lowwintersun
Film showing + director Q&A: COMMUNION by Greg Hall

Single Cell Collective, in association with Broke But Making Films present:

Communion

…an exclusive Manchester showing of acclaimed award winning Director Greg Hall’s new film.

7pm, Friday 4th October 2013
MadLab, Edge Street, ManchesterM4 1HN

The evening will feature the film showing followed by an exclusive Q&A with the director and producer.

A must for fans of independent film and independent film makers.

Tickets: £4 (£3 concessions)

“Communion is a truly excellent movie in every conceivable way. It’s beautifully shot, magnificently enacted and has a musical score that simultaneously leads us on the path of understanding, only to veer us off course.” Film Threat

TRAILER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkAyNlBprVU

COMMUNION (2013) revenge thriller starring Paul Marlon & Ana Gonzalez Bello alongside Roger Griffiths, Lee Ingleby & Nick Nevern. The fourth feature directed by critically acclaimed indie filmmaker Greg Hall and Broke But Making Films (BBMF).

www.brokebutmakingfilms.com

“Paul Marlon is phenomenal as Father Clemence” Rogue Cinema

"Part thriller and part road movie, Hall’s film takes us on an emotional rollercoaster where not only two extremely different characters clash but the themes of religion and social interaction are dissected." Taylor Film Reviews

"Hall has done a great job of bringing this film to life, and Paul Marlon gives a real masterclass in acting." Critics Associated 

Bricks and Bread - a tour of community-led regeneration in Liverpool

Liverpool skyline

I was invited over to Liverpool recently to visit a new community bakery project in the Anfield area and make a present on the Carbon Co-op's community-led retrofit model. The visit included a quick cycle tour of failed regeneration projects and a lesson on local politics in Merseyside.

Empty homes, empty communities
2Up 2Down is a project initiated by an artist, Jeanne van Heeswijk, as part of the Liverpool Biennial. It has grown to see a community work to re-open an empty bakery, retrofit adjoining buildings and free up space for housing. 

The project is very much a response to the issue of empty, boarded up properties that blights Liverpool. Under a New Labour government and a Lib Dem leadership, Liverpool Council were enthusiastic proponents of urban regeneration, boarding up and selling off existing housing stock for private developers to demolish, build new properties and sell at a fat profit. Liverpool saw more streets sucked into this than mos and saw an equally strong resistance from activists and campaigners. When the casino stopped in 2007 the wheels fell off the model leaving Liverpool with thousands of boarded up properties.

Welsh Streets, Liverpool 

I was given a quick tour of these areas. In the Welsh Streets (featuring Ringo Star’s birthplace!) row after row are boarded up, the area dead.

Welsh Streets Liverpool

Seemingly positions are so entrenched between campaigners and council that solutions cannot be found, though a recent government announcement will now see a measly 16 houses now saved. The long term strategy seems to be to remove gutters and lead from roofs and let these properties rot.

A few blocks away off Granby Street the few remaining locals are fighting back. Residents on this street have waged a campaign of positivity with large scale planting and bright decoration to send the message out that these streets are used and wanted. When planters were stolen by local kids, residents persisted and the kids were won round. The tactics worked and the streets have now been saved from demolition. Check out Ronnie and Sarah’s blog about the projects there.

Granby Street Liverpool

Unlike some neighbouring ones…

Granby Street Liverpool

Naughty… but nice - pies and regeneration
On to Anfield, an area that has seen it’s fair share of boarded properties and demolition with more seemingly to come

Anfield demolition

2Up 2Down is an antidote to that. The project, initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, now involves a wide selection of the local community.

2Up 2Down bakery

Situated a thrown-in distance from Anfield stadium the bakery still features a wealth of old equipment and bread-related adaptations.

Naughty but nice, bakery

The group have now formed a community land trust with the plan to refurbish and retrofit the bakery, flats above and adjoining empty homes creating a community hub and desperately needed affordable accommodation.

2 Up 2 Down plans

It’s an example of the kind of community-led regeneration so lacking in the city in the past decade. I’ve personally always thought hot pies and housing regeneration were perfect bedfellows…

Hot Pies and regeneration

Housing retrofit
Marianne URBED

The main purpose of my visit was to talk about Carbon Co-op and housing retrofit at one of 2Up 2Down’s regular expert talks. A good crowd of around a dozen plus people attended, made up of an interesting mix of housing activists, local residents, transition town-ers, artists and representatives of housing associations and the PCT.

Marianne Heaslip architect and retrofit expert of URBED and a key part of the 2Up 2Down began with an introduction to retrofit: what it is, how it’s done and the key challenges. 

In response, one of the housing activists related how their housing association had tried to implement a street wide, external wall programme (featuring pebble dash effect render!) and that a resident campaign had forced the housing association to cancel the project. An illustration of how a lack of community engagement and resident buy in could sabotage a much needed project.

