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exploring work life balance

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Leeds

Considerings from #localgovcamp 15

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In the true tradition of ‘post event considerings’, due to time restrictions, this year I’ve used some of the suggested feedback questions to tease out my thinking on Localgovcamp 2015.

Firstly a big shout out to the organisers, sponsors, attendees (especially those who came a long way to Leeds). It was a good couple of days and I hope you enjoyed your trip to my home town. I learned stuff and it was good to catch up with others who care about local government. Continue reading “Considerings from #localgovcamp 15”

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Here for the dancing?

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Sometimes you just happen to be somewhere at the right moment to witness something you probably wouldn’t have purposely decided to go and see.

First year students of the BPA (Hons) degree in contemporary dance at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance were performing choreography inspired by the historic architecture and gardens at Harewood House and I happened to walk right into the middle of it.

“Are you here for the dancing?” the girl said.

“You asking?” I replied, guessing by her age that my response might be lost

“Funny” was the reply. With a smile. Obviously

So I watched; obviously. Continue reading “Here for the dancing?”

It started with a conversation

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Last Thursday was a good day and a bad day.

It was good because an idea that made things happen was recognised with an award. The award was ‘Best Communication for Change’ at the Comms2point0 Unawards. The folk behind the awards and those in that network are top people. The Un is quite befitting in the context of why it won and I’ll come back to this later.

The idea was a real simple one. What if we explored what a more sociable place to work might be and then did stuff to make it that way? So things like what if we made it easier to find people, connect and share? What if where I worked was a more sociable organisation that helped make a more sociable place to live, work and play? Continue reading “It started with a conversation”

Simplifying my quantified self

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Not that I entered the communications profession for an easy ride but some topics are more sensitive to talk about than others, as is finding the most appropriate way, places and times for people to access and understand what is being communicated. Having trust in those explaining things is a big issue too. “I’m a PR guy I would say that wouldn’t I” etc More on that here.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if not everyone knows about something. There are times when people do find out about things but they might not be interested. There are however times when people need to know the implications of something as they might need to make a choice that affects them or others. Times when they need to understand what is being talked about so they see it as being for them. Continue reading “Simplifying my quantified self”

Becoming an older person

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We often use the term ‘I feel old’ rather than ‘I am old’. Maybe there’s something telling in how we express our age. My gran always dodged the age question by responding with “I’m as old as my tongue and a little older than my teeth.” Never would she tell us her age.

In six months I will be 50. Five. Zero. That’s a notably half decent number in cricketing terms but not so much if you were playing darts. I suppose it’s a significant number, as is any birthday with the zero on the end, apparently.

When I fill forms in I know that shortly I won’t be in the 45-49 category anymore but I’ve never really felt different because I’ve reached a certain age. With everything I’m involved in at work with colleagues and at home with family and friends, I’ve really not thought about it as ‘the big Five O’. Until today that is. Continue reading “Becoming an older person”

Little boxes

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They say ‘build it and they will come’ however I spend most of my working day convincing folk that’s bunkum. Tell people something is being built, explain why, invite them to be involved; then they might come and even tell others.

It’s been a week since 198 cyclists paraded along my street. I say my street because from my house I can see the place where me and my family stood in the central reservation of the  A61 to watch the Tour de France pass by. It’s the street down which I get the bus most days into Leeds where I work. It’s the street up which I brought my youngest son home after he was born. It’s our street.

The estate is bordered by Scott Hall Road to the east, along which the Tour de France will come.

This is my view every morning as I wait for the bus. There’s usually a fair bit of traffic. Last Saturday however, the road was closed all day in both directions. The Tour de France came by in the outward lane and on the inward lane, children played on their bikes and people walked in the road without worrying about traffic.

20140705_103018 Continue reading “Little boxes”

A river runs through it

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That’s the title of a 1992 film based on a 1976 book by Norman Maclean about family life in early 20th century Montana. The book and film are presented from the view of older brother Norman who goes on one last fly fishing trip with his troubled younger brother Paul; the river being the focus to engage in an attempt to help him get his life on track.  Continue reading “A river runs through it”

Hoping for a conversation, but never mind

cropped-20140516_0805132.jpgEarlier this year I attended Urbanized; the second film in the #cityseriesleeds set of films. The aim, other than showing films in a great little cinema in Hyde Park, Leeds, is to encourage discussion and debate under the #cityseriesleeds tag and on various forums about how Leeds is and how it could be.

Both films so far have touched on the design and development of cities across the world. The discussion following Urbanized focussed on community engagement processes of various design projects shown in the film.

Someone suggested trying to get everyone’s views in any consultation just won’t help and that some consultation is just seen as ticking the box. A point also made, as shown in the film, was that smaller and different ways of getting people’s views might give planners, architects, designers and those elected and responsible for setting direction a gut feel so they can lead the project forward but based on their experience and mandate.

A few folk talked about how they thought timely communication at different stages of any engagement is crucial. Someone suggested that consultations/discussions are usually hijacked by the ‘usual suspects’ who shout loudest and are likely to put others and the little voices off contributing.

Time always catches up with things just when they are getting interesting but those present were asked to continue the discussion online. This post is part of that discussion.

Continue reading “Hoping for a conversation, but never mind”

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