helped organise protests against community closures with Call to Action Adelaide. I’ve undergone training in grassroots organising through the Perth Community Organising Collective, Rethink the Link non-violent direct action, CCL (the Citizen’s Climate Lobby where I became a founding member of CCL-Fremantle), attended the recent Organise conference in Sydney, and I’ve just finished Amnesty International’s online ‘Human Rights’ course. I’ve dabbled with a few ways to build and maintain online activist communities, raise awareness and share knowledge (some public like Sunday Afternoon Activists Club and Little Activist, some finding their feet, some yet to be revealed). Needless to say as an artist/creative producer I’ve been part of #freethearts too, submitting an angry rant to the Senate Enquiry into Brandis’ NPEA-theft of OzCo funds and feedback on NPEA (now Catalyst). I have attended every rally I have been capable of getting to (often documenting them – see Flickr and YouTube), I’ve been doing a lot of reading (including the fantastic Decolonising Solidarity by Clare Land), a great deal of listening and a fair amount of ranting. In fact many of my friends whinge at me for being overly earnest and ‘taking life too seriously’. Maybe, but isn’t life -and the planet- worth taking seriously?

So yeah, I’ve been pretty busy. But funnily enough, no one wants to pay activists, especially nomadic ones learning the ropes! (We should consider ourselves lucky to still be able to peacefully protest legally, right?!). Financially, aside from a small commission fee for running hammocktime at WOMADelaide earlier this year I haven’t been actively seeking paid work… until forced to by my traitor of a bus! I’ve also not been on Centrelink, partly because I am (stupidly) too proud to give idiots the opportunity to accurately label me ‘a doley bludger’ (despite the biggest doleybludgers being corrupt corporations who refuse to pay their taxes and mining companies who take unbelievable amounts of subsidy to run their profit-making, planet-destroying enterprises), partly because my #lifestylechoice isn’t exactly conducive to the neoliberal definition of welfare (can you imagine the conversation?!) and partly because I haven’t felt unemployed because I’ve been so damn busy!

I’ve coped on a day to day basis thanks to contributions toward fuel costs and dinners from friends and colleagues, amazing communities like FERN’s Soup Kitchen and the Free Haven squat in Fremantle, skip-diving, and accepting that luxuries are not part of my world right now. It’s been hard at times but I consider myself unbelievably fortunate to have had the experiences I have had and I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

So, that’s me. Quite honestly I’m exhausted, scarily poor/indebted and have felt more homeless/vulnerable than ever. But above everything else I am so deeply sickened by the greed and corruption of our global neoliberal system that I’m not giving up. I can’t. Consider this a temporary glitch; bear with me while I get myself back on track and then watch out for the projects to come. 2016 will kick off with a second run for hammocktime, this time at Adelaide Fringe Festival – for the whole season! – and then I’ll be off around regional/remote Aboriginal communities with a creative digital culture for social change project.

2015 has been a hard year for a LOT of people and I know I have it comparatively very easy to many – hence why I feel the need to keep learning/sharing/fighting for those who can’t. 2016 has a lot of threats to face (can you believe they approved the Adani mine that will destroy the Great Barrier Reef immediately after returning from COP21?! Bastards!) but it’s rich with opportunity too (like an action to Close Pine Gap, teehee). Onwards and upwards, eh?

So enjoy your holidays, take care of yourselves and each other, and let’s kick some serious ass in 2016, hmmkay?! x

rcws – bushaters vs buslovers

#randomconversationswithstrangers

There’s enough negativity in this world so I usually only share positive stories from my random conversations with strangers. Today this story had a ‘faith in humanity = restored’ outcome, so it’s shifted from a facebook rant on Dec 29th to a little story here. For anyone curious in broader context (e.g. why this little exchange irked me so deeply), I’ve previously written about a call for common land for nomads, which responds to some of the most regular criticisms of nomadicy.

Here’s the original rant:

Just got asked to move homeJames so a truck could get up a side road. I’d not even gotten out the bus before a local came and asked how long I’d be there. My joke about that being an existential question sadly fell on humourless ears.

