A contemporary exploration of ideas, people and places

R:2025 is an extended, fifteen year, creative programme of activities:

  • engaging in exploratory activities, making the outcomes available
  • exploring how any insights gained can have real-world real-time impacts and value

Activities underway since 2010 sit within a flexible framework, constructed from notions around: contemporary; writing in a range of styles, for a variety of purposes; cities and urban living; places, spaces, neighbourhoods and locations; construction of identities; learning and development; wellbeing and flourishing; evidence, research, knowledge and understandings;  emergence, complexity, uncertainty and contingency.

The overall driving idea is:  To use creative activity to make demonstrable contributions to changing the ways in which people think, behave and interact, in order to better understand social processes and developments; and gain potential for some leverage on a number of shared social issues.

Outputs from the explorations are placed on this website, which already holds substantial content. Alongside this, there have been seminars and focused conversations, the use of a number of blogs, the publication of four ebooks and the creation of a number of art objects. All of this forms an extended creative programme. Over the next few years: more seminars will be held, more content will be on the website, some serious attempts will have been made to engage with social issues, and new e-networks will be sharing ideas.

R:2025 is unusual in its breadth of interests. It is hard to describe it solely as an arts project (although it is substantially concerned with creative activities); or as a set of learning and skills activities (although it does have some focus on education and employability). Nor can it be seen as primarily concerned with social policy (although a deep concern with social issues runs through it). It is made up of all of these.

The activity has been slowly building up since 2010. It is now at a stage where there will be a focus of increased contact with others, testing out ideas of Public, Audience, Engagement, and Collaboration. Emerging notions around usefulness, public value and social impact will increasingly be drawn on as the work continues. Through such intermediary exchanges there is the increased potential to open up leverage on social issues of mutual interest.

A fuller  Development-Prospectus sets out the thinking behind the R:2025 activities; exploring ways forward; and suggesting an indicative budget (with a gentle call for support).

A more visual summary of the undertaking is set out as a Flexible Framework within which thinking is being carried forward.

This range of documents (and the broad base of jottings that led to them) contains a language that captures what the enterprise is trying to do. Analysing the language of the documents highlights the  Development Vocabulary being repeatedly drawn on. This is one other way of describing the undertaking and also acts as a potential tool for throwing up new ideas.

The project is seen as operating at three interacting levels, or three interconnected spheres. Personal: it forms part of my own development of sense of self; a way of furthering my own thinking, learning, connections and wellbeing. It is partially an attempt to design a way forward in life. It has personal value. Public: It aims to move beyond the purely personal by engaging with others. These may be individuals or agencies or networks – and can variously be seen as constituting an audience, a public, or a group of supporters, or a source of inspiration. One outcome will be some public value for these collaborators. Social: An explicit, if somewhat ambitious aim, is to find ways of using the activities and the connections to engage differently with a number of Social issues  that are of common concern.

As a maths learner I was always encouraged to gain extra credit by showing the workings out rather than simply jumping to any possible solution. In that same spirit, the various fragments of thinking being used to work things out as the project unfolds are being set out on a ThinkingForwards blog.

Comments on any of the above is welcomed by Geoff Bateson   geoff@thewordsthething.org.uk Geoff is also on Twitter @geoffbateson