Slide

Marianne was followed by David White, a Liverpool-based, a retrofit and renewables consultant. In a very short, very concise and very clear presentation David explained the Green Deal, it’s fundamental flaws and the community-led Green Deal model he proposed for Merseyside. David’s key point was that the creation of a 100% ECO funding stream for external wall insulation in deprived areas meant that the private Green Deal providers would be heavily targeting these areas for measures but that lack of resources and knowledge around solid wall deployment could lead to some horrendous mistakes and scandals endangering the very idea of housing retrofit for good. In contrast, a community Green Deal Provider would deliver Green Deal works with the communities’ interests at heart, ensuring that solid wall specification was in line with best practice and avoiding the kind of low quality specification that the brokerage system for ECO may encourage.

I then delivered a short presentation on Carbon Co-op's work, effectively a project along the lines of David's Community Green Deal but lacking the large and immediate scale he feels is needed to counter the private Green Deal providers. We would argue that we are heading there but we need to build scale, work with early adopters and learn to use these new technologies before deploying them at a neighbourhood level.

Carbon Co-op slide

The presentations led to a ‘lively’ debate between participants on housing retrofit technologies, co-operative models and the role of government and housing associations.

In comparing Liverpool and Manchester I was struck by a couple of things. In Manchester the green/community groups are far more organised, coherent and co-ordinated. Nothing like the Call to Real Action or Manchester: A Certain Future has happened on Merseyside. Equally the politicians don’t seem to ‘get’ climate change, the actions required to address it or the opportunities of retrofit etc.

This means that whilst in Greater Manchester there are co-ordinated efforts to realise the potential of Green Deal and retrofit, with local government, economic development agencies, colleges, housing associations and co-operatives/community/social enterprises sitting round the same table, in Liverpool that just hasn’t happened. David White, a lone sustainability consultant, has been doing this work of talking to all the key agencies, one to one, because somehow they don’t see the importance of co-ordinated action or dialogue.

Having seen the effects of housing regeneration I wonder whether this is a hang over from an extremely polarised political landscape. Not only are political parties playing the blame game on housing but community groups and the council are regularly in court trying to settle their differences. 

Our post-presentation talk threatened to degenerate into an argument between two or three people, a community activist and a housing association rep. Essentially residents want housing associations to do more, housing associations want residents to accept measures and shut up.

My argument was (and is) that looking for large agencies and the council to act for us is an essentially weak position. If two, three or four residents want to start a retrofit project they can, they can share information and knowledge, meet suppliers and build their own constituency. Ultimately, even in small groups, we can inspire, embarrass, force or bribe the council and other agencies into taking action to support what we are already doing. For me action is the only way to begin to build a consensus and create change.

Marianne’s comment: as for things not happening at a city scale the same way as in Manchester, there is a transition town group but their focus is on the south of the city and more middle class areas (which is fine, as these groups need to cut their emissions more than others) but there can be a division. There are also lots of small scale community projects - recycling and food growing - and initiatives like the Liverpool Food Network. There is an ambition from the Mayor for Liverpool to be a ‘green capital’ and there has been some focus on the ‘green economy’ from the Mersey Partnership (now LEP) and Liverpool Vision - I’m just not sure everyone has realised the full implications of this if we’re going to really go for it - the level of investment and resources needed to do something than is more than simply tokenistic. I also suspect there just isn’t the same critical mass of people interested in this kind of thing as there is in Manchester (possibly thanks to the unique history of places like Hulme? And the fact we’re a slightly smaller urban area overall) - it feels like we need to work at ‘joining up the dots’ a bit more between all the good things already happening to help create that critical mass.

Manchester A Certain Future: Art and ecology

David Haley

I attended David Haley's workshop on the role of art and culture in tackling climate change and found it informing and inspiring.

David’s opening presentation outlined his approach to ecological art and explored the roll of artists and creative thinkers in addressing issues relevant to climate change. Key to the presentation was the idea that rather than creatives acting as mere marketeers to disseminate policy messages we need to take a multi-disciplinary, systems based approach in which people from different specialisms and backgrounds analyse a problems and together develop solutions.

A lively discussion followed which touched on a number of issues, from corporate ownership and co-option of the mainstream media to whether a green message delivered by Wayne Rooney would appear too hypocritical to have any positive effect.

An interesting debate was whether we need to communicate simple, small actions that busy everyday people can adopt or whether we need to acknowledge that the problem of climate change is a complex one and that we need to arm people with the tools to comprehend, explore, enquire and ultimately take action as a result.