I’d specifically not used this new (temporary, til the truck leaves) spot because it’s under shade making it highly sought after (I notice these things and always try to respect the needs/norms of locals). This woman told me they want those spaces, said she knew about the truck and knew I was housesitting for a couple weeks (so why ask?). Then she said another local had complained that the bus had ‘been here so long it’s obviously abandoned and someone should report it’ (it’s been parked there three days since xmas & 1 day before! I’m not even living in it, ffs).

Jeez people, I know you like your shade, your habits and your perceived possession of space, but there’s nothing illegal about me parking my vehicle in a street with no parking restrictions… anywhere I choose. I’ll move her back when the truck leaves but basically your passive aggressive assumptions/criticisms can go screw themselves. Merry season of open hearts and compassion… Not. *sigh*

After posting that I made a note to put in the windscreen to try to dissuade bushaters from reporting my baby as ‘abandoned’ (see top photo). I hoped someone would reply, but nothing happened… until today, when I spotted this:

Thank you, dear buslover, for making my day! <3
And it seems I’m now building a note empire for my last few days here…
All the best for 2016, may your hearts be full of love and acceptance of otherness and your streets be full of nomads! xx

How can we harness the power of creative digital culture to improve Aboriginal rights?

reallybigroadtrip is calling for expressions of interest from artists, geeks, filmmakers and social change warriors. Join us in a South Australian/APY Lands Aboriginal roadtrip, any time between April – August 2016.

#homeJames, Uncle Chris and I being sent off with a smoking ceremony from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra

#homeJames, Uncle Chris and I being sent off with a smoking ceremony from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra

Digital literacy is often considered to be lacking in Aboriginal communities, yet smartphones, social media, games, music and film production can be prolific. Storytelling sits at the heart of social change, yet (despite increased solidarity) non-Aboriginals often haven’t experienced what life is like for remote communities such as those currently threatened with closure.

This begs the question: How can we harness the power of creative digital culture to improve Aboriginal rights?

reallybigroadtrip invites emerging or established artists, geeks, filmmakers and social change warriors to help respond to this question. Thanks to funding from Country Arts SA, travel (on the reallybigroadtrip bus, homeJames), subsistence and a negotiable artist’s fee will be provided to selected candidates.

Aboriginal applicants from South Australia and the APY Lands are strongly encouraged to apply.

About the project

The overall roadtrip will take place between April and August 2016. We aim to visit a number of Aboriginal communities, with locations and durations determined according to proposals received and permissions from those communities. Potential locations include (but are not restricted to) Adelaide, the Coorong, Point Pearce, Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, Ernabella and Alice Springs.

Our activities at each location will depend on the proposals received and subsequent conversations with selected artists. Anticipated activities include (but are not restricted to) workshops, screenings, exhibitions, creative productions and collaborations within each community. A budget for materials is available but know that we will preference legacy and agency over expensive, hard to access kit.

Expression of Interest

Please email fee@technoevangelist.net with an Expression of Interest (EOI) and a response to the question “How can we harness the power of creative digital culture to improve Aboriginal rights?” by February 22nd, 2016 (UPDATE: this deadline has been extended to March 22nd 2016). Your EOI can be informal but should include your contact details and give us an indication of who you are, where you’re from, what you do, where you’d like to take us, why you chose that location, and what you’d like to share or create in our time together there.

A selection panel will review proposals and contact a shortlist of candidates for discussion around detailed logistics and collaboration. The final selection will be announced in April 2016.

Contact

Applicants are advised to check out the reallybigroadtrip.com blog, Facebook page and homeJames flickr album to get a feel for the journey so far. You can also email fee@technoevangelist.net with any queries prior to applying.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m getting a few common questions coming through so will add them and their answers here as we go.

Does my project have to cover the entire April to August period?
No, the overall roadtrip can start in April and will finish at the end of August. Each project can last anywhere from a week or two upwards but are expected to be individual blocks within that four month period. Of course that largely depends on the proposals we receive – some might want to start in April then come back again at further stages, or might have a physical presence in one community then continue as a digital experience across the rest of the time. We’re keen to keep things open until we’ve seen what people want to do.

Do I have to be based in South Australia to apply?
No, the project’s activities will take place around South Australia and the APY Lands, but applicants can come from anywhere in Australia. Sadly we don’t have budgets for international travel, so if you are from overseas and want to apply we would love to hear from you but you will have to seek alternative funding for the international component of your travel.

