Everyday Growing Cultures

Everyday Growing Cultures in the North of England: participation, citizenship and local economies.

“Those supporting the government’s open data agenda highlight the business case for open data, an economic argument about its moneysaving potential, along with claims it will lead to better-informed citizens. Both require close and critical examination. If money is saved, who benefits and makes money from these innovations? How exactly do citizens know about and become better informed through open data? Why should they care? Some within the wide and heterogeneous open data ‘movement’ subsequently point to the importance of ‘really useful’ data (Azyan, 2011), suggesting citizens might care and become better informed if open data was seen as useful in their daily lives. The methods and techniques through which open data is practiced are central to current ideas of digital transformations in the UK and highly relevant to the Communities and Culture Network+ (CC+). This pilot study subsequently addresses these issues by focusing on two discrete, yet connected communities: allotment growing communities (plot holders; allotment societies; those waiting for plots; allotment governing bodies) and the open data community (open data activists; developers; local government; data journalists).”

(Vis et al. ‘Case for Support’)



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Mapping the City for Food Growing

Mapping the City 1In May the Everyday Growing Cultures team invited members of the public to join them for a series of mapping walks in Manchester and Sheffield, to identify sites with the potential to be used for food production. Each walking group was asked to report their findings back, so that their notes and images could be collected and uploaded onto an online mapping platform.

This facilitated mapping process is one of the means by which the EGC project seeks to achieve its main objective: to create ‘an active intervention in the current allotment waiting list crisis by seeking and enabling citizen-led solutions’.

Photos from this phase of the research are available to view online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/95770888@N04/.




Key Participants:

Farida Vis Dr Farida Vis (Principle Investigator, University of Sheffield) is a Research Fellow in the Social Sciences. Her research focus includes social media, data journalism and citizen engagement. Findings from the ‘Allotment Data’ project (www.allotmentdata.org), research developed with PG student Yana Manyukhina was published in The Guardian (2011) and has since received widespread coverage in the UK print media and has attracted interest from the wider international growing, open data and policy communities. She is a founding member of Open Data Manchester (ODM), has had an allotment for nearly 12 years and has served as her site’s allotment secretary for ten of these.
Erinma Ochu Dr Erinma Ochu (Co-Investigator, University of Manchester) was recently awarded a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellowship to explore the role of citizen science in contributing to biomedical research challenges, following the success of ‘Turing’s Sunflowers’. This citizen science experiment, coordinated by Ochu, raised awareness of mathematical patterns in nature and achieved a global media reach of 62 Million people. Previously she was director of the Manchester
Beacon for Public Engagement, engaging academics and community groups to work together to make a difference to Greater Manchester. She is a part of the filmmaking collective Squirrel Nation.
Peter Jackson Professor Peter Jackson (Co-Investigator, University of Sheffield) focuses his reserch on commodity culture and the geography of consumption, including work on food commodity chains (AHRB-ESRC Cultures of Consumption programme); ‘Consumer anxieties about food’ (European Research Council); ‘Changing Families, Changing Food’ (Leverhulme). Creative dissemination of these includes: ‘Food Stories’ website (hosted by the British Library) and the ‘Food Glorious Food’ exhibition at Weston Park Museum (Sheffield) and V&A Museum of Childhood (Bethnal Green).
  Dr Andrew Miles (Co-Investigator, University of Manchester) is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Socio Cultural Change (CRESC) and convenor of the Centre’s Trajectories of Participation and Inequality research theme. He is the PI on ‘Understanding Everyday Participation’, a large project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under its Communities, Culture and Creative Economies scheme.