The session rounded off with a discussion that for me highlighted the importance of an event like MACF2012. On the one side we had activists and artists who oppose sponsorship of the arts by petrochemical interests such as BP and Shell, on the other a trustee of a Manchester gallery that had accepted money from these companies. A lively debate ensued in which the stark choices of public art financing were laid bare, without this money the gallery would close. If we live in a society whereby public art is only affordable when paid for by a multinational oil company, ultimately we get the public art system we deserve. Something to think about.

I really enjoyed the session and it was the highlight of the day for me. Thanks to David and all the other organisers.

Some references brought up in the session

Common Cause - The case for working with our cultural values
http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=4224

Pro-Environmental Behaviour Change by Sustainable Scotland Network
http://sd.defra.gov.uk/2011/02/new-research-on-pro-environmental-behaviour-change/

Taming the Vampire Squid: Take back our banks , new economics foundation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoUWgI-c9g4

Brecht: Mother Courage and Her Children
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Courage_and_Her_Children

Operation Farm visioning sessions

Operation Farm visioning

Jonathan of lowwintersun is on the board of Operation Farm and currently working on a lottery-funded feasibility study for the project. The Operation Farm visioning sessions took place on 21st and 23rd January 2012 at the Park Cafe, Hyde and were attended by over 60 people.

Facilitated by Kindling Trust the sessions saw participants from the community, voluntary and public sector as well as volunteers and potential users, working together to pool ideas and articulate a vision for Operation Farm in Tameside and Glossopdale.

This work will be written up and form a key part of the Operation Farm business plan lowwintersun are co-authoring for the project.

Operation Farm visioning

Operation Farm feasibility work

Operation farm

lowwintersun is involved in the development of Operation Farm and the project is in the process of developing a plan for a community farm in the Tameside and Glossopdale area.

We are currently carrying out a feasibility study, finding out if there are people or organisations locally who might be interested in getting involved or would like to influence its development in some way.If you would like to participate in some way, please complete our short survey by following this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/H56XP95

This survey will help us to find out who would like to get more involved and who might want to use the farm. It should take no more than 5-10 minutes. Our deadline for responses is Tuesday 25th October 2011. Please forward on to anyone you think might be interested. Many thanks, All at Operation Farm email: operationfarm@gmail.com

This Feasibility study is supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme

www.localfoodgrants.org www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Social Enterprise North West’s ‘In Business For Good’ trade fair 
10am-4pm, Bolton’s Reebok Stadium on October 18th 2011
The North West’s biggest social enterprise showcase comes to Greater Manchester. Be inspired, meet new contacts, trade with other social enterprises and raising your profile
A cost effective way to come to the attention of funders and clients. Featuring keynote speakers: Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK, Sarah Flood, Social Investment Business, Nick Donohoe, Big Society Bank and Claire Young from The Apprentice.
Workshops on finance, leadership, promotion and European franchising.Places cost just £49 (+VAT), exhibitors from £200 (+VAT)
To attend visit www.senw.org.uk email info@senw.org.uk or telephone 0151 237 3986
social enterprise - co-operatives - social finance - inter-trading - social impact bonds - marketing - leadership - community interest companies - employment - social firms - environment - health and social care
In partnership with TogetherWorks, the social enterprise network for Greater Manchester
www.togetherworks.org.uktwitter.com/togetherworks

Social Enterprise North West’s ‘In Business For Good’ trade fair

10am-4pm, Bolton’s Reebok Stadium on October 18th 2011

The North West’s biggest social enterprise showcase comes to Greater Manchester. Be inspired, meet new contacts, trade with other social enterprises and raising your profile

A cost effective way to come to the attention of funders and clients. Featuring keynote speakers: Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise UK, Sarah Flood, Social Investment Business, Nick Donohoe, Big Society Bank and Claire Young from The Apprentice.

Workshops on finance, leadership, promotion and European franchising.
Places cost just £49 (+VAT), exhibitors from £200 (+VAT)

To attend visit www.senw.org.uk email info@senw.org.uk or telephone 0151 237 3986

social enterprise - co-operatives - social finance - inter-trading - social impact bonds - marketing - leadership - community interest companies - employment - social firms - environment - health and social care

In partnership with TogetherWorks, the social enterprise network for Greater Manchester

www.togetherworks.org.uk
twitter.com/togetherworks

Information Architecture presentation for the New Internationalist

I made the trip down to Oxford last week to attend the New Internationalist's annual meeting and make a presentation to the co-op on Information Architecture and the NI’s website.

There’s many definitions for Information Architecture, I described it to the NI as simply making their website cogent, ie ensuring it makes sense for the user, that they are able to find and extract the information they require, and that for the organisation it achieves their aims and objectives for the site (and importantly generates income).

I wont share the contents of my presentation but there was certainly a good response from the co-op members present. For me it was a really interesting topic to research and hopefully my recommendations to the New Internationalist will be of use.