Can I propose a project but not be involved in the roadtrip?
Possibly… but projects demonstrating an active engagement with community will be given preference. If you think you can demonstrate significant engagement without being physically present then feel free to send in your ideas, but please pay special attention to explaining how you think that can be achieved.

Why are you running this project?
I’ve not actually been asked this, but I felt it would be useful to give some background for those who don’t know me.

Geeks, Arts and Activism: a Call to Arms

As I’ve been travelling the country learning about effective organising and social change (and especially working alongside First Nations communities) I’ve been constantly asking myself “what can creative technology thinking bring to all this?” I have a few ideas myself, obviously, but one thing I have always been so grateful for is my incredible network of super-smart people. So I’m doing the cleverest thing I can think of – asking them what they think.

For those who don’t know, I’ve been centralising that part of my social media world into a thing called Sunday Afternoon Activists Club. It started out as a book club but I’m always keen to play with models and I have a long history of public speaking and collaboration labs, so… welcome to “Geeks, Arts and Activism: a Call to Arms“.

The full blurb from the (Facebook) event is pasted below, fyi. This one is in Perth next Weds, 7th Oct, and I’ll continue them as I travel.

When: 6pm for a 6.30pm start. Weds 7th Oct 2015.
Where: Vic Park Mini Lab, 874 Albany Highway, Perth.

Fee Plumley has been a Media Arts agitator for almost two decades. In that time our western society’s leaders have revealed some questionable concepts of a humane society. If the “geek will inherit the earth”, isn’t it our nerdy responsibility to make sure there’s actually an earth left to inherit?

This is a call to arms: let’s build a geek social change army equipped with the tools and networks to collaborate with and support the growth of decentralised networks locally, nationally and internationally. It’s all broken; bring out your nerds.

In this informal session generously hosted by Enkel and the Vic Park Mini Lab, Fee will present a few of her favourite Media Arts and creative activism examples to get the ball rolling. From there we’ll chat about how an Internet of Things* approach could help us collectively translate slacktivism** into direct meaningful social change outcomes.

This is a short-notice event as Fee lives in a bus and has to drive back to South Australia next week. The dialogue we begin together here will be taken through to other Maker and Hacker Spaces as she travels around the country. Join our geek social change army physically here or online via Sunday Afternoon Activists Club: https://www.facebook.com/sundayafternoonactivistsclub.

http://twitter.com/feesable
http://reallybigroadtrip.com/
http://sundayafternoonactivistsclub.com/
https://www.enkel.co/vic-park-mini-lab/

In the true spirit of DIY maker culture, please feel free to BYO drinks & snacks :)

* Internet of Things = the physicalisation of the ephemeral internet.
** Slacktivism = passive activists who click to sign petitions but don’t tend to take things much further.

comms update – transitions between ‘geek artist’ and ‘creative activist’

i’ve realised that in my broad personal/creative meanderings over the last 12months i’ve started a few fb pages/spaces to help me work out where i’m going with it all. i’ve partly been trying to avoid overload in my personal profile (since i barely use twitter these days) but i’ve realised i’m possibly just spreading it all too thin.

i’m finally getting to the stage where the next steps are becoming clearer and learning is starting to take shape into action. it’s pretty exciting, and definitely time for me to get more organised in how i communicate what i’ve learned and what’s next.

to help this next stage i wanted to let old and new friends know that this is how my shares/comms work these days. I try not to cross-post so if you want to know #allthegoss you should follow all the pages :P:

Reallybigroadtrip​ – everything geek arts, nomadicy, and the hub for all my creative projects and the arts sector broadly.

Sunday afternoon activists club​ – for creative activism, social change and organising thinkings, actions, learning, strategy, celebrations, calls to action.

TransPassivePartyships​ – coordinating a TPP action in perth which kickstarts tomorrow :)

Hammocktime​ – we’re running a new version for Adelaide Fringe​ next year, so if you want to be involved as a guide or just want to know about hanging out as a punter, follow us there (or PM me).

Little Activist​ – a little venture painting activist slogans on recycled kids clothes.