We’ve got desks available at OpenSpace Co-op, if you’re running a social enterprise or involved in the creative sector come down and take a look.
OpenSpace Co-op

We’ve got desks available at OpenSpace Co-op, if you’re running a social enterprise or involved in the creative sector come down and take a look.

OpenSpace Co-op

Carbon Co-op founder members, taken at our inaugural meeting at Zion Arts Centre, on Saturday 11th June, 2011.

Carbon Co-op founder members, taken at our inaugural meeting at Zion Arts Centre, on Saturday 11th June, 2011.

I’ve been working with fellow Single Cell Collective members Caulbearers on their new EP - More Lie Deep. In a skill exchange that will see Damien Mahoney from the band produce my new Invertor EP, I helped them create a marketing plan, a balanced project budget (not always easy in the music industry!) and helped source design skills for the record.
Graphic design and packaging came courtesy of Loz of Because Studio (Single Cell’s regular collaborator) whilst we also had the pleasure of working with the very talented illustrator Ben Tallon.
The EP will be officially launched with a gig at Islington Mill, 8-10pm, Friday 10th June 2010. Get yourself down there to pick up this hand-crafted EP, a bargain at just £5!

I’ve been working with fellow Single Cell Collective members Caulbearers on their new EP - More Lie Deep. In a skill exchange that will see Damien Mahoney from the band produce my new Invertor EP, I helped them create a marketing plan, a balanced project budget (not always easy in the music industry!) and helped source design skills for the record.

Graphic design and packaging came courtesy of Loz of Because Studio (Single Cell’s regular collaborator) whilst we also had the pleasure of working with the very talented illustrator Ben Tallon.

The EP will be officially launched with a gig at Islington Mill, 8-10pm, Friday 10th June 2010. Get yourself down there to pick up this hand-crafted EP, a bargain at just £5!

Carbon Co-op visits River Cottage

Carbon Co-op have been fortunate enough to have been invited to the EnergyShare day at River Cottage. on 18th May 2011. The day will be packed full of workshops and seminars from other community renewables projects, it’ll also be a great opportunity to see Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s local food project up close.

The day will give us an extra boost in our ambition to win part of the EnergyShare prize and deliver more community renewables and retro-fit work in Greater Manchester - thanks for all those who have supported us, it’s not too late to give us your vote!

Carbon Coop’s EnergyShare application

Please support the Carbon Coop’s application to EnergyShare - it just takes a few minutes!

We are very excited to announce the Carbon Coop’s submission to the innovative Energyshare programme and I am writing to ask for your support, by voting for our bid, to help us start putting co-operatively owned solar panels on our City’s roofs. The Carbon Co-op is hoping to secure support and funding (up to £100,000) through the programme. The selection process involves people registering support for their favourite projects and we are urging everyone we know to support this application.

It takes just a few minutes and you will be enabling one of Manchester’s most exciting energy initiatives to get started. Supporting our application involves a few simple steps:

1) Visit: http://www.energyshare.com/carbon-co-op/

2) Click on the red button: Support this Group in the top right hand corner of the Carbon Co-op graphic.

3) A white box appears, click on the blue Sign Up button and register – it takes 30 seconds to generate a password and add your email address, postcode etc.

4) You are then sent an email with a link back to the Energyshare website. Click this & it will confirm that ‘your energyshare profile has been activated, and you’re now a supporter of Manchester Carbon Co-op’.

5) You are then also free to access the great information, resources and online tools available to help you cut your own energy use.

Manchester’s Carbon Co-op has been developed with partners including URBED Co-op, Kindling Trust and lowwintersun. It is a way for people to collaborate together in a bulk purchasing co-operative in order to purchase low carbon technologies. If you like what we do and what we are planning for the year ahead, please show you support. Thank you! The Carbon Co-op team

Neither Shoreditch nor Manhattan: Black Country creative advantage book published

black country creative advantage book

lowwintersun contributed via Urban Research Collective to the Black Country creative advantage book, ‘Neither Shoreditch nor Manhattan’, published in May 2011.

The publication critically examines regeneration led by ‘creative industries’ in the West Bromwich area and features contributions from artists, researchers and activists.

You can download the publication as a pdf-file here.

Publication Details:
Neither Shoreditch nor Manhattan. Black Country creative advantage
120 pages, soft cover, 267×184mm, b&w
Edited by Monika Vykoukal

Featuring contributions by Cody Lee Barbour, David Berridge, Thomas Bratzke, Céline Siani Djiakoua, John Dummett, Anna Francis, Neil Gray, Michelle Letowska, Manu Luksch, Heather Ring, Leo Singer, and Urban Research Collective, with an introduction by Monika Vykoukal.

Published by Multistory, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9563457-3-8

The films are also online to watch here and the audio-play can be found here.

Please support the Carbon Coop’s application to EnergyShare - it just takes a few minutes! http://s.coop/1bvz