I’ve got a few other projects/spaces i’ve been playing around with, but for now those are my main social spaces. and if we’re not connected on twitter i’m @feesable – maybe you can help me remember why i used to love it there, cause i have to say it feels an oddly dead space to me these days.

i drifted away from ‘developing my arts practice’ and into the creative activism journey because i felt so desperate that the world was so broken. a year on and i’m blown away by how many astonishing humans i’ve met, watched and shared lives with. Yes there’s a long way to go before we fix it all, but we’ve had some amazing wins collectively and my gut tells me the tipping point isn’t far away now.

I’m so grateful to everyone who’s helped me fumble my way through in all the tiny and enormous ways you have.

Big love x

How can we harness the power of creative digital culture to improve Aboriginal rights?

reallybigroadtrip is calling for expressions of interest from artists, geeks, filmmakers and social change warriors. Join us in a South Australian/APY Lands Aboriginal roadtrip, any time between April – August 2016.

#homeJames, Uncle Chris and I being sent off with a smoking ceremony from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra

#homeJames, Uncle Chris and I being sent off with a smoking ceremony from the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, Canberra

Digital literacy is often considered to be lacking in Aboriginal communities, yet smartphones, social media, games, music and film production can be prolific. Storytelling sits at the heart of social change, yet (despite increased solidarity) non-Aboriginals often haven’t experienced what life is like for remote communities such as those currently threatened with closure.

This begs the question: How can we harness the power of creative digital culture to improve Aboriginal rights?

reallybigroadtrip invites emerging or established artists, geeks, filmmakers and social change warriors to help respond to this question. Thanks to funding from Country Arts SA, travel (on the reallybigroadtrip bus, homeJames), subsistence and a negotiable artist’s fee will be provided to selected candidates.

Aboriginal applicants from South Australia and the APY Lands are strongly encouraged to apply.

About the project

The overall roadtrip will take place between April and August 2016. We aim to visit a number of Aboriginal communities, with locations and durations determined according to proposals received and permissions from those communities. Potential locations include (but are not restricted to) Adelaide, the Coorong, Point Pearce, Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, Ernabella and Alice Springs.

Our activities at each location will depend on the proposals received and subsequent conversations with selected artists. Anticipated activities include (but are not restricted to) workshops, screenings, exhibitions, creative productions and collaborations within each community. A budget for materials is available but know that we will preference legacy and agency over expensive, hard to access kit.

Expression of Interest

Please email fee@technoevangelist.net with an Expression of Interest (EOI) and a response to the question “How can we harness the power of creative digital culture to improve Aboriginal rights?” by February 22nd, 2016 (UPDATE: this deadline has been extended to March 22nd 2016). Your EOI can be informal but should include your contact details and give us an indication of who you are, where you’re from, what you do, where you’d like to take us, why you chose that location, and what you’d like to share or create in our time together there.

A selection panel will review proposals and contact a shortlist of candidates for discussion around detailed logistics and collaboration. The final selection will be announced in April 2016.

Contact

Applicants are advised to check out the reallybigroadtrip.com blog, Facebook page and homeJames flickr album to get a feel for the journey so far. You can also email fee@technoevangelist.net with any queries prior to applying.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m getting a few common questions coming through so will add them and their answers here as we go.

Does my project have to cover the entire April to August period?
No, the overall roadtrip can start in April and will finish at the end of August. Each project can last anywhere from a week or two upwards but are expected to be individual blocks within that four month period. Of course that largely depends on the proposals we receive – some might want to start in April then come back again at further stages, or might have a physical presence in one community then continue as a digital experience across the rest of the time. We’re keen to keep things open until we’ve seen what people want to do.

Do I have to be based in South Australia to apply?
No, the project’s activities will take place around South Australia and the APY Lands, but applicants can come from anywhere in Australia. Sadly we don’t have budgets for international travel, so if you are from overseas and want to apply we would love to hear from you but you will have to seek alternative funding for the international component of your travel.

Can I propose a project but not be involved in the roadtrip?
Possibly… but projects demonstrating an active engagement with community will be given preference. If you think you can demonstrate significant engagement without being physically present then feel free to send in your ideas, but please pay special attention to explaining how you think that can be achieved.

Why are you running this project?
I’ve not actually been asked this, but I felt it would be useful to give some background for those who don’t know me.